Poryphyria’s Lover. Kelvineisha Hope Antwain White April 29, 2013. Author’s Information. Robert Browning
April 29, 2013
Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, England. Much of Browning's education came from his well-read father. It is believed that he was already proficient at reading and writing by the age of five. By the time he was a teenager, Browning decided to make poetry his life’s pursuit. He then published his first poem without any progress and got eventually married. After the death of his wife, Elizabeth, his career turned around.
The Victorian Period witnessed the spread of poverty and advances in philosophy and science that threatened long-held beliefs. The events and the legends of Famine fueled hatred and violence between the British and Irish for more than 150 years. Slavery soon was abolished in the British empire while Victoria became queen. This period eventually had technological advances, rapid industrialization, growth of cities, and political reforms.
A man who has murdered his lover, Porphyria. He begins by describing the weather of the night that has just passed. It has been rainy and windy as he waits in his cabin for Porphyria to arrive.
Finally, she does, having left a society party and her class expectations to visit him. Wet and cold, she tends to the fire and then leans against the him, professing quietly her love and assuring him she was not deterred by the storm.
He looks up into her face and realizes that she worshiped him in this moment, but that she would return to the embrace of social expectation. Taken by the moment, he does what comes naturally: he takes her hair and strangles her to death with it. He assures his listener that she died painlessly. After she dies, he unwinds her hair and lays her corpse out in a graceful pose with her eyes opened and her lifeless head on his shoulder.
As he speaks, they sit together in that position, and he is certain he has granted her greatest wish by allowing them to be together without any worries. He ends by remarking that God "has not yet said a word" against him.
The theme of this poem is “Love Can Make You Do Some Crazy Things”.
“Be sure I looked up at her eyesHappy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surpriseMade my heart swell, and still it grewWhile I debated what to do.That moment she was mine, mine, fair,Perfectly pure and good: I foundA thing to do, and all her hairIn one long yellow string I woundThree times her little throat around,And strangled her. No pain felt she;