2Robert Browning Born in 1812, during the Victorian era Liberal parents, who took a keen interest in his education and personal developmentWrote poetry from an early ageHugely influenced by Percy Bysshe Shelley, a radical who wanted to change modern societyWrote many famous dramatic monologuesChanges to the culture:The population was increasing and cities expanded.Newspapers made the public fearful with tales of crime and lust.Many people lost faith in religion as various new scientific theories emerged, notably Darwin’s theory of evolution.Masses of poverty, whilst extreme wealth existed for the minority
3The rain set early in to-night, Madhouse CellPorphyria's LoverThe rain set early in to-night,The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Which done, she rose, and from her form Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, And laid her soiled gloves by, untied Her hat and let the damp hair fall, And, last, she sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, Murmuring how she loved me---she Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour, To set its struggling passion free From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me for ever. But passion sometimes would prevail, Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain:So, she was come through wind and rain. Be sure I looked up at her eyes Happy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worshipped me; surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do. That moment 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. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. And I untightened next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: I propped her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will, That all it scorned at once is fled, And I, its love, am gained instead! Porphyria's love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word!Robert Browning
4Porphyria’s Lover Quick Response The poem is a dramatic monologue in which the narrator confesses to a crime.What is the crime?Who is the criminal?Who is the victim?Where and when does the crime take place?What is the motive?What unusual weapon is used to commit this crime?
5StoryboardUse the cartoon strip to create a storyboard of the events in this poem. There are eight boxes. Note down the eight key events of the poem and create visuals for these in the boxes provided A caption should be provided for each box. You may use quotations from the poem or an explanatory sentence.
6SupertitleA supertitle is the phrase that appears above the main title. Think about the supertitle that appears in this poem and answer the questions below:Where does the narrator think that he is as he makes his confession?Where is he actually?Who might he think that he is talking to?Who do you think he is actually talking to?At what point in time does he think it is at the end of the poem?When might it be really?
7Is the poem what it seems? How reliable is the narrator? Bearing in mind the content of the poem, why might the narrator be unreliable? Discuss this in your groups… Lying due to the nature of the crime? Insane and no real grasp of reality? ??? Any other reasons???
8Unreliable Statements How does the repetition of the claim in red make it less believable and why can’t it be true?Bearing in mind what has happened to Porphyria, are her eyes likely to be without a stain?Is it possible for her body to blush at the point indicated and why would he want us to believe that she was blushing?No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily open her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. And I untightened next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: I propped her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will, That all it scorned at once is fled, And I, its love am gained instead!Find another description of her in this section which is an equally impossible description.What does he believe that Porphyria’s ‘utmost will’ was? Find a quotation from the poem to support your idea
9Flower Word ChoiceA key genre marker of romance is often flowers: men giving flowers to women.Count the number of references to flowers in the poem.What is unusual about the flower references in this poem?The narrator has gone stage further: rather than giving her flowers, he has transformed her into a flower – not a nasty corpse, as he sees it.
10Pathetic FallacyPathetic Fallacy is when a writer uses weather to suggest a character’s emotions or the mood of the story. The rain set early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; What do the green words have in common and what does this suggest about the narrator by the fact that he describes the weather in this way. Technique used? What does the blue word suggest about Porphyria?
11Structure – no accident Browning makes every detail of his poem work together to create a full picture of his speaker. Structure is one way of doing this. Does this poem have verses and if so, how many? Does it have a rhyme scheme or noticeable rhythm? This poem does have a very particular structure, but it is hidden. A people: count the number of syllables in each line and write the number at the end – pattern revealed? B people: note the rhyme scheme on the poem and see if it naturally splits into verses – number of verses? Rhyme pattern in each verse? C people: re-read the poem thinking about the plot. Mark an asterisk in the text where you believe the turning point is. It may not be at the end of a line. D people: re-read the poem and lightly circle the word ‘and’ wherever it appears. Count how many t6imes it is used and how many times it is used to start a line.
12EnjambmentThe poet has stuck rigorously to a rhyme scheme, however the rhymes themselves are not that obvious. This is due to Browning’s use of enjambment: where the end of a line is not the end of a sentence or idea. Sentences and ideas run from line to line and indeed from verse to verse, which prevents the reader from putting weight or stress on the final word in a line. This allows Browning to conceal the rhyme scheme. In the extract opposite, the verse breaks have been put in and the last word of each sentence or idea has been underlined. The rhyme in this poem is hidden, what aspect of the narrator’s Character does this mirror?I foundA thing to do, and all her hairIn one long yellow string I woundThree times her little throat around,And strangled her. No pain felt she;I am quite sure she felt no pain.As a shut bud that holds a bee,I warily oped her lids: againLaughed the blue eyes without a stain.
