His Everlasting Moment Of Intimacy Essay

1449 words - 6 pages

In the widely acclaimed novel “Catching Fire”, the fictional character Peeta Mellark is quoted as saying, “I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever.” (Collins). Coincidentally, that is what the unnamed lover in Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue “Porphyria’s Lover” aspires to achieve when he murders his beloved Porphyria, in hopes of preserving their intimate moment for eternity. At the start of the poem, Browning seemingly shows his audience a loving, romantic scene of Porphyria affectionately tending her inert beau. As the dramatic monologue progresses, it is learned that the originally envisioned romantic love story has transformed into a disturbing tale of a cruel lover’s massacre of his significant other. The moment the nameless speaker finally glances into his love’s eyes, he fully abandons his passive nature and reveals his true personality. The persona of Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” reveals himself as a sadistic and covetous lover who views Porphyria as a mere possession, and further illustrates himself as a delusional and selfish person. Browning overtly reveals the speaker’s character through proficient word choice, explicit imagery, and the clever use of irony in the poem.
The persona’s possessiveness and lunacy is depicted by the poet through the use of diction. To begin with, the speaker’s character is portrayed in one way through the repetition of words in his speech, asserting his intended message. This is seen in his claim over Porphyria: “That moment she was mine, mine” (Browning, 36). His repetition of the possessive pronoun “mine” emphasizes his ownership of Porphyria. The repeated use of the word shows his aggressively selfish personality, because he completely claims her and does not consider that she is a living being that he cannot plainly label as his own. This further shows his insanity, as he does not consider his lover’s feelings, because he is blinded by his covetousness. He also regards her as a thing that he possesses, instead of as a person that he allegedly loves. Moreover, the persona exemplifies his unpleasant qualities when his possessiveness evidently intensifies into something much worse. He does this when he refers to Porphyria in a peculiarly different way after she has died: “The smiling rosy little head, / So glad it has its utmost will, / And I, its love, am gained instead!” (52-53, 55). The persona, through synecdoche, addresses his dead lover as only a “head” and continues to objectify her by calling her “it”. The speaker’s objectification of his beloved shows how he only views Porphyria as an object that he owns—a mere possession. He also stresses about how Porphyria has “gained” him, when in actuality what he really means is that now he finally owns her forever. This clearly illustrates his outrageous and crazy way of thinking as he fulfills his never-ending moment with Porphyria by murdering her, and diminishes her later into a simple possession that...

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