Robert Browning is the man who first taught me to love poetry my freshman year of high school with, “My Last Duchess,” and then again, despite having not seen each other for a while, with “The Laboratory,” and very recently with “Porphryia’s Lover.” He may have died a century before I was born and is said to have had one of the most celebrated literary romances with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who is just simply untalented and an invalid and really not worth mentioning here at all, but I still entertain the hope that I might win him back with my devotion of his poetry via research paper.
Dramatic introductions aside (including the completely facetious remarks about Elizabeth Barrett Browning), Robert Browning is revered as a master of the dramatic monologue as poetic genre, which I intend to explore further in my research. Browning was by no means the first to produce poetry of this kind, but he holds his place in the canon today because of his perfected execution of character development. Browning’s poetic audiences can psychoanalyze his characters with depth due to his close attention to personal nuances and detail. The characters in question give themselves away such that their psychoses are inescapable and unconscious, rendering them seductively captivating to readers. This brings my other areas of interest regarding Browning’s poetry to light: his typically murderous characters, his contribution to Victorian Gothic poetry, and his use of abnormal psychology in literature.
I would like to keep my analysis of Browning’s poetry to the three poems mentioned previously: “My Last Duchess,” “The Laboratory,” and “Porphyria’s Lover.” This might change as research commences, however, I think the common murderous leanings of the three characters will connect the poems nicely. I would also like to give more focus and connection to my broad areas of interest, and this will hopefully come with research.
Finally, I am particularly drawn to these subjects and the man in question because of my own day to day interactions with monologues, character analysis, and character development as a Theatre major, but also because they bridge the gap to my English major – offering further study as a way to further both majors.