PORPHYRIAS LOVER Essay - Ivana Anna Tandara Critical...

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Ivana Anna TandaraCritical MethodsProfessor RothschildFeminist CriticismApril 18, 2014“Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert BrowningFeminist Criticism can be defined more than a theory. It can be perceived through away of life, politics, a struggle and an idea. As well as through how women have written orhave been written about. The poem, “Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning, firstappeared in 1836, one of the earliest and most shocking of Browning’s dramaticmonologues. This poem gives a reader a clear intake on how a woman is written aboutthrough the eyes of a dominant man.The poem takes place in the Victorian age and goes against many ideas of theVictorian Society, mainly about purity and sex. Like many Victorian writers, Browningwas trying to explore the boundaries of sensuality in his work. In this poem sex appears assomething so natural, acceptable and almost wholesome. The Victorian Era was also a timewhen the validity of these roles came into question. From a feminist point of view, thispoem could be seen to represent the indifference that men seem to show towards womenexerting power and control to a degree, especially in a sexual sense.This poem seems to interpret the way men seem to find the reversal of dominanceand passivity in this area erotic and more desirable. However, once women assert too muchpower, men immediately take advantage of their testosterone fueled brute force to restorewomen to their rightful place. This could be seen, to an extent, to reflect the discomfort thatsome men still feel towards women who are powerful or assert power of control.“Porphyria’s Lover” is a clear violation of these roles. Instead of feeling pity for thespeaker at the loss of his masculine power, one feels that he is a coward. One feelssympathy for Porphyrias, whose life was taken away unjustly. Robert Browning ispushing boundaries within society in his work because he is concerned with the

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