Porphyria'S Lover Poetry In Relations To Powerplay And Antony And Cleopatra

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The power of sexual covetousness is indeed the foremost alluring way of manipulation. It is this powerplay, explored in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ by Robert Browning and William Shakespeare’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, that forms the dramatic and theatrical tension on a personal level, while separating imperial authority from the petty and desirable emotions within us all. Power has the capability of enticement and temptation. This intimate insight into powerplay is clearly and peculiarly illustrated in the dramatic monologue ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ by Robert Browning. The cadence of the poem mimics natural speech, taking the form of the highly patterned verse, rhyming ABABB. The intensity and asymmetry of this pattern suggests a sense of madness concealed within the speaker's reasoned self-presentation. The once powerless tone changes with Porphyria’s arrival, where Browning utilises active verbs to depict her as holding the power, being proactive and using sexual powers to control him. As she feeds him excuses about their unrequited love in the fifth stanza and her love of status, stability and materialism in which her husband provides, he begins to believe them ‘so, she was to come through wind and rain’. The tone changes into uplifting enlightenment as the speaker slowly assumes power thus creating a successful shift of control. Browning shifts the mood in the seventh stanza to an epiphany as “he” sees her problem as one he has to solve. Imagery of her innocence ‘fair’ and repetition of ‘mine’ emphasises the intense power shift in his perception, using mad logic and a chilling tone. This is clearly depicted in the eighth stanza ‘I found a thing to do…and strangled her’, and at this point the total exchange of power is complete. ‘His’ initial wariness is shown through simile ‘As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily opened her eyes’ to show his moment of doubt in which ‘he
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