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

Using style and form, how do the Brownings evoke reader sympathy and moral judgement in their poems "Porphyria's Lover" and "Lord Walter's Wife"?

Extracts from this document...


Oliver Hiam Using style and form, how do the Brownings evoke reader sympathy and moral judgement in their poems "Porphyria's Lover" and "Lord Walter's Wife"? These dramatic monologues explore the character of both narrators. The intense issues of adultery and murder bare the real traits of the narrators and possibly the relationship between Mr and Mrs Browning. In "Porphyria's Lover" it is clear to see that the anonymous narrator is a schizophrenic, self infatuated, jealous murderer, but still the reader is sympathetic to this man who granted "her darling one wish" to be with him forever. In the dramatic monologue "Lord Walter's wife", the narration is shared by two people. Walter's wife and Walter's friend. This initially appears to be unbiased, and from the point of view of two people, but it subsequently becomes the rant of Lord Walter's wife against all men, "that the eyes of such women as I are clean as the palm of a man". The woman is not however all righteous which is cleverly hidden by her as the poem opens with her blatantly propositioning her husband's friend in front of her young daughter. She claims after initially flirting, in spite of his best efforts to gently repel her to the point were she starts each of her phrases with "Oh that", answering to his objections. ...read more.


If he was in the poem towards the end the reader sympathy would not necessarily fall with the woman as he could remind the reader of her immorality concerning her child. "And Dora, the child, she observes nothing, although you should please me and stay". But as his role in the poem is finished she is allowed to write line after line of hypocrisy, "You take us for harlots, I tell you and not the woman we are". But was it not her intention to be a harlot from the start? The morality of the narrator in "Porphyria's lover" is not as questionable as his sanity. He repeats phrases over and over again trying to convince himself as well as the reader that he did the right thing, "no pain felt she, I am quite sure she felt no pain". After he murders Porphyria with her own hair he sits with her corpse through the night and when he is writing the poem "And thus we sit together now, an all night long we have not stirred". He looks for further reassurance that his actions were right as at the end of the poem he asserts that "God has not said a word". In "Lord Walter's Wife", there are obviously two parties where morality is an issue; Lord Walter's wife and Lord Walter's friend. ...read more.


The reader's judgement of morality therefore is upon Porphyria, the woman who drove this poor outsider to insanity by toying with his emotions. She comes to him "through wind and rain" this metaphor of what Porphyria did before she came to the narrator is ambiguous. Could it depict an affair or another life that she could not involve the narrator in. By nature wind and rain is not a good thing. Whatever it represents it is objective correlative to what will come in the poem, foreshadowing the murder. In the poem "Lord Walter's Wife" as William Shakespeare once wrote, "me thinks thou doth protest too much". In conclusion, it is vital to comment that the evocation of moral judgement and sympathy is heavily influenced by both poets' ability to not only convince the reader of the injustice upon the narrators but to make them forget about or overlook the narrators' palpable transgressions. In Lord Walter's Wife, Elizabeth Browning leaves the reader not shocked at the narrator's licentious exploits, but in concurrence with the narrator's opinion of men being hypocritical and sexist. Similarly, in the poem "Porphyria's Lover" the reader forgets about the murder and is sympathetic with the fact that the murderer was so desperate for love. This I believe is the key and the power of evocation that Elizabeth and Robert Browning demonstrate in these poems. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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


    In this poem it is not difficult to see the passionate Renaissance love of the beauty and delights of earthly life. We also see the conflict between the medieval traditions of religions art and the new Renaissance ideals. The Prior wants Lippo to paint the souls of men in such

  2. Robert Browning's Use of the Dramatic Monologue.

    The amusing side of Browning dramatic monologues is the fact the t he himself put the speakers in the very uncomfortable position he assumed when he wrote Pauline. His dramatic monologues continue with the "confessing" tone which he adopted in his earlier narratives, without being authentic confessions due to his

  1. Discuss Browning's ethical position in "The Statue and the Bust".

    Clearly this view is very different to that in the eyes of the law, which would not have condemned them until they had actually committed adultery.

  2. Perspectives On Women In Browning's Poetry.

    too proud to love, and it is in this belief that he has been suffering and that is what has made him weak. However, at this point her lover looks into her eyes and sees that she does love him: '...at last I knew Porphyria worshipped me: surprise Made my

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

    He even believes he is equal to God, 'God has not even said a word!', and, even though he has just murdered Porphyria, he thinks even God can not argue with him, as he can't possibly do anything wrong. This sort of behaviour would make anyone believe the Lover is

  2. Examine Browning's use of the dramatic monologue in 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'My Last Duchess'. ...

    every move, as she, "Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, / And laid her soiled gloves by, untied / Her hair and let the damp hair fall". Each comer in the phrasing indicates a pause so the audience is able to absorb each piece of information.

  1. Discuss the importance of religion with reference to at least two poems within the ...

    And this poem is one of the more obvious. In the Victorian age, religion was greatly valued, and the bishop in this poem is clearly unstructured when it comes to the strict values of religion, particularly in his referral to 'his son and mistress'. This means that he has failed to comply with the chaste ethics of his profession.

  2. Compare Browning's portrayal of the men and their relationships in 'My Last Duchess'and 'Porphyria's ...

    The rhythm shows the authority the duke has, because he controls his speech, therefore we can't trust everything he says. The women are very sexual and promiscuous in Browning's poems. Many people notice the duchess's sexual glance in the painting.

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