Discuss the differences of approach in Tennyson's and Browning's attempts to address the ills of their society.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Alfred Tennyson sometimes made allusion in his poetry to the social and scientific issues that were so distressing to many Victorians, including Tennyson, related to the discoveries of geological and astronomical time and Darwinian theory. As a devout Christian, he added references in his poetry about how one might keep faith in God and yet acknowledge the "progress" of sciences understanding. Additionally, he would use some poetic works to express opinion about social issues like fair treatment of women and women's right to attain higher education.

Robert Browning, on the other hand, often took a psychological approach to addressing the ills of society. His poetry, often composed as dramatic monologues, told stories through various characters. Since Browning was therefore writing in a character voice and not his own, he was free to create characters that were capable of as much evil as good. In this way Browning could explore the psychology of crime and brutality as easily as he could explore goodness and beauty. He exposed the inner mind behind some of the situations of society and used his poetic stories to discuss philosophical points relevant to issues from art and beauty to materialism.

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