Masculinity In E. E Cummings Porphyria's Lover

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Love. The sole word generates depictions of passionate acts, entwined lovers, romantic glimpses, murmured expressions of compliment, and an all-embracing sentiment that exceeds the corporeal. In Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover’ and E.E Cummings “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond” love is theorized as a play of power where lovers assume active and passive roles based on their dominance within the relationship. By juxtaposing Browning’s passive male speaker who cannot accept the strong agency that his lover occupies and must see to switch their positions through murder alongside Cummings’ passive male speaker’s marvel over a mystifying power that his beloved has over him, the poems challenge the stereotypical ideals of passive femininity and active masculinity. In “Porphyria’s Lover,” Browning makes it evident that love is a play of power. The title essentially, which implies a first-person speaker in a third person perspective, announces the control and agency that Porphyria has over her lover. The…show more content…
Frailty, during the 1930s, the year the poem was written, was often used to represent womanhood. However, Cumming challenges this negative stereotype affiliated with women by acknowledging this fraility as a powerful praise to the woman. The speaker expresses that his lovers’ weak motions include “things which enclose me,” or which he “cannot touch because they are too near” (l. 3-4). The speaker is not declaring that these things are actually enclosing him. Instead, the feelings that are generated within the speaker by this woman’s alluring glance are so powerful that he feels enclosed by them. Furthermore, the atypical application of punctuation aids in challenging conventional gender roles. By not capitalizing “I”, it represents the speaker’s passivity. Meanwhile, by capitalizing “Spring,” in which the speaker’s lover is compared to, suggests his lover’s
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