Porphyria's Lover A level Literature questions Watch

ShantelleEllyse
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I'm doing some questions for my A level Literature on the poem 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning and I need some help with answering them. The questions are:

1. Is there any sense of guilt?
2.What do we learn about the victim in the poem?
3.In what way is the setting important to the crime that takes place?

Quotations and analysing the writers methods to create effects need to be included.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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VintageAscot
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1. From what I can see there is initially a sense of guilt with the speaker as Porphria appears. Browning could be seen to model her as an image of wanton seduction and he hates her coming to him due to his feelings for her as he references struggling passion. However this can be seen to change as Prophyria is the initiator of the relationship, she is one who is trying to seduce him with her white shoulder and creating an ideal atmosphere with the roaring fire-often associating heat with passion. When she is eventually killed there is relief over guilt? Evident in his action of strangulation, he has removed the object of his lust and is thankful for it and surprised too, even God has not given motion to his actions.

2. The victim can be seen to be Prophyria herself.

With Prophyria as the victim: The speaker due to his dilemma concerning how to deal with Prophyria and his battle to overcome his turmoil- evident in browning's use of personification via the sullen wind was soon awake. This is contrasted via his use of positive imagery to describe Prophyria coming into his life, she provides goodness and so could not initially be believed to be a victim- she is the initiator providing a comfortable atmosphere everything about her is inviting with her white bare shoulder- a possible symbol of purity as white is often associated with innocence A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain: So, she was come through wind and rain. Prophyria has made herself endure hardship to be with him. The very fact Browning's speaker enacts a merciless killing reflects Prophyria as the victim and the speaker recognises her purity as she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. Even his use of natural imagery as Prophyria is akin to nature and goodness. The shut bud with her smiling rosy little head, the rose equated with love. browning's speaker kills her as he realises he will lose her and wants to preserve her- a feminist p.o.v could argue Prophyria is used as an object of the speaker's male power- if he can't have her then no one can. Also he uses her corpse like a doll, something deeply shocking. More so the speaker can be seen to be selfish cold and calculating, he realises Prophyria worships him via Browning's use of dramatic dialogue and also it is one sided- we do not hear Prophria's p.o.v she is just something to be used and abused thanks to the speaker's male power.

3. The use of setting adds to the crime via the use of pathetic fallacy with the sullen wind which tears the elm tops for sheer spite foreshadowing the killing of Prophyria. Her goodness is also twisted for the speaker's own evil ways, the positive atmosphere she provides with her yellow hair possibly referencing warmth and sunshine alongside her attempt to bring joy against the backdrop of the unwelcome house creates tension. Further heightened by the use of dramatic dialogue her murder is cold and calculating and the speaker shows no mercy just like the wild atmosphere outside the home.

Also make note on the context of browning's environment. Writing in the Victorian age, the influence of morality is looked at here as we can wonder- is his killing of the supposed seductress morally justified? God doesn't offer any explanation to him but we can wonder is Browning giving the reader a social commentary or not. Also his use of the ABABB rhyme scheme disguises his calculating tone and the dramatic dialogue adds tension whilst also being one sided so the male speaker dominates.
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