Porphyria’s Lover was one of Robert Browning

Porphyria’s lover by Robert Browning

This poem Porphyria’s
Lover was one of Robert Browning early dramatic monologue. The poem was
first published as Porphyria in the January 1836 during the Victoria
Modern Era, the title was later changed in 1863 to Porphyria’s
lover. Porphyria’s
Lover did not gain much attention when it was first published but it is now
heavily studied and subject to different interpretations. The poem is a
romantic and tragedy poem in which the narrator appeared as a distinct
character from the poet with no audience present. The woman in the poem is
named after a disease called Porphyria which is a rare type of disease that can
also result in madness. Porphyria’s Lover is a narrative of a murder
on a cold night from the point of view of a psychotic killer who murdered his
lover. This poem will be analysed and this analysis will be

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looking at the form of the poem
including aspects such as the rhyme, metre, language and imagery. This analysis
will also be looking at what the poem discusses, where the poem fits into the
societal moments of its writing and where it fits in poetic tradition of
dramatic monologue


Porphyria’s lover is in
form and structure of dramatic monologue that was written in the first person
and the regular rhyme follow an ABABB pattern throughout and the poem is
written in one long section of about 60 lines. The rhyme of the poem is regular
and it is also asymmetrical as each rhyming unit is back loaded, they are more B
rhymes than A. In each set of five lines, the first line rhymes with the third,
and the second line rhymes with the fourth and fifth. The meter
used in porphyria’s lover by Robert Browning is a regular iambic tetrameter,
the meter refers to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllable in the line
da-Dum. Iambic tetrameter describes any poem with four (tetra=four) which is lambs
per line, da-Dum da-Dum da-Dum da-Dum such as the first four line below
and the words with capital letter is where the stressed syllable is on. 


The opening scene of Porphyria’s Lover sounds
like something taken from the Romantic poetry of the earlier nineteenth
century. The setting of the poem is a dark and stormy night in a cottage at an unidentified locale the time is the
1830s. This is helpful because it helps to set the stage for which
is set the stage for a dismal human mood. Browning led us to
believe that the poem is about a typical romantic encounter but there is a
twist at the end. He shocks the reader with an unexpected event which was even
more shocking by the narrator’s calm and dispassionate attitude
while strangling porphyria. The speaker or narrator in the poem is a
psychotic killer who is not affected by his own action. The language he uses to
describe porphyria are diminutives showing that he sees porphyria as small and
less powerful than himself.


Porphyria had gone to visit her
lover on a storming night who loves in a cottage, at the countryside. She came
in and proceeded to make a fire and worked up the cottage, then she took off
her wet clothes and went in to embrace the narrator by offering him her
shoulder. While he kept silent, she began to tell him how she has momentarily overcome
society barrier to be with him. He realized at that moment that porphyria “WORSHIPPED”
him, He is worried she will eventually bow to society pressure and leave
him so he decided to murder her to death by strangling her with her own hair, then
he toys with her corpse, He than sit with her dead body, propping her up to
lean against his shoulder and waiting to go to gorgingment on his actions from



The RAIN set EAR-ly IN to-NIGHT

The SUL-len WIND was SOON a-WAKE

It TORE the ELM-tops DOWN for SPITE

And DID bit WORST to VEX the LAKE


You can see the pattern of the
rhythm as you read the poem the poem but then it jump off in the line five.

I LIST ened with HEART FIT to BREAK  

This line five begins with two unstressed
syllables in a row and followed with two stressed syllable. Robert Browning set
that regular iambic tetrameter in the first four lines in order to generate the
expectation for regular meter in every part of the poem and you can see that
whenever the meter fails, it was for a reason. The line five is the time the
word “I” was been used as the narrator refer to himself and
to say the heart was breaking, the regularity of the matter break, just as the speaker’s
heart breaker.


Even though porphyria’s
lover poem was written in natural language, is still those not show the
diameter markers of some of Browning later poem. The punctuation is
vital to the reader in understanding the comma after “PREVAIL” and after
HER. I can see that this is setting a different clause or sentence. The clause
is positioned within the big announcement which can be seen In line 26 of the
poem “But passion sometime Will prevail” and in line 29 “and
all In vain” porphyria and her lover has met each other several
times even though there is love between them all is still in vain and nothing
good came out of the situation..