13Structure – copy and complete ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is _______ lines long and though it is printed in one unbroken block, actually divides into _________verses of ___________lines each. Within each verse, the rhyming pattern is as follows: the first line rhymes with the _________ line, and the ________, ___________ and _______ lines rhyme with each other. This regular rhyme scheme is known as an a, b, a, b, b rhyme scheme however the rhyme is hidden through Browning’s careful use of ____________. The line lengths in this poem are also highly regular. Of the sixty lines, ____________ are _________ syllables in length, with just a few having ________ syllables. This creates a tightly controlled, but hidden structure. Explain why this suits the poem?
14Turning Point – “I found / a thing to do” Complete the table using quotations to support your ideas Before the TPAfter the TPWho controls the situation?Porphyria does. She ‘shut’ out the cold and made the ‘cheerless grate blaze up and all the cottage warm’. She ‘called’ him and ‘made’ his cheek lie on her shoulder. Anything that changes does so because of her.What is the narrator’s mood?How are Porphyria and the narrator sitting?
15VisualsDraw the two separate scenes described in the poem where the couple sit together. The first picture should depict lines 14 to 19, and the second picture should relate to lines 49 to 51. What does the turning point phrase: ‘I found / a thing to do’ suggest about the narrator’s view of murder?
16Repetition: ‘her’ ‘she’ Repetition ‘and’How many times did you circle the word ‘and’?How many times was ‘and’ the first word of the line?What types of people tell stories structured using lots of ‘ands’?What does this tell us about the narrator?Are there any other instances where the narrator’s childish and selfish character traits are apparent? Look particularly at the first 19 lines.Repetition: ‘her’ ‘she’Count the number of times ‘her’ and ‘she’ feature in the poem.What does the overuse of these two pronouns tells you about the narrator?
17Repetition: ‘Passion’ Repetition: ‘hair’Which lines does this word feature in?What two reasons might the poet have for having the narrator repeat words relating to her hair?Repetition: ‘Passion’What purpose does the narrator have in repeating this word in lines 22-30?What does he want us to believe about Porphyria’s feelings for him? Find evidence from the poem to support your ideas.Did she give in to her desires on the night of her murder? Support with evidence.List the things that she does that suggest she felt passionately about the protagonist.Quote two words from lines 6 – 20 that suggest that Porphyria is submitting to her desires and explain why they suggest this.Note and explain two quotations that indicate Porphyria’s tainted virtue and her desperation to give into her desires.
18CaesuraCaesura is a pause in the middle of a line of poetry, breaking the line into two halves. This can be achieved using most forms of punctuation.How many lines of Browning’s poem is this technique featured on?
19Caesura What effect does this have on the poem? Do they suggest: a pause for thought?nervousness or uneasiness?stuttering / limiting the flow of the conversation, hinting at the speaker’s insanity?????Explain why you think that caesura has been used in the poem in lines 15 and 41.Consider the use of caesura in line 15. How does this convey a sense of the atmosphere in the poem?It is jarring, and emphasises the silence which follows in his muteness.Select another example and comment on the effect on the atmosphere.
20The poem’s conclusionThe speaker believes that he is still sitting in his cottage on the morning after the night of the murder, holding Porphyria’s dead body in his arms. However the supertitle made it clear that he was in fact in a madhouse cell and that the crime may have happened weeks or months previously.After her death he arranges her body:I propped her head up as before,Only, this time my shoulder boreHer head, which droops upon it stillThis is a mirror image of the way that she held him earlier in the poem.He ends by stating:And all night long we have not stirred,And yet, God has not said a word!Which word suggests that he believes she may still be alive?Which phrase suggests that he has been robbed of his sanity entirely and why?What does the final line also tell the reader about his feelings regarding his crime?
21Sentence Structure Complex sentences These are used to speed up the text and could show a character is ranting and talking quickly or thinking quickly because they are scared or excited.Short sentencesThis is when a word or idea is repeated frequently or all in one part of a text to emphasize an idea.Long sentencesThese show shock or that something may be shouted.RepetitionThese add extra detail to your writing and can speed up the pace.DashesThese are words that can be used to express the emotion of a text or character.Exclamation marksThese can be used to pick up the pace of a text or to mirror the action in a text.Emotive languageThese slow the pace down and can add tension to a text. Also they may be used to highlight or emphasize a piece of information.What type of sentence structures can you find in the poem and why have they been used?
