In "Porphyria's Lover", considering when this poem was written, what risks was Porphyria taking?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were several risks involved in Porphyria's actions.

1.  Her reputation.  During this time period, having affairs with men was a stain on a young lady's reputation.  If she was unmarried, discovery would have ruined her chances for a "good" marriage.  If married, the discovery of her affair would have prompted either a duel between her lover and husband, or shunning from her husband and being cast out of good society.  2.  Social classes:  She was obviously of "rich" blood:  she wore "gloves" and had come from a "gay feast" to his "cottage".  Romantic mixings between the classes was looked down upon.  Discovery would have resulted in her lover being banished or ostracized, and once again, her reputation being ruined.   3. In a risk that applies even today, she took the risk of entering into a relationship with a man who was, literally, insanely jealous.  We all take risks entering relationships, but she lost the gamble with this guy:  his jealousy led to murder, and she ended up dead.  And back then there wasn't forensics or other great ways to track down murderers.  The affair was secret, and as the narrator suggests at the end, he plans on getting away with it, because "yet God has not said a word!".

I hope that helps!  It's a great-if creepy-poem!