Porphyria’s Lover – Critical Essay by Scott Jackson Q – Choose a poem that is written in the form of a dramatic monologue. Explain how the poet exploits the features of a Dramatic Monologue in order to create a memorable impression of a character or event. In the poem ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ by Robert Browning the poet exploits the features of the of the poem style of dramatic monologue to create a memorable impression of the main character.
The first device used to create the memorable impression is pathetic fallacy in lines two, three and four where the writer says; “The sullen wind…” “…Tore the elm tops down for spite…” and “…Did its worst to vex the lake:” respectively. These techniques are used to show the main character’s very negative and very depressed emotions at the start of the poem before he sees Porphyria.The effectiveness of this being in a dramatic monologue is we are able to view all of his emotions on a more personal level this in turn makes the character of the lover more memorable to the reader. This idea continues onto line five where the reader says, “…With heart fit to break” this is again another insight on a personal level to the characters emotions showing that he is extremely saddened and it emphasizes the character more within the reader as we are seeing things purely from the character’s point of view.Another device used to create an impression of the character within the reader was in line six when the writer says “and glided in Porphyria” this shows that the character of Porphyria is very gracious and also very beautiful through the eyes of the main character it also shows the character has emotional feeling towards Porphyria in the sense that he is in love with her which gives the reader insight into the mind of the main character and aids in making them more memorable to the reader through the use of dramatic monologue to display emotions.The main characters emotions are displayed through onto line 7 when the main character feels now quite pleased that Porphyria has arrived; the writer says, “She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheeriness grate. ” This again shows that the main character is in love with Porphyria as it has been shown through the dramatic monologue that she was able to change his mood from being somewhat depressed and unhappy to suddenly becoming quite cheerful.The reader is able to notice the strong emotional changes that occur in the main character and this helps create a more memorable impression of him. The main character develops a high level of sexual excitement and felt like the character of Porphyria was finally falling in love with him. In lines fourteen to twenty-one the writer says, “… She sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm around her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced,And stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread o’er all, her yellow hair, murmuring how she loved me” Repetition of the word ‘and’ at the start of every line is used to display the build up of excitement within the main character as he watches every movement of Porphyria the main character believes that Porphyria is now in love with him and later in the poem even expresses that she now ‘worships’ the main character this is said at the pinnacle of the main characters sexual excitement.The writer uses the dramatic monologue to exploit the sexual feelings that the main character has towards Porphyria and thus the reader knows more about the character from an emotional perspective and this aids in creating a lasting impression on the reader. The tone of the poem changes in line 40 when a new development occurs and the reader is given more of an insight into the main character in the sense that he has a psychotic impulse to murder Porphyria the writer says in line 40, “… And strangled her; no pain she felt. The motive behind the strangulation of Porphyria is possible to have been a sexual incompetence in the main character and due to this it is required if he is to have any sexual pleasure at all he must inflict pain on the victim, in this case Porphyria. Also another way of knowing he is insane is when he says she felt no pain, he of course would not know if she had felt any pain however the reason given in the poem is in line 43 where the writer says, “ I warily opened her lids: againLaughed the blue eyes without a stain. ” The main character uses this as justification as to why she felt know pain it also in a way shows that he still cares for Porphyria, as he was concerned about her feeling pain when he took her life. The writer has used dramatic monologue to display the insanity within the main character the shock of this development has created a new impression of the main character on the reader and this was only done through the narrative style of the poem.In conclusion the narrative style of dramatic monologue has been exploited by the writer to create a lasting impression of the main character on the reader and has been done very effectively through the use of pathetic fallacy in the first few lines to display the characters emotions and the sudden change of personality in the character to create a lasting effect and made the character more memorable to readers.