Porphyria's Lover revision mind map

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  • Porphyria's Lover
    • Form
      • The poem is in the form of a dramatic monologue, allowing the audience an insight into the thoughts and feelings of Porphyria's lover - the persona that Browning has adopted to explore the dark side of love within the Romantic period and the Victorian period he was writing in.
      • The meter is Iambic tetrameter which is fast paced to reflect the speakers potentially chaotic mindset - however it's regularity could be suggestive of a more calm, collected narrator.
      • The rhyme scheme used is ABABB, which is very ordered, strict and calculated, potentially eluding to the idea that the murder was indeed planned, and not a murder of passion. Emphasises the shocking content.
    • Structure
      • The fact that the entire poem is written in past tense except from the last three lines "we sit together now" gives the poem both a timelessness and a sense of immediacy, whilst also giving the reader a sense of unease, as though we have infringed upon some sort of intimate privacy by reading the poem - brings the reader closer to the villian.
    • Context
      • The conflict within the poem stems from the strict ideas of class which were adhered to in the Victorian era - Porphyria is evidently of a higher class than her lover, illustrated by the "gay feast" she has just returned from. This instability is the basis for the crime, killing her is a way for her lover to be in control and have the power, as well as a way for him to freeze their love in that very moment.
      • Victorian attitudes to sex and sexuality- a woman was supposed to remain chaste and not present herself as overtly sexual the way Porphyria does - this would have been shunned by the Victorian readers of the time
    • Elements of Crime
      • Legal Transgression - The murder of Porphyria is a legal transgression, punishable by law.
      • Social Transgression - One social transgression that is committed is the fact that an upper class woman is seeing a lower class man - this would have been looked down on by the society of the time. Furthermore, the fact that Porphyria is engaging in sexual relations out of wedlock is both a social and a religious transgression.
      • It could be suggested that Porphyria's lover commits religious transgression by seeing himself as a godly figure "Porphyria worshipped me"
    • Language
      • Pathetic Fallacy- Browning prophetically uses  pathetic fallacy to depict the raging storm that "tore down the elm-tops for spite" outside of the cottage, with the destructive, violent actions creating a sense of foreboding.
      • "when glided in Porphyria"- the use of the verb "glided" is dreamlike and ghostly, possibly foreshadowing her terrible end. She is also "rose" like a spirit.
        • Porphyria's name is only mentioned three times throughout the poem - possibly a technique used to indicate how detached the criminal feels towards the crime he commits; a lack of empathy and respect for the victim is depicted.
      • "She put my arm about her waist," This is evidence of a social transgression as Porphyria instigates the physical relationship between them.
      • "she was come through wind and rain" The use of another reference to the weather could be metaphorical, as the wrath of the weather illustrates the hostility of society towards the two lovers of different classes.
      • "she was mine, mine" The use of epizeuxis is illustrative of the narrator's possessive nature towards Porphyria; he claims her as his which objectifies her further.
      • The fact that the murderer "wound three times her little throat" could be interpreted as a mockery of the holy trinity, which further emphasises the transgression being committed and the devilish nature of the criminal.

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