Porphyria’s Lover Report
Robert Browning calls the first poem that I shall talk about Porphyria’s Lover. It is about a man who is so in love with a fine lady called Porphyria that he strangles her with her own hair, just because he wants her and wants to control her for the rest of her life. It says in the poem, “And give herself to me for ever”. She walks into the house one night and she murmurs to the man, “how she loved me”.
The content of the poem is very much to do with power and love. Just the fact that he strangled her because he loved her so much gives a feeling of power and insanity. The poem says, “no pain felt she”. This is another example of physical power but loving her at the same time.
I believe that he killed her because he could not trust her. He maybe thought that she was being unfaithful to him and committing adultery, and that he wanted her all to himself.
The ‘ABABB’ rhyme seems to split up the poem into five line verses, but is written as one long poem. The last line in the verses adds quite an abrupt finish to each verse. This odd ending of the five-line verse is rather strange and you can hear it quite distinctively when somebody else is reading the poem. This may symbolize the unstableness of Porphyria’s lover. It could also mean the sudden end to Porphyria’s life. This is the technique that Browning used to write his poems.
The language is very calm and rather ‘alarming’. This is maybe to show how unstable and insane this man actually is. It is maybe to show a sort of fantasy effect. The poet’s choice of vocabulary is very normal and has a sort of calming effect. This adds to the tone of the story very well.
Power is the main tone in the poem. It focuses it in on how Porphyria’s lover had power over Porphyria. The tone is set on every fifth line in the poem. It rather brings the previous lines to an abrupt halt. This makes the poem to be mentally divided up into six sections. The previous lines have rhythm and momentum and are brought to an abrupt halt by the rhyme, which ends the fourth line. I believe this symbolizes Porphyria’s sudden bereavement.
There are sorter sections than others. On section is when the writer is describing the surroundings. He says “the rain set early in to-night, The sullen wins was soon awake…”
I think this sets the mood very well for the reader. It give a very cold, decollate image to the reader. This short first section adds to the effect of the poem.
Another split in the poem is the ‘murder’ section. It is short and has a rather disturbing feel to it. These short five, maybe six line verses add to the effect of what the writer is trying to get over to the reader, such as disturbing movements and the aspect of power.
In ‘Porphyria’s lover’, it shows a disturbed man who is so in love with Porphyria that he has to kill her just so she will be his forever and will always love him. Maybe he thinks that Porphyria is untrue to him or committing adultery. There are many different aspects that could be looked at in this poem. Another aspect is that Porphyria is being arrogant and that in his disturbed way kills her because he is fed up of her ways.
The writing in the poem is apparently quite simple and features some metaphors and similes.
This is the way Browning thinks about this man, very simple and not really bothered about what he has just done. It says, “God has not yet said a word”. This quotation is a prime example of how he feels after he has just strangled his one true love! He feels that he has got away with is but knows he will eventually be punished.
In the poem, I get the feeling that the woman is thought upon as an ‘object’ and not as a human being. The man never thinks about Porphyria’s feelings, he just loves her and feels he has to kill her so that she will belong to him and be his object forever.
The poem was written in the nineteenth century and this is what the relationships were like between men and women. They were thought upon as objects.
The next poem features a cunning manipulator who is an important duke and has his previous ‘Duchess’ painted as a picture and hung on the wall of his home. This is so he could keep her as an object forever! Robert Browning also wrote this poem and it is called ‘My Last Duchess’.
The duke is an educated, sophisticated man with a plausible tone. He is persuasive but also laid back. The duchess appears not to appreciate the duke’s superiority. The tones in the poem are very much like the tones in Porphyria’s Lover. The plausible tone is power.
The writer describes the duchess in the middle of the poem as a bit ‘disloyal’. She is described as “too easily impressed” and said to “like whatever she looked on”. Another good quotation is “her looks went everywhere”. She was accused by the duke of looking at people in the same way that she looked at him, “she thanked men, good: but thanked somehow… I know not how… “. The duke interprets that she is being disloyal! The duke however did not tolerate this kind of behaviour and had her killed, “then all smiles stopped together”! He now has her hanging as a two-dimensional image on the wall, “as if alive”.
This possessive nature of his, leads to him trying to school her, “herself to be lessoned”.
The language and vocabulary is very much like the language in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. It is calm and rather ‘disturbing’ at the same time. It is disturbing by how calm the duke is and this adds to the same sort of effect in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. It shows how manipulating the duke was and how possessive he was. The duke seems to live in a sort of fantasy, where he thinks he can kill who he wants whenever he liked because he was rich and powerful. The word ‘fantasy’ occurs to my by the tones of the poems and how it sounds when it is read. The opening line is a good example, “That’s my last duchess painted on the wall”. It appears that the duke has no feelings for her but the way that he says; “my last duchess” makes me think of the aspect of power again.
The style in which Robert Browning writes this poem is that he has wrote it as one, long verse with rhyming couplets. There is a lot of enjambment as if it is telling a story. I think that the enjambment works well with these rhyming couplets. It is what makes the writing feel so calm and like a fantasy.
The next poem is called ‘The Farmers Bride’ by Charlotte Mew. It shows a meaning of betrayal but in different ways to the other two poems. In the poem, there is a gentle, sad maybe upset farmer. His vulnerable, ‘frightened fray’ of a bride is featured in a broken down relationship and has runaway from home. She is timid and fearful. She could also be described as ‘too young maybe’.
There is a feeling of the bride being hunted in the second stanza, ” we chased her, flying like a hare”. When they had caught her they “fetched” her back and “turned the key upon her, fast”. They refer to her as an animal that should be watched and hunted!
The language is quite straightforward and enjoyable to read. It might also appeal to the younger generation because the poet uses a lot of words that refer to nature as apposed to humans, “flying like a hare” and “shy as a leveret”. These quotations are also metaphors. The writer uses a lot of similes and metaphors in the poem and this make the poem have a kind of a soft touch and this makes it a lot more passive and calm than the other two poems.
The poet has written the poem in verses with indented lines. I think that these lines are a personal touch that the poet has added on to make it easier to read. This may also symbolize the unbalanced nature of the fragile bride. words do rhyme but there is no pattern to the rhyming. This may also symbolize the scattered thoughts of the mixed up bride.
The poet also uses a bit of alliteration, “shy as a leveret, swift as he, straight and slight as a young larch tree, sweet as the first wild violets, she to her wild self”. This poetic device gives a soft, delicate sound in the language. These words are also monosyllabic which also gives a soft delicate effect.
The poem seems to be divided up into two sections. It is divided up into a section of the past and then a section of the present. The present seems to be bleak and empty and this represents no future, “the short days shorten” and ” the low grey sky”. This break happens after the third stanza.
The bride seems to be very naive and vulnerable. The poem is written by a women and this poet might be trying to give a message to the readers about how women used to be treated. This tone is very strong throughout the poem
I do not believe that the tone is about power in this poem. Near the end of the poem, it says, “she sleeps up in the attic there, alone poor maid”. This line of the poem is evidence that he still has feelings for her and that he feels sorry for her and wants her to be free. It is not about power, it is just about love. The love of a farmer and his bride.
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