Robert Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover is a poem that explores the themes of feminine beauty violent behavior and sex in the Victorian society. During the Victorian era, people were very concerned about morality that they associated the three themes with transgression. Browning sought to expose the contradiction of the society’s expectations for morality while at the same time desiring sexual gratification.
Browning deliberately chose the title “Porphyria’s Lover” to illustrate the story of a usual romantic relationship and communicate a connotative message at the same time. Browning astounds his audience by introducing an astonishing incident in the fifth line where the narrator strangles his lover, Porphyria, unemotionally with her own hair. It seems that the narrator suffers from a serious psychological disorder that causes him to commit such a heinous act. Browning infers that the narrator has been always deranged but somehow managed to conceal his condition from his lover.
Browning asserts that the common misunderstanding about relationships is that people fail to open up the real issues that affect them. They pretend that because they are in love with each other, these issues will just erode away on their own. In the end, these unsolved concerns can lead to tragic endings. One of these problems is the power play among couples. In most cases, one partner or all in a relationship want to assume power. The other partner might appear relaxed with the situation, but in reality, they are not. Such matters have been known to cause insecurities that can lead a couple to end the affair they have. In relationships, the aspect of society and class is usually overlooked and understated, but it is one of the most significant subjects that affect people who claim to love each other. It is known that people of lower class usually have insecurities when in a relationship with people of a higher social class. Such issues have led people to do unfathomable things to make the matter of social class irrelevant in their relationships.
Browning, Robert. Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning. Monthly Repository, 1836. Internet Source.