Porphyria's Lover Questions and Answers
by Robert Browning

Porphyria's Lover book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Describe the characters of Porphyria and her lover in the poem "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning.

Expert Answers info

carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,291 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

“Porphyria’s Lover” by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue.  The poem’s story comes from the mind of the man who waits for Porphyria. The poem belongs to the lover and his perspective.

The setting of the poem is a cottage in the country.  The cold and rainy storm outside exacerbates the atmosphere of the story.  The narration is first person with the poem being told from the mind of the lover.


This subject of the poem glides rather than walks into the cottage. This is a young woman who is breaking all societal conventions by meeting a man in his house in a sexual affair.   

Porphyria  is a blond with long, beautiful hair.  Passion and sexuality exude from the young woman.  Her first movement is to make a fire. The author makes Porphyria a force of nature when she enters the cottage. 

The narrator does not answer Porphyria when she calls his name.  Obviously, her love for him comes from her heart when she puts his arm around her waist and places her bare shoulder...

(The entire section contains 631 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial