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Porphyria's Lover

Porphyria's Lover Analysis
by

Yuri Lee

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of Porphyria's Lover

Porphyria's Lover
Tone
The tone of this poem is at first uneasy then satisfied and happy.
Theme
The theme of this poem is that even a lover may be a power hungry person, for the desire for control could overpower the desire for love.
Significance of Title
Although the majority of the poem is about Porphyria, the perspective of the speaker is that of Porphyria's lover, hence the title.
Summary
Porphyria is a beautiful woman who makes everything around her warm and comforting. Her lover, in an attempt to keep her and her love forever kills her.
Shifts
There is a tone shift in line 26, when the speaker's uneasiness and fear climax, and another shift in line 32, when the speaker realizes the extent of Porphyria's love, is content, and confirms what he will do next(kill her). There is another slight shift on line 55, when the speaker is absolutely satisfied with the results of his deed.
Paragraph
In "Porphyria's Lover," Robert Browning portrays an uneasy speaker and his thought process while killing Porphyria to show that even a lover may be a power hungry person, for the desire for control could overpower the desire for love. Browning shows this in many ways, one being through the usage of personification. The speaker describes the storm occurring outside as being "awake" and tearing "the elm-tops down for spite," portraying the delusional mindset and uneasiness of God and nature disturbing the speaker's peace. Browning also uses parallelism and polysyndeton with the constant repetition of "and" to list the beautiful qualities of Porphyria, and builds the speaker's paranoia that he might lose Porphyria to her "pride, and vainer ties." referring to her social and marital status. The speaker's climaxing paranoia leads him to kill Porphyria, who he feels previously had control over their relationship. With the poem's happy rhythm, Browning ends the poem on a cruelly humorous note, that now Porphyria's lover has complete control over Porphyria and her "love," and he is free from punishment, as "God has not said a word."
Figurative Language
personification-lines 2-4; "sullen wind was soon awake..."
~this kind of begins the look into a slightly psychotic man's mind; the speaker feels as if the storm is trying to ruin the peace that he has created in his head, and he is less at ease
parallelism & polysyndeton-lines 12-25; "And..."
~these lines list and describe Porphyria's endless beauty and how she delicately expressed her love at the setting of the poem
By: Robert Browning
Speaker & Situation
Sound Devices
Thematic Statement
The speaker is Porphyria's lover, and although calm, he seems psychologically insane, as he kills Porphyria to keep her love eternal.
rhythm-entire poem
~the smooth and limerick-like rhythm makes the poem feel happy and somewhat comical, although the actual content is very dark and cruel; the reader expects a happy love poem, but ends with a gruesome murder and necrophiliac poem

In "Porphyria's Lover," Robert Browning portrays an uneasy speaker and his thought process while killing Porphyria to show that even a lover may be a power hungry person, for the desire for control could overpower the desire for love.
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