Thematic Analysis Of Robert Browning’s Poem Porphyria’s Lover

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Victorian Era texts that I have studied have shaped my understanding and point of views of what everyday life was like and what people’s roles were in the Victorian Era society. The Victorian Era is a period of time in England from June 1837 to January 1901. One of the poems I have studied in class was ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. Porphyria lover is a dramatic monologue written by Robert Browning and is about a man who was deeply obsessed over a woman so he had murdered her so he could be with her forever. The main themes that were displayed in this poem are romance, male power and society/class.

Male power is one of the main themes in the poem ‘Porphyria lover’. During Victoria context male had more power than women as shown throughout the poem ’Porphyria lover’. In this poem power and control was displayed on how the male were more superior than the women in the Victorian Era. Women had limited access to no access at all and hardly any control over their daily lives. Men had access to everything and far more accepted than the women both the private sphere and public sphere. Men were educated and were allowed to be in the public sphere, they also had the right to order the family to do whatever he wanted and the wife had no choice but to obey him. In the poem ‘Porphyria lover’ it shows at the start that porphyria had control and power over the man but towards the end it shows that he had more power than her because he murdered her. For example, “At 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 bure.” This quote shows that porphyria might have been in control of their relationship but towards the end, it shows he had control because in this quote “she was mine mine (repetition is shown here)… Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.” You can clearly see that he took control and power by killing her. Power is clearly shown in the poem, by men having more power and control of women.

Another major theme in ‘Porphyria lover’ is romance. The man in the poem was so obsessed with porphyria, he kills porphyria to be with her forever. “she put my arm about her waist” these quotes you can notice the love they had for each other was romantic simply by her putting his hands on her waist. “murmuring how she loved me”, this shows that she is expressing her feelings towards him about her love. Another example is “Happy and proud; at least I knew porphyria worshipped me; surprise, Made my heart swell and still it grew”. This shows how he was in love with porphyria, as well as literary devices are in the quote. “she shut the cold out and the storm” these quotes show how she cut out so many things in her life including society, just to be in his life because she was that deeply in love with him. The quote also shows alliteration in the words she and shut. Romance has shaped my understanding of Victorian context by showing me that men had most of the control because they would murder people they were in love with to be with them forever.

Death, another major theme used in ‘Porphyria lover’. Death in ‘Porphyria lover’ is a huge role because it links to the themes of jealousy and romance. He murdered porphyria because he was obsessed and wanted to be with her forever, he was jealous that society had all her attention and he didn’t. For example, “three times her little throat around, And strangled her. No pain felt by her.” This quote shows and tells you how he horribly murders her and sadly he says “her little throat” but still does it three times to make sure she dies. In this quote there is alliteration, the alliteration words are three and throat. Death in ‘Porphyria lover’ shows that men during these times were murders and careless of how women feel but themselves. All men care about is what they want and their feelings, not others, that’s why he murdered her because he was heartless.

Overall, ‘Porphyria Lover’ by Robert Browning is about a man who kills porphyria just because he was jealous of her and he was also in love and wanted her all to himself. This poem displays major themes such as Death, Romance, Power, Jealousy and many more. Robert Browning uses literary techniques to make the poem more understanding and interesting towards the audience also a better understanding of the Victorian Era. The themes of death, romance and power showed me a better understanding about what happened during those times and how men were far more superior than women. 


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