• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Porphyria's Lover: A poem of its time?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Porphyria's Lover: A poem of its time? Robert Browning was born in Camberwell in 1812. Although he received little formal education, he had access to the home's large library and his father encouraged him to read. At the age of sixteen, Browning attended London University, but later withdrew. It was in 1833 that he published his first poem anonymously and whilst he sold none, a year later, The Monthly Repository took interest and proceeded to publish several of Browning's shorter poems. His recognition continued to increase until in 1846 he married the poet Elizabeth Barrett. He wrote very little poetry until his wife died in 1846. Browning wrote his greatest work The Ring and the Book after his wife's death. His reputation once again grew and in 1881 the Browning Society was established. Browning died eight years later in 1889. Porphyria's Lover was written by Browning in 1836 and is based around three key events. The first of which is when Porphyria enters and sits with the narrator: "When glided in Porphyria" The narrator then begins to describe Porphyria and her actions. The next key event is the narrator killing Porphyria. He gets a piece of Porphyria's hair and strangles her with it: "Three times her throat around, and strangled her." ...read more.

Middle

The third key theme is moral decay. This is linked with the good versus evil and is relevant to the society Browning was writing for as it is something they were experiencing. Browning explores this through his narrator's actions. By murdering, he has done something immoral. Porphyria's Lover is a poem about two lovers. One of whom is Porphyria is of a higher status than the other lover, the narrator who is of a lower status. Porphyria wants them to be together forever, but doesn't want to give up the privileges that come with her status. The narrator, in an attempt to preserve a perfect moment of contentment, murders Porphyria. He then sits with the body believing that they are now together forever. Browning's poem serves as a warning to his readers about moral decay and questioning God or their faith by looking at science. The narrator commits a sin by murdering Porphyria: "I found a thing to do...and strangled her" the narrator represents Browning's society - he has done something immoral. It serves as a warning of what society is heading towards. The narrator questions God at the end of the poem: "And yet God has not said a word!" ...read more.

Conclusion

The word "yellow" (in reference to Porphyria's hair) is repeated throughout the first stanza: "And spread o'er all her yellow hair" It is as if the narrator can't quite believe the colour of Porphyria's hair and has to repeat it to reassure himself that he's not seeing things. Browning's use of adjectives makes the poem effective as it allows the reader to view the scene clearly and see how certain actions are undertaken. Another useful technique the poet uses is the lack of a clear or sane motive. Whilst we know that the narrator wants to preserve a precious moment, we are still left wondering why he took such rash action. Browning finishes the poem well with the line: "And yet God has not said a word!" This is a good end as it links in with a key theme of the poem, good versus evil. Overall, Porphyria's Lover does not appear to be a poem of it's time. Whilst it begins like many poems of it's time, the way in which sex is written of is different from most Victorian poems. Although the prudery of the era is sometimes thought of as a mask to hide the moral decay, Browning's poem would still have shocked the reader both by the sexual content and the actions of the narrator. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework Stephanie Saunders Mrs Baldwin 02/01/2009 Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Browning section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Browning essays

  1. Robert Browning is described as 'a love poet who was acutely aware of how ...

    The Rhyming pattern goes as ABCCBA, which is an interesting way of rhyming for Browning. The structure this forms reflects on the poem by allowing him to explain his surroundings with a peculiar, yet well-written, six-lined verse. Parting at Morning, however, contains one verse, as Browning required no more verses, for it's the follow-on to Meeting at Night.

  2. Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning - an Analysis and exploration of the poem and ...

    The desire to have someone else in their lives is strong in most of the people in this world, but Browning's description of a mad man's desire, shows how easy our desires can lead to madness. The reader is left to wonder what catalyst could have initiated his madness: poor

  1. Many Men in Victorian Britain Feared Some Women's Desire for Independence. How does Browning ...

    Her actions prove that she may not be quite as innocent as she is perceived. The proposal that she may possibly not be so chaste contrasts with the language that is used to describe her beauty and character, such as; "when glided in Porphyria", "smooth white shoulder", "perfectly pure", which all are very praising references.

  2. Havisham and Laboratory Coursework

    Havisham's anger is shown once again as she "stabbed at the wedding cake" suggesting the woman's violent side, her anger and how she wishes the wedding cake was the man. The reader gets a sense of maybe not evilness but maybe what lengths she will go to when it says

  1. How do the poems "Havisham", "The Sisters" and "Porphyria's Lover" present the theme of ...

    The sentence structure also helps disclose the real Havisham. Duffy uses short sentences 'spinster. I stink and remember', again to emphasize the waffling. All this adds up to create the madness in Havisham. The tone isn't the same throughout the whole of 'Havisham'. It starts off showing her anger and bitterness 'I could strangle', but slowly turns a bit

  2. Using style and form, how do the Brownings evoke reader sympathy and moral judgement ...

    This indicates that in society he is not worthy of her, or that she enjoys her other life more than being with him. Sympathy is evoked by her preference to her "vainer ties" than him. He is portrayed as an outsider as Porphyria "was come through wind and rain" to reach his house.

  1. "Stealing" by Carol Ann Duffy and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, will be compared ...

    The Narrators' reactions to the destruction that they cause vary greatly, but are both very revealing in the way that they show why they are outcasts to society. In "Stealing" the Narrator doesn't gain anything out of the destruction of the snowman: "he didn't look the same.

  2. The Life of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    First the publication sold not a single copy but eventually the work was noted by J.S. Mills. Between 1834 and 1836 The Monthly Repository published several shorter poems by Browning. In 1834 he travelled to Russia and made in 1838 his first trip to Italy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work