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Porphyria's Lover

Porphyria's Lover


by Robert Browning

Porphyria's Lover Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. The 1842 publication of the poem grouped it under the collective title, "Madhouse Cells." Does that mean that the speaker of "Porphyria's Lover" is in a mental institution? Could the entire poem be a hallucination?
  2. How does the title of the poem change your interpretation? Look at the different titles it's had: "Porphyria," "Madhouse Cells," and "Porphyria's Lover." What does each title emphasize?
  3. Why does the speaker strangle Porphyria?
  4. The speaker and Porphyria physically switch places in the poem. Why is this? What's the effect?
  5. Why does the poem end with the speaker's assertion that there will be no consequences for his actions?
  6. What's the effect of the switch to the present tense in line 58?

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