The Way Browning Tells a Story in "Porphyria's Lover"

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Write about the ways Browning tells the story in “Porphyria’s Lover” “Porphyria’s Lover” which first appeared as “Porphyria” in the Monthly Repository in January 1836, is the earliest and most shocking of Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues. The action of “Porphyria’s Lover” unfolds through the recounting of the events of one night— culminating in the murder of Porphyria— by the speaker of the poem. Browning masterfully builds up tension in the poem by gradually revealing to the reader, through details provided by the speaker, what has taken place. The speaker of the poem recounts how he killed his illicit lover, Porphyria, by strangling her with her own hair. He does so to keep her his forever, reliving his story to justify his actions and preserve the moment of her death. And while his portrayal of the situation is designed to show that his actions are justified, it becomes apparent that he is not so certain of this. In this poem Browning offers a complex psychological study of an insane man who uses reason and argument to explain and make sense of his actions. The poem opens by setting the scene — it is raining, and a storm is raging outside — and with it establishes the tone of the action that follows. The storm is described in simple, direct language: it sets in early, it tears down tree limbs, and its force disturbs the calmness of the lake. The storm is also personified in a way that anticipates the mood of the speaker. The wind, the speaker explains, is “sullen”; it destroys the trees out of “spite”, and it deliberately tries to “vex”, or anger, the lake. Later in the poem the speaker is sullen and he uses his sullenness to elicit some type of reaction from Porphyria. Porphyria enters the speaker’s cottage, and immediately the tone of the poem changes. In line 4, the speaker introduces himself as passively listening to what was going on outside, but in
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