Porphyria's Lover Poem Analysis

986 Words4 Pages
Ananya Khanna
BA.LLB 2015 Section – C
English
23.09.2015

Assignment – 1

‘Be sure I looked up at her eyes Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.’

Robert Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s lover’ is a dramatic monologue that displays an interaction between a speaker and Porphyria. It starts with a gentle, soft exchange between two lovers who seem to be in a state of unrest. As the poem progresses, it makes a drastic change both in tone and in meaning. A poem about love becomes an extreme display of passion or perhaps insecurity. Browning generally utilizes colloquialism, but this poem, as it is a more formal, dramatic piece, employs formal language that conveys the storm in the mind of the speaker.
In the initial
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The speaker personifies Porphyria’s eyes in the line ‘laughed the blue eyes without a stain.’ This personification displays that the speaker is out of his mind. However, this can be linked to the idea of Porphyria 's eyes looking ‘happy and proud.’ Not only does this display that the atmosphere is still happy in a very sad time but also this reveals that the speaker doesn’t handle such a situation in a way one would normally be expected to respond. He seems to be in a state of denial. The phrase ‘without a stain’ could be seen as a reference to a metaphorical ‘stain’ on her honor or to her unwillingness to be with him exclusively. However, this is not clearly conveyed to the
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