Porphyriaâ€™s Lover: Love, Sex, and Sin While it is easy to say that this poem is simply a frightening and perverse account of a man who cannot properly express his feelings for a woman, it is much more complex. Two major motifs in the poem, love and sin, create a sense of contradiction. Browning uses this contradiction to explore the relationship between art and morality. The title of the poem leads the reader to believe that the speaker and the woman have been in a relationship for some time. It evokes the image of a woman secretly visiting her lover. Then, the speaker tells the reader that Porphyria â€œglidesâ€ into his house and â€œkneelâ€™d and make the cheerless grate/Blaze up, and all the cottage warmâ€ (6-9). Only someone who had visited the manâ€™s home many times before would feel comfortable enough to â€œglideâ€ in and start a fire. This confirms that this relationship has been ongoing and that this is not the first time the two have met. Throughout the poem, â€œloveâ€ is described in terms of a struggle for power, suggesting that the balance of power, dominance, and control in the relationship between this man and woman will never be equal; that one will always be vying for agency over the other and the relationship. In the beginning, Porphyria is â€œmurmuring how she loved [the speaker]â€ (21). Women of the Victorian era were supposed to stifle their sexuality and ignore it altogether. The woman in this poem makes it clear that Browning did not agree with this view. Although Porphyria has not been able to fully repress her desires, as evident in the fact that she even went to the manâ€™s house, she is attempting to practice some restraint. Instead of shouting or even simply saying at a normal volume that she loves him, she only murmurs. T... ...cheme, ABABB, CDCDD, EFEFF, GHGHH, etcetera. While it does follow a certain pattern, the rhyme scheme is a bit unbalanced. It is heavy on the B rhymes, the D rhymes, and so on. This imbalance in rhyme adds to the thought of the speakerâ€™s imbalance. The most striking thing about the poemâ€™s form is that there is no shift in its sound at any point. While describing the tumultuous storm, he uses clear language. His tone does not change when the woman enters his house; he does not give the reader any indication that he is or is not happy that she is there. The reader expects some sort of change in language as the man murders the woman, but the poem remains in the same rhythmic pattern. All of these details seem small and may even be missed upon first reading the poem, but they add enormously to the thought that the speaker may be suffering from his own type of imbalance.
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