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Porphyria's Lover

Porphyria's Lover

by Robert Browning

Porphyria's Lover Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

The meter of "Porphyria's Lover" is fairly regular iambic tetrameter. Wait: before you zone out, let us explain. The meter refers to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in the line. An...

Speaker

The speaker of "Porphyria's Lover" sounds awfully straightforward. His tone is incredibly reasonable, which makes it even creepier considering he's describing horrific things (such as strangling hi...

Setting

The poem takes place in a house near a lake, probably out in the country somewhere. There are trees around, and it's probably a pretty nice place to visit when the weather's good. Too bad the weath...

Sound Check

"Porphyria's Lover" is so rhythmic that it's easy to be drawn in. The poem seems designed to lull the reader into complacency: "It's just another love poem! Look, the lovers are snuggling by the fi...

What's Up With the Title?

We should really ask, "what's up with the titles?" since "Porphyria's Lover" has had several different names since its first publication in 1836. Originally, it was published in a magazine as "Porp...

Calling Card

If you think that "Porphyria's Lover" is Browning's only dramatic monologue in which the psychopathic speaker murders a beautiful woman, think again: "My Last Duchess" covers similar ground. All of...

Tough-O-Meter

The language isn't all that difficult in "Porphyria's Lover," and the speaker's matter-of-fact tone means short, simple sentences. Thematically, the poem gets a bit trickier – how are we supp...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Even though there's no graphic sex in this poem, we have to give it an "R" rating for the fetishism, the extra-marital affair, the murder, and the necrophilia. It's fair to say that those all add u...

Shout Outs

Some critics believe that "Porphyria's Lover" was inspired by a murder that was described in gory detail by John Wilson in 1818, only eighteen years before Browning wrote this poem. The story, "Ext...

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