What is the narrative structure of "Porphyria's Lover"?

"Porphyria's Lover" has a linear narrative structure. The narrator tells the story chronologically, and the main events appear to take place over the course of a few minutes.

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"Porphyria's Lover" has a linear narrative structure. The poet begins by establishing the setting: a cottage on a stormy night, where the first-person narrator is waiting for Porphyria. The narrator tells the story in chronological order, describing his feelings for Porphyria as he does so. She enters, tends to the fire, takes off her wet cloak, shawl, hat and gloves, and then comes over to greet the narrator, telling him how she loves him.

The narrator sees some conflict in Porphyria's love, since she cannot entirely sever herself from other obligations outside the cottage. However, he quickly realizes that her love for him is paramount, and she is entirely his. This reflection leads him to strangle her with her own hair, then, when she is dead, he opens her eyes and kisses her. At the end of the poem, he says that they have sat together the whole night "And yet God has not said a word!"

The main events of the poem probably only take a few minutes. Hours then pass without detailed...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 998 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 11, 2020