POETRY - ROBERT BROWNING

Language, Form, Structure and Links to Other Texts

Language, Form, Structure and Links to Other Texts

The Power of Dramatic Monologue– A dramatic monologue allows the writer to explore the thoughts and emotions of characters. In this poem Browning writes as a deluded murderer and explores the psychic process that a man such as this might go through. Because he is using the dramatic monologue form, the reader knows that it is not Browning’s thoughts being expressed.

In both poems he uses an AABB rhyme scheme, which is similar to a ballad, a popular form of narrative poetry. Browning also uses enjambment where the end of a line does not necessarily end a phrase. This shows a continuous flow of thought.

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Links to Other Texts

Useful article from the Victoria and Albert Museum on sexuality in the Victorian era: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/sex-and-sexuality-19th-century/.

Alfred Tennyson’s poetry provides other examples of the dramatic monologue and narrative poetry.

Browning and other poets of the Victorian era looked back to the Renaissance for inspiration. The duke in ”My Last Duchess” is based on a real man – the duke of Ferrara – from the 16th century. Browning’s argumentative style and the content of his poetry are similar to John Donne. He often wrote poems where he seems to have a conversation or an argument with a silent listener such as in ‘The Flea‘ though his attitude to sex was more open.

The Oxford World Classics edition (ed. Adam Roberts) of Browning’s poetry provides useful notes on context and language as you read the poems as well as an interesting introduction to the man himself and his poetry. It also includes a selection of his letters, which are interesting for exploring his views on society and other poetry that was being written at the time.

The poetry of Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti was also written during the Victorian era and Christina’s in particular looks at the role of women in society and their sexuality.