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Porphyria's Lover

Robert Browning

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Porphyria's lover
Added by: Hollie
I think this poem is greatly linked to modern day crimes of passion. He knows that Porphyria is not completly innocent and wants to make her more perfect for him, by killing her. He sees this as the right thing to do for both of them.
porphyrias lover
Added by: Sam Andison
I just happened to notice that everyone seems to refer to Porphyrias lover (speaker) as a man when the sex of the speaker (porphyrias lover) is never mentioned. It could be justified to be a man but it is not defined in the poem.
Added by: michael
There is indeed a disease called "Porphyria," but it was not named until the early 20th century - 30 years after Browning had died. If there is any correlation whatsoever, the disease is named for the poem, not vice-versa. Personally, I think the name in the poem was chosen for its color connotations (as has already been mentioned).
Added by: kim
it seems to me that this poem is a battle of power. porphyria has power over her lover as she is of a higher class and he feels that the only way to reinstate his power is to murder her.obviously the love aspect plays an important part but he doubts her love for him.
Added by: Judy
I don't see how this is about class at all. All you know is that she comes to him in a cottage. I don't see that she is in a higher class than him or that he is in a lower class, for that matter, anywhere here. (And the person who thinks that this isn't about straight heterosexual romance is out of their tree.) And what does that mean, and yet God has not said a word? he thinks God should have punished him for the death by now?
Maybe it's just metaphorical death of her passion because he refuses to make love. He strangles her desire is all. Because he's afraid of it.
porphyrias lover
Added by: meg
This poem is full of metaphors and personifification, it features strangulation, both real and metaphysical... the narrator is strangled by his emotion, the way it is written as an internal monologue gives it an added depth of feeling, he wants her, yet is angry she cant want him enough, when he realises she does love him, he takes her life to either preserve the moment or to save her, as he thinks, from her fate, to live without him, then tries to justify his actions, repeating that she felt no pain... shows he is trying to convince himself of this, it's a passionate poem, full of emotion, described in the weather, the storm is his anger, she enters the cottage and it is suddenly warm, he can't reply to her calling to him, he is angry, she is higher class, she wears gloves and bonnet, wears her hair up, these are all marks of a lady at the time, he may be an employee of the estate, she has left a feast... perhaps her wedding feast to be with him.. she cannot give up her future for him, yet still she comes and still she loves him... she seduces him, laying her shoulder bare, spreading her hair, unthinkable actions of a lady at that time. if caught she would be shamed and unmarriagable and he would be hung. so he kills her. the title is unusual, porphyria being a disease that is variously described as a madness of the blood, and here he is mad... insane with love... is blove a kind of insanity?
Added by: kim
it is obvious that porphyria is of a higher class because she comes to her lovers cottage in the rain and then proceeds to remove her cloak, shawl, gloves and hat. it seems to me that in Browning's era it was important for a lady of wealth to wear such items as these thus suggesting she is a lady of class
Added by: Joe
What makes everyone think Porphyria is dead? Couldn't she still be alive after a bout of "rough sex" and that is why "God has said not a word"--because the lover hasn't killed her at all?
Porphyria's lover
Added by: Aisling Murrihy
I think Porphyria's lover is more about the lover's state of mind, rather than the killing of Porphyria. His state of mind leads to her death because of his obsessive and the longing of Porphyria being his pocession.
Again I dont think you are going deep enough
Added by: Aristophanes_angel
On the surface I believe that some of you have the idea. This poem deals with two lovers, Porphyria, a high class woman and the unnamed, obviously lower class speaker. The speaker kills Porphyria in the moment of her perfection, when she is his and his, alone. Browning also reveals some of the religious strife going on in the century when he 'challenges" God because he did nothing to stop him from killing Porphyria. Browning uses the theme of woman as possession in several poems: Andrea Del Sarto, My Last Duchess, and again here. In the Victorian opinion the perfect woman was one who would be at her husband's beck and call and the women Browning portrays in his poetry are not exactly pristine. There is no doubt that Porphyria is of a higher class because she needs to take her gloves off before she starts the fire. The simple act of taking her gloves off in mixed company ( and the simple fact that she was unsupervised in mixed company) reveals that she is the fallen woman waiting to happen. The narrator kills her because only in death may he possess the creature he is ' dead ' without. The proof for this is when the narrator describes the life she brings to the small room. There is also a play on the child like nature of men in Victorian Society. The narrator behaves in a decidely childish way when he refuses to speak with Porphyria because she wasnt at his beck and call. There were some pretty good discussions going on in regards to murdering her out of insanity and that is close but i think it misses the mark just a bit. The speaker is not insane in any legal sense, but it is likely that his obsession with posessing Porphyria could well bring him to the verge of insanity. There was also discussion on the literal translation of Porphyria's name meaning purple stone.. that is more relevant when you consider that in death Porphyria would have resembled a marble statue..hmm rock and marble.. is there a connection there?lol

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