The poem “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning features a significant moment which further develops the central idea of the poem. Browning explores the darker side of love and passion that develops into jealousy, obsession and possessiveness. The poem is written from the perspective of Porphyria’s elusive lover. As the love and passion between them is made apparent the poem becomes more sinister. Finally the speaker, in a desperate attempt to control her, kills Porphyria using her hair to strangle her.
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The sinister and disturbing twist of Porphyria’s murder is subtly built up from the beginning of the poem. The speaker’s thoughts on the weather set the dyer and depressing atmosphere. His thoughts also seem to unwittingly reveal his deepest and darkest intentions,
“The sullen wind was soon awake
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And it did its worst to vex the lake.”
Here pathetic fallacy is used and from this we discover the hidden anger and vengeful thoughts of the speaker through his violent language. Furthermore we decipher that there are underlying issues in the speaker’s mind other than the weather. The words used further highlight his obsessive and harsh nature as he seems to distance himself from the warmth of his home and connecst with the destruction of the storm.
With the arrival of Porphyria there seems to be another drastic shift in the mood of the poem. With her entrance all thoughts of the storm vanish and she becomes the object of the speaker’s thoughts,
“She shut the cold out and the storm
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Here we see an introduction to warmth and light which is a contrast to the dark and formidable storm outside. This contrast seems to represent the contrast between the two states of the speaker’s mind, perhaps the debate on whether or not to take her life. Browning seems to symbolise the importance of Porphyria in the speaker’s life as with her arrival she, ’shuts out’ the storm. She also seems to also shut out the...