22Pathetic Fallacy / Personification List examples of pathetic fallacy and personification using quotation Select one example of pathetic fallacy and three examples of personification and analyse their use in the poem. Example Browning uses personification in the poem to suggest that Porphyria’s love is a separate entity from her: “she / Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour, / To set its struggling passion free” Personification is used to separate Porphyria’s love from her, to make it seem like a distinct thing that needs to be rescued and liberated by extinguishing the aspect of her that prevents it from enjoying what it wants.
23ThemeWhat are the key themes in this poem? sex madness love violence For each of these themes make a list of quotations from the poem that you could use to comment on this theme For example: The theme of madness is introduced at the outset of the poem through Browning’s use of the supertitle: “Madhouse Cell”. As the rest of the poem is written in the voice of the speaker, the reader is not able to trust everything that is said. However, because the location is given via the supertitle it is not influenced by the speaker and therefore provides an initial setting for the poem as well as indicating the speaker’s mental state.
26Medical Report Baddesley Asylum You are the psychiatrist who has sat and heard this tale from the speaker. Write a medical report about your patient. You must:Make each feature of his insanity clear and back this up with quotations from the text.Suggest a suitable treatment regimeMake clear recommendations about how others should be protected from him.Begin with the following paragraphBaddesley AsylumIt is clear that the subject was suffering from overwhelming anger even before these tragic events. His tendency to describe even weather as “sullen” and “spite[ful]” merely indicates his own fury at the world and the elements within it.
27Techniques RevisionComplete a mind map for each of the techniques listed below. For each you should include a quotation from the poem and analytical notes about what you could say about the quotation. supertitle dramatic monologue persona pathetic fallacy contrast rhythm rhyme verse structure enjambment ambiguity turning point repetition final line flower word choice unreliable narrator For example: pathetic fallacy “The sullen wind […] did its worst to vex the lake:” personification and pathetic fallacy used to depict his emotions through the storm that is occurring outside.
28Essay QuestionsChoose a poem in which the poet has created a perfect blend of form and content. Show how the poet does this and discuss how it adds to your appreciation of the poem. Choose a poem in which the poet creates a picture of a heroic or a sinister figure. Discuss the means by which the personality is clearly depicted. Choose a poem where there is effective use of more than one of the following: verse form, rhythm, repetition and sound. Show how the poet effectively uses these features to enhance your appreciation of the poem as a whole. Choose a poem where the speaker’s personality is gradually revealed. Show how through the content and language of the poem, aspects of the character gradually emerge.
29Introductions: TARTS Choose a poem in which the poet creates a picture of a heroic or a sinister figure. Discuss the means by which the personality is clearly depicted.Title Author Refer to question Themes and techniques Summary ‘Porphria’s Lover’ is a dramatic monologue written from the perspective of a sinister character. Robert Browning’s poem tells the tale of a young woman come late one stormy evening to the speaker’s home. Whilst there it appears that the couple become amorous, but this ends abruptly when the speaker strangles his apparent lover with her own hair. During the poem it becomes clear that the speaker is in fact insane and Browning employs a variety of techniques such as rhythm, rhyme, enjambment, pathetic fallacy, imagery, and repetition to present a full picture of the speaker’s sinister character.
30Main Body Paragraphs PEEE Point Evidence Explanation Evaluation The speaker’s dark and violent mood is established at the outset of the poem when Browning employs pathetic fallacy to show how the speaker is feeling. “The sullen wind was soon awake, / It tore the elm- tops down by spite, / And did its worst to vex the lake:” Browning has personified the weather to highlight the vicious mood that the speaker is in. The wind is described as being huffy as well as violently attacking the trees and angering the lake. This not only establishes the speaker’s mood and feelings, but it also foreshadows his behaviour towards Porphyria when she later arrives at his house. Just like the wind, he describes at the beginning, he too acts obstinately towards her when she first arrives, before he then violently attacks her. Browning effectively creates a violent atmosphere in the poem, but by describing the weather instead of his speaker, this helps to conceal the violent aspects of the speaker’s character therefore making his act all the more shocking when it is described later in the poem.