"Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning: Techniques

Essay by DookiHigh School, 11th grade May 2006

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The poem "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, is a dramatic monologue of a man who is so obsessed with Porphyria that he decides to keep her for himself. The only way he feels he can keep her, though, is by killing her.

"Dripping", "struggling" - visual image and also sets the scene. Shows that the persona is watching Porphyria's every move which emphasises his obsession with her.

The use of third person shows that the persona is not entirely himself. As the rest of the poem is written in first person a line written in the third person such as "when no voice replied" shows that the persona is not himself as there may be some insanity involved, obsession has consumed him and he has no control over what he is doing. "Mine, mine" - repetition that emphasises the emotional triumph and possessiveness for Porphyria, his Obsession.

"As a shut bud holds a bee" - simile which shows how out of touch he is from reality. He refers to himself as a bud that traps a bee (Porphyria) and sees beauty in doing that, while this would clearly be seen as a sign of metal instability. 'Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss" - alliteration projecting the strength of emotion that the persona is feeling for Porphyria. Shows how obsession has taken over him to blind him from reality and he describes her as being alive through his eyes when in fact he had murdered her. "Porphyria's love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard." Porphyria's demented lover could believe she preferred death to separation from him is testimony to his utter madness in which obsession had led him to become.