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"Porphyria's Lover" and "The Laboratory"

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Introduction

Natalie Kinsella 11T "Porphyria's Lover" and "The Laboratory" both deal with crimes of passion. Explore ways Browning explains ways of obsessive nature of his character and analysis the effects of literary techniques. "Porphyria's Lover" is a poem about a crime and passion. Porphyria is a young, wealthy girl who seems to have abandoned her family's tradition of choosing wealthy men as lovers. Her lover remains anonymous, this could be because he has murdered her and does not want his name releasing. There is no actual reference as to why he committed this crime we can only make suggestions. Perhaps it was because she would not forsake her affluent companions for him, or because he felt she did not share his love for her. This poem is in the lover's point of view only, so we can not really know how Porphyria is feeling, we can only guess from her body language and her actions mentioned and her actions. It is a Victorian poem and Browning uses sexual references, which is very unusual because sex was a taboo and was not discussed openly in Victorian times. At the beginning of the poem, there is a storm brewing which is mirroring the lover's feelings. He is angry at Porphyria and desperately wants her love "The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm tops down for spite," The wind has been personified which is particularly effective because it heightens the anger the lover is feeling and soon realises this. ...read more.

Middle

The lover sees Porphyria as a possession and is reluctant to give in to her, making her feel unwanted. It soon becomes an intimate moment were Porphyria says she loves him "Murmuring how she loved me" By murmuring her words Browning has made it sexual and so it conveys a secretive breathless image. The lover is bitter towards her and we find out why; he feels she does not have the strength to separate from her family and friends and resents her wealth "To set its struggling passion free From pride and vainer ties dissever" No matter how she tries she can not let her heart rule, she is too weak to set that passion free, this is what he represents and shows the struggle in their relationship. If Porphyria did reveal her relationship with the lover then she would have been cut off from her family; it was considered a disgrace to fall for someone poor. "And give herself to me for ever" This is what angered him, the fact that she would not give herself to him and sacrifice everything for him. This is the crux of the poem; the lovers obsessive nature for Porphyria. Yet the lover says that passion sometimes would prevail and that his love for her is secondary. The lover is putting his love for Porphyria second even though she has made an effort to come and see him her efforts are futile. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her eyes show no passion, they are sterile, but the lover believes she is supporting him when laughing but could be mocking. He believes that, in death, she is blushing from his kiss which leads us to believe he is delusional and insane. "Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss;" Browning's use of alliteration shows how passionately he kissed her, fuelled with a sexual desire. Browning cleverly uses the verb "propped" to give an ungainly image of Porphyria, lifeless of body, and he wants her, he possesses her. This time it is she that needs him, she was not strong enough before but now it is she that needs him. He is trying to make comparisons from before and now, he wants to go back to that moment and hold it. "I propped her head up as before," We see that, in death, the head is extremely heavy now because he now has to hold it in place; she has now been reduced to a limp corpse. The lover depersonalises her by thinking for her, and now she truly is, his possession. He feels he has won the battle with her wealth family and friends "And I, its love, am gained instead!" He now believes that he has evaded the law and has her forever now, unwilling to share her with anyone else. He feels God is condoning his actions, and will not be punished, he is arrogantly believing he has escaped charges of murder. ...read more.

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