Lee at 15:38:35 6/18/98 from c550-6.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
|Prphyria's Love by Robert Browning
When I was reading this poem, it reminded me the article we read about last semester. I think that the speaker in this poem is a little bit like "Emily", the main role in "A Rose for Emily". They both kept their lover in a very extreme way - kill them.
The poem starts with the speaker describing Porphyria. With the introduction of a fierce, stormy night, I saw Porphyria appearing as a blend to nature, while she 'Shut the cold out and the storm made the cheerless grate braze up, and all the cottage warm." It seems that she has the ability and strength to be in charge of nature. From this, I came around with two opinions. Firstly, there's a possibility that Porphyria is a woman of strength and power, her strong character enables her to manipulate her partner. The other possibility could be Porphyria knowing that her lover is mentally unstable, revealing her motherly traits while tending to her lover's needs. In either case, I would not disregard the fact that Porphyria loves the speaker as she came all the way undergoing wind and storm wetting her just to keep him out of cold.
On the other hand, the speaker, too, revealed his love at the beginning of the poem: "I listened with heart fit to break," Porphyria is very important to him. However, when Porphyria was by his side calling him, he did not reply. In my opinion, the speaker did not reply Porphyria because he is not mentally healthy. We know that many people who have the problems of mental disorder usually behave strangely. Follows on, the stanza describes how Porphyria shows her passion by putting the speaker's "arm about her waist" and makes his cheek lie on her "smooth white shoulder." From another view, the speaker was described as a child-like character, enjoying the guidance of a mother-like Porphyria. From the care and concern Porphyria applies on the speaker, I think that the speaker's mental disorder can be proved in these sentences.
Although Porphyria expressed her love physically, the speaker seems not to feel the security. He has the impression that Porphyria's attempt is just too weak to sever her pride and vanity from her passion from him, thus making the speaker uncertain of whether he is able to keep his lover long. I think that maybe Porphyria came from the upper class, so the speaker had kind of inferiority complex , and was always worried about that Porphyria would not belong to him for a long time. We can find out some evidences here about why the speaker would kill his lover in the end.
The speaker even explains that the arrival of Porphyria "through wind and rain" is just "a sudden thought," a prevalence of Porphyria's "passion." However, this still made him "proud and happy," at least he thinks that Porphyria is worshipping him. He ended up with the notion of preserve this love by committing murder.
Insecurity and possessiveness contributed to this obsession of love. The speaker strangled Porphyria with her hair. Porphyria is a bee and he the bud, in the closing stage has Porphyria all to himself. The speaker's insanity has totally overcome him. He has blended into the soul and body of his lover, whereby he could understand all her senses and feelings, for example, "I am quite sure she felt no pain," taking into account that the strangled face "blended bright beneath my burning kiss," etc..
"And all night long we have not stirred, and yet God has not said a word." This is a statement that proved his insanity. It is true that the speaker has his lover by side forever, but through the means of murder. He did not think that he is committing a crime as he spent the whole night together Porphyria without being disturbed and most of all without disagreement of God.
Like Emily, the possessive characters eventually caused them to view their beloved ones as an object more than being. They wanted their beloved ones to belong to them exclusively just like the speaker says "that moment she was mine, mine, fair, perfect, pure and good." In order to keep their lovers, they chose dreadful endings.
There is a great sense of egoism in the speaker. He's too proud of his love and even after killing her, he still pictures her head "as a smiling rosy little head, so glad it has its utmost will." To the speaker, Porphyria is happy to have gained him, her love, in the form of death. He even states proudly that Porphyria should not have thought of her wish being heard. It seems like this egoistic man have given her the best or what she actually wanted. In the lines, "and all her yellow hair displaced and spread, o'er all, her yellow hair," Porphyria's hair has covered the speaker's head, which is lying on her bare shoulder. It seems like the speaker as a male character was overpowered by the female. As I have mentioned in the first few stanzas, the female character is stronger, the speaker tried to turn over the situation by saying "as a shut bud that holds a bee." The roles changed as the speaker overpowered Porphyria by keeping her by his side "forever."