Specifying Fictional character: Solitude as a Litmus Test in “Mariana” and “Porphyria’s Lover”
Victorian poets Robert Browning and Alfred. Lord Tennyson often construction their poesy as a dramatic soliloquy to derive penetration into the head and motives of their characters. with the purdah that accompanies such dramatic soliloquies going a cardinal focal point of the work. Tennyson’s verse form “Mariana” and Browning’s poem “Porphyria’s Lover” explore the relationship between purdah and individualism. in peculiar focussing upon single rights. By developing the usage of personification. the poets suggest that persons lose their objectiveness when confronted with drawn-out purdah. However. the dramatically different tones and declarations of the plants imply that purdah and single rights are non inherently good or evil. but instead reflect the moral character of the person. Tennyson’s usage of personification in the first stanza establishes both the melancholy tone of the verse form while besides suggesting at Mariana’s imbalanced mental and emotional province. The verse form opens with a description of the scene. yet Tennyson sunglassess even this background to match with how Mariana sees the universe. Mariana. who urgently awaits the reaching of her lover. is incapable of comprehending anything objectively. Tennyson’s word picture of the sheds as “sad and strange” ( 5 ) therefore corresponds with Mariana’s wretchedness.
The “lonely” ( 8 ) grange and “glooming” ( 20 ) flats complete the three of black purdah. Significantly. Mariana views these inanimate objects as possessing human features. While this personification suggests Mariana’s emotional instability. it besides reveals the solitariness of her isolation. Mariana’s despairing desire to stop her purdah compels her to subconsciously create sympathetic human-like figures from her milieus. Tennyson uses personification throughout the verse form to afford readers insight into the development of Mariana’s character. Tennyson personifies the house and air current in ulterior stanzas both to underline Mariana’s farther descent into solitude’s subjectiveness and to suggest at her lover’s future reaching. Stasis is a important facet of the verse form. as the lone expressed reference of clip go throughing comes by holding Mariana instead declare “The twenty-four hours is dreary” ( 32 ) or “The dark is dreary” ( 20. 57 ) . Mariana submerges herself in a timeless being. declining to admit anything except the absence of her lover and her subsequent depression ; the phrase “She merely said. ‘My life is drab. / He cometh non. ’ she said” ( 9-10 ) appears at the stopping point of every stanza.
As Mariana externally languishes in this ageless province of waiting. Tennyson’s displacement in personification reveals more of her interior emotions. In the 5th stanza. after cycling through the alone purdah of the twenty-four hours and dark. Mariana relates how “All twenty-four hours within the moony house / The doors upon their flexible joints creaked” ( 61-62 ) . The word “dreamy” has a more hopeful intension than the antecedently characterized “glooming flats” or “lonely grange. ” meaning a possible displacement in fortunes. Even though the desired lover is yet merely a pensive dream. Tennyson heralds his future visual aspect by bodying the air current as “wooing” ( 74 ) . While superficially the courting air current might be seen merely as a whistle zephyr. Tennyson plays upon the dual significance of the term “wooing” to mean the future reaching of the lover and an terminal to Mariana’s purdah ( North 11 Jan 2010 ) . Therefore. Tennyson uses personification as a thematic tool throughout the text to foreground the impact of purdah on Mariana and how her character evolves over clip. Similarly to Tennyson. Browning emphasizes the consequence of purdah upon the person in his verse form “Porphyria’s Lover” in order to subsequently emphasize the connexion between purdah and single rights. The storm that brews outside the narrator’s bungalow serves to insulate him physically from others. yet his privacy has a deeper impact every bit good.
Browning intentionally film over his word picture of the storyteller. for readers are denied a physical description of him. or even of the bungalow where he lives. Rather. it seems the storyteller views his ego merely as it pertains to Porphyria. his lover. His lone designation arises from the rubric “Porphyria’s Lover. ” therefore specifying him merely in footings of his relationship with her. Browning extends this word picture of the narrator’s deficiency of ego to embrace his behaviour. for the storyteller passively endures the stormy conditions until Porphyria comes. By holding the storyteller observe that “she shut the cold out and the storm. / And kneeled and made the cheerless grating / Blaze up. and all the bungalow warm” ( 7-9 ) . Browning suggests that the storyteller depends upon Porphyria to carry through basic human demands like heat and comfort. His involuntariness or inability to bring forth his ain heat and his trust upon Porphyria implies a psychological distancing from his ego. Indeed. the following few lines seem to corroborate the narrator’s mental instability. for the narrator’s third-person history of when Porphyria “sat down by my side / And called me… no voice replied” reveals the sense of distance. even disembodiment. that the storyteller experiences. Browning therefore depicts the storyteller as so shaped by interior struggle that he compensates for the acute stabs of solitariness and isolation he feels by self-destructively contracting his universe to Porphyria.
