Porphyria's Lover Questions and Answers
by Robert Browning

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

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"Porphyria's Lover" tells a linear narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The setting is established right away: it is a stormy night at a rather remote little house. The house is cold until Porphyria arrives and starts a fire in the grate. She invites the speaker, who is identified as her lover, to put his head on her bare shoulder.

The middle involves Porphyria proclaiming her love to her beloved. At first, the beloved is unsure of what to do, but her closeness and devotion arouse something within him. The climax comes when he strangled her with her own hair.

The final third of the poem involves the fallout of the murder or what Freytag's Pyramid would term the falling action. The lover kisses the corpse, puts her head upon his shoulder, and the two are seated as such all night long, with the speaker feeling no remorse.

The structure emphasizes the mystery of the beloved. At first, we assume he is a normal person. However, as the poem progresses, the character becomes slowly...

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