Baylor D
November 30, 2011
TWIST essay

I wound three times her little throat

Robert Browning’s tone in Porphyrias Lover is gloomy and nonchalant. These words don’t seem to join together, however they make sense when you look at the overall tone of the piece. In this piece it’s a rainy, windy night which sets up the gloominess of the night. Browning says “The rain set early in to-night the sullen wind was soon awake (Browning)” this gives a visual picture of a dark, dreary night. Also the nonchalantness of Brownings voice makes the story calm while such a horrific situation is taking place “In one long string I wound three times her little throat around and strangled her. No pain felt she...(Browning)” a character in the story just strangled a woman, but there’s a way in the narrators voice that’s so calm as he strangles the woman.

In Porphyria’s Lover Robert Browning’s word choice is dull and numb. He accomplishes this by using words such as “cheerless”, “pain” and “strangled”. The narrator’s word choice is so matter-of-fact in the way the narrator “strangled” the woman. The whole story has a “cheerless” tone because of the way the narrator goes about killing Porphyria. The fact that Porphyria is “struggling” to set her passion free, is ironic because in the story she is being killed because of her overbearing love for the narrator.

Robert Browning’s piece has imagery present in many parts of Porphyrias Lover. Browning’s imagery helps show what the narrator is doing and how the narrator goes about performing his actions. Browning’s use of imagery helps tell what is really going on in the story. From the beginning when Browning describes “When glided in Porphyria; straight she shut the cold out and the storm (Browning)” with this it gives an image of Porphyria coming near the narrator and his full attention being on her. I get to another image of the narrator strangling Porphyria with her “yellow hair”. “In one long yellow string I wound three times her little throat around, and strangled her (Browning)”. I can see the narrator wrapping her hair around Porphyria’s throat and strangling her. The imagery in Porphyria’s Lover is never ending.

Browning tells the story from the characters point of view. He does this by using “I...” therefore the point of view coming from the narrator. This helps us know exactly what the narrator is thinking with every action he makes. Robert uses no exclamation marks showing the piece is calm and not exiting. It shows the piece is relaxed. Which is a huge part of the piece considering what is taking place.

Robert Browning shows how Porphyria’s love affected the narrator very well. Browning says “Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavor, To set its struggling passion free (Browning)”. This shows how much Porphyria’s loves the narrator. It almost seems due to both his words and actions that her love was overbearing: “Happy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worshipp’d me; surprise made my heart swell, and still it grew while I debated what to do (Browning)” Porphyria’s amount of love for him pushed him into the conclusion of killing her. This really shows how love can make you do crazy things. Sometimes love is overbearing making people do crazy things.