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Analysis


Symbolism, 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

This poem is divided into nine eight-line stanzas, or octaves ("octa" means "eight"…and yep, an octopus has eight legs), each with a regular ABABCDCD rhyme pattern. Below is an example of what w...

Speaker

The speaker of "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" is the kind of guy who smiles at you through gritted teeth when he'd rather spit in your face. He manages to refrain from actually saying all the...

Setting

The setting is indicated by the title of the poem: it takes place in a "Spanish cloister." A cloister is the square, open garden at the center of a religious monastery, where, in this poem, a monk...

Sound Check

One of the strange and delightful things about this poem is how realistic it sounds. The occasional growls ("G-r-r-r!") and the parenthetical asides make the poem sound the way you'd imagine an an...

What's Up With the Title?

The title "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" tells us a few things about the poem we're about to read: first, it takes place in a Spanish cloister, which is the central garden of a monastery. So...

Calling Card

Calling the speaker of "The Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" psychologically disturbed might even be a little generous. After all, this guy fantasizes about making a deal with the Devil to condem...

Tough-o-Meter

The language is occasionally tough, and there are references to some esoteric Christian doctrines and heresies, but on a basic level, this poem is pretty accessible: most readers can probably under...

Trivia

Robert Browning was not very well regarded during his life. His wife, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was much more famous. In fact, he was often referred to simply as "Mrs. Browning's husban...

Steaminess Rating

Sure, this poem takes place in a monastery, but the speaker still manages to work in some lustful thoughts. He checks out the women bathing down by the river in spite of his vow of chastity (lines...

Allusions

Arius, a heretic from the 4th century C.E. who denied the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. (Line 39)Galatians, the 9th book of the Christian New Testament, written by Paul the Apostle around 200...
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