19th Ce Poetry: Victorian Period. Poetry Analysis, Robert Browning

2313 words - 9 pages

Victorian Period -By the middle of the nineteenth century, the rural British population had become centered in large cities, due to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution. As living areas gets smaller and smaller and people's lives becomes much more interwined, poverty, violence, and sex became part of everyday life. People felt fewer restrictions on their behavior, and no longer faces the fear of non-acceptance that they had faced in smaller communities. Also the absence of family and community ties meant newfound personal independence for many British. Thus in the Victorian Period, the city dwellers had a mixed feeling of independence and insecurity. The mid-nineteenth century also saw the rapid growth of newspapers, which were mostly scandal sheets, filled with stories of violence and sex. The resulting overstimulation led to a numbness. People also began to lose faith in religion as various new scientific theories emerged, most notable of all being Charles Darwin's Evolution Theory. Due to these influences, Writers in the Victorian times now felt that in order to provoke an emotional reaction they had to compete with the turmoils and excitements of everyday life, had to shock their audience in ever more novel and sensational ways. So violence became popular for many writers, among them Robert Browning. In many of his poems, violence, along with sex, became the theme of the modern urban-dwelling condition. This can be seen in Browning's poems "Porphyria's Lover" and "His Last Duchess".Poet - Robert BrowningRobert Browning was born in 1812. He spent much of his time as a youth reading, and began to write poetry while still quite young, influenced by Percy Bysshe Shelley. However, Browning's earliest works gave him some negative impression for their morbid tone. He then experimented with writing plays, and when not having success, switched back to poetry.Browning lived and wrote during a time of major societal and intellectual upheaval, and his poems reflect this world. England was becoming increasingly urban, and newspapers daily assaulted the senses with splashy tales of crime and lust in the city. Influenced by the new era in literature, Browning work reflects the exploration of the relationship of morality to art.Browning was successful in his poems though, not for his choice of themes and issues but for his craftsmanship. The attraction in his poetry owes to his strong portrayal of characters and his wealth of detail.In exploring these issues of art and modernity, Browning often uses the dramatic monologue. A dramatic monologue, is a poem with a speaker who is clearly detached from the poet, who speaks to an intended audience that, while silent, is clearly present in the scene. The purpose of the monologue is to develop the character of the speaker. For Browning, this was used to create an alternative persona with which he can explore with sometimes controversial ideas. He often further distances himself by employing historical...

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