Porphyria's Lover

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As Porphyria takes off her soiled garments and then goes and sits by the narrator she “made her smooth white shoulder bare” (line 17). This image of Porphyria displaying a “white” and “smooth” shoulder signifies the image of her being pure and untouched as the color white is often seen as Heavenly and unstained and the word “smooth” suggest that she has never been touched by a man which would ruin her smoothness. This notion of Porphyria being pure and untouched is also seen as the narrator states that she is “perfectly pure and good” suggesting that she is still a virgin and has yet to be soiled by the touch of a man (line 37). The image of Porphyria being angelic is carried out through the poem as the narrator continuously mentions her “yellow hair”. “Hair in “Porphyria’s Lover” seems fetishistically worshipped and then fatally and fatefully hijacked for the Lover’s murderous ends” (tusitala.org). The color yellow is typically associated with sunshine making it a…show more content…
In the end it is Porphyria’s purity that lead to her death as the narrator ended up using her long beautiful yellow hair to kill her as she states “and all her hair/ In one long yellow string I wound/ Three times her little throat around,/ And strangled her” (lines 38-41). After the narrator used her yellow hair to kill her, he even checked to see if she was dead as he states, “I warily oped her lids: again/Laughed the blue eyes without a stain” making it so she had that essence of purity forever which is exactly what he wanted, to keep her pure and good for all of eternity with him (lines 44 and 45). However, “Porphyria’s Lover” is just one example of Browning using the notion of being “pure” to end a women’s
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