The critical appreciation of Robert Browning's Fra Lippo Lippi

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alison3000 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Fra Lippo Lippi as a poem in which Browning is thinking about the relationship between art and life. Browning explores this theme in other poems such as 'Andrea del Sarto' as he was much influenced by his time living in Italy. He also often set his poems in the past, particularly when Venice was ruled as a city state and very important.  

The poem is a dramatic monologue in that the speaker is a historical figure speaking to a silent listener. This form allows us to hear the thoughts of the speaker and we become aware of his motivations.

Browning often questions the morality of the church as it seems that people join it without any real consideration; 'they made a monk of me'. People also seek shelter there from crimes they have committed; 'fresh from his murder.'

Another major concern is with Fra Lippo Lippi as an artist. Browning is considering whether art can ever truly capture life 'Can't I take breath and try to add life's flash?'


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