Porphyria's Lover Themes

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Madness

Browning's study of madness in "Porphyria's Lover" is subtly presented. At the beginning of the poem there is little sense that the person who narrates these events is insane. The form of the poem is regular, with a tight ababb rhyme pattern. Most of the poem is written in an uncomplicated iambic pentameter, in which every other syllable is stressed, creating a rhythmically soothing beat. The diction of the poem is straightforward (most of the words used are monosyllables), as is much of the description of events presented by the speaker. The poem begins with a simple description of a storm and then moves into a similarly straightforward description of Porphyria's movements. The narrator explains everything methodically, presenting a catalog of his lover's movements, as she shuts out the cold, kneels down, makes a fire, takes off her coat, and sits by his side. However, as is soon...

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This section contains 1,271 words
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Poetry for Students
Porphyria's Lover from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.