While Browning and Tennyson both employ personification in their poesy. Browning’s usage of personification underscores the dangers of purdah. The first four lines of the verse form present the air current as a malevolent personality ; the storyteller relates how the “sullen air current was shortly awake. / It tore the elm tops down for malice. / And did its worst to annoy the lake: / I listened with bosom tantrum to break” ( 2-5 ) . In a loss of objectiveness that parallels Mariana’s. the storyteller perceives a non-human force as portraying human emotions or desires. By seeing the air current as intentionally evil. the storyteller reveals a distressing consequence of drawn-out purdah. His subjective position of the air current underscores his loss of ground and objectiveness. and compels guess about his mental stableness. Furthermore. his overly dramatic reaction to the air current. “I listened with bosom tantrum to break” ( 5 ) reveals the narrator’s fragile province and potency to overreact in general.
Most people would non happen themselves heartbroken over a blowy dark. nor decry the air current as a vindictive being. Indeed. the wind’s violent savageness of the elm tops foreshadows the narrator’s eventual choking of Porphyria. Such barbarous fierceness provides a blunt contrast with Mariana’s passiveness. The different tones and declarations of the two verse forms highlight the differences within the chief characters ; their radically different reactions to solitude border the cardinal issue of single rights. While at first the connexion between purdah and single rights might look elusive. the contrasting behaviours of Mariana and the storyteller serve to beef up the nexus. Tennyson’s and Browning’s usage of personification in their verse forms emphasizes that Mariana and the storyteller become brainsick while digesting the alone stabs of purdah. for the use of personification suggests the demand to make people. Yet the characters reveal their emotional instability in really different ways: Mariana retreats into the unsighted comfort of the dark. “She could non look on the sweet heaven / Either at forenoon or eventide” ( Tennyson 15-16 ) while the storyteller erupts in force. “I found / A thing to make. and all her hair / In one long xanthous twine I wound / Three times her small pharynx around / And strangled her” ( Browning 36-40 ) .
These actions correspond with the personification developed earlier. as Mariana portrays things as “sad” or “lonely” . while the storyteller depicts the air current as intentionally barbarous. Even though they both experience the same purdah. merely Mariana is able to digest her state of affairs without devolving into force. The morality of single rights – whether a individual should move in conformity with his or her desires even to the point of harming others – is questioned by the narrator’s slaying of Porphyria. Surely. the storyteller should non be considered representative of all worlds faced with such purdah ; Mariana’s reclusive retreat seems much more declarative of human nature in general. However. his cold slaying and subsequent rationalizing. “No hurting felt she ; I am rather certain she felt no pain” ( 41-42 ) suggest a disturbed outlook that. if unbridled. has the possible to devour society. Populating within a community restricts the exercising of unchained freedom to prosecute single rights ; Browning suggests that when that community is lost and replaced by privacy. persons may lose that restraint. every bit good. For the many who react to solitude like Mariana. a few will respond like the storyteller.
Therefore. while the construct of single rights is non needfully flawed. its exercising must ever be checked by human fallibility. In decision. while “Mariana” and “Porphyria’s Lover” portion many similarities. their differences invite readers to a closer scrutiny of character. Despite their common focal point upon purdah. the poets use personification to foreground the different personalities of their characters and to bode their future actions. While both Mariana and the storyteller lose their objectiveness. merely the storyteller descends into lunacy. Indeed. the positive intensions of words like “dreamy” and “wooing” implies that Mariana will be rewarded for her forbearance during her alone vigil. Therefore. purdah in these verse forms forms a background that places the characters’ actions in crisp focal point. Solitude. like single rights. is non needfully a good or bad thing in itself. Rather. it highlights the moral character of the person. Possibly Tennyson and Browning choose to compose about purdah. which every reader must face to some extent. to oblige their readers to analyze the comparative morality of their ain actions.