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Porphyria's Lover Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- 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?
- 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?
- Why does the speaker strangle Porphyria?
- The speaker and Porphyria physically switch places in the poem. Why is this? What's the effect?
- Why does the poem end with the speaker's assertion that there will be no consequences for his actions?
- What's the effect of the switch to the present tense in line 58?