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Porphyria's Lover Analysis

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Introduction

'Porphyria's lover' by Robert Browning is the description of an intimate night-time meeting between a man, the lover and narrator, and a woman, Porphyria. The word Porphyria itself is a medical disorder which involves painful symptoms - this suggests that something painful will happen to the girl sometime in the poem. Within the first couple of lines Browning set the mood for the poem, 'the sullen wind was soon awake, it tore the elm-tops down for spite,' It's a description of the elements battling it out in the dark of the night, which is perhaps a metaphor for a prior argument between lovers. The timing of the meeting, in the middle of the night, may suggest that this was a secret assignation, something that was always going to happen, like it was fate. At the start of this poem, Browning suggests that Porphyria was once blinded by her pride and vanity and rejected the lover; however he suggests that she gave in to her passions and pursued him. ...read more.

Middle

The lover then decides what he wants to/has to do and reluctantly proceeds, 'I found a thing to do.' In this climax of the poem, the lover realizes he has come across a perfect moment, binds Porphyria's golden hair into a rope, 'three times her little throat around' and strangled her. He assures the reader that she felt no pain, and then, opening the 'bud' of her eye, reveals laughing blue eyes 'without a strain.' In the final lines of the poem, the lover pulls Porphyria close to him (a mirror of her embrace in lines 15 to 21,) sees her as triumphant in claiming the lover and they sit together through the night, motionless, without any comment from the almighty, 'and yet God has not said a word!' Browning utilizes the murder by using vivid imagery, repetition, and bias to reinforce the speaker's reason in murdering her beloved. He uses vivid imagery when describing the intensity of the love between Porphyria and her lover. He described in detail the woman undressing and placing the hand of her beloved around her waist. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the author says that "No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain" he emphasizes that the man is feeling bad about the crime he had just committed and is trying to convince himself that the women felt no pain upon death. All of this evidence clearly shows that the woman and man were in secretly in love against the will of their society and the woman made her beloved kill her because she could not bear to live without him. The poem "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning features a significant moment which further develops the central idea of the poem. Browning explores the darker side of love and passion that develops into jealousy, obsession and possessiveness. The poem is written from the perspective of Porphyria's elusive lover. As the love and passion between them is made apparent the poem becomes more sinister. Finally the speaker, in a desperate attempt to control her, kills Porphyria using her hair to strangle her. Personally, I like how Robert Browning has used different techniques throughout the poem, I also believe that this is an example of true love - the man/lover is willing to kill his lover/Porphyria in order for them to be together forever. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Some reasonably strong points on language and character but as this is an analysis of a poem, further references should have been made to form and structure and how they are used to shape meaning.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 04/07/2013

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