A reading of a classic dramatic monologue
‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is one of Browning’s first great poems, written when he was in his early twenties. It is also one of the first great dramatic monologues in English verse, the 1830s being the decade in which Browning and Tennyson developed the genre, penning a series of classic poems which see the poet adopting a persona and ‘staging’ a soliloquy given by an (often unreliable) speaker. Here, the speaker is the titular lover of the girl, Porphyria. Before we proceed to an analysis of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, here’s a reminder of Browning’s poem.
The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Read the rest of this entry