Most lovers of poetry will be well versed on the thought provoking work of Robert Browning. His graceful and sophisticated writing style has the power to change your perspective on many aspects of the Victorian era. There is no better example of this than Porphyria’s Lover. The poem begins with Browning setting the scene for a romantic evening shared between a man and a woman. It later becomes apparent that the man is her lover and that the two are struggling to overcome the social boundaries that divide them. Lacking trust in her decision to hand herself to him completely, the man murders her under the pretence that it was for the sake of love. Works by other authors from the Victorian era suggest that love could conquer all however this poem depicts an alternate reality. The patriarchal society which lead women to feel objectified from birth meant that many faced lives laden with hardship and isolation. For this reason, I view Porphyria’s Lover as a significant indication of a milestone for the rights of women and their place in society. As psychotic as the speakers love may seem Browning conveys an insightful message that perhaps love is insane in all its forms.
The poem can be found here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175584