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    BROWNING POEMS-aspects of narrative

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    THE PATRIOT-story
    -Unnamed Patriot going to gallows and reflects in how his fortunes have changed since his triumphal entry into the city before.
    THE PATRIOT-voice
    -1st person
    -Unnamed Patriot-focus of voice is on personal experience.
    THE PATRIOT-form
    -Regular 5 line stanzas
    -iambic pentameter
    -Rhyme scheme= ABABA
    THE PATRIOT-setting
    -A city (‘house roofs’ and ‘church spires’) but unnamed city.
    -We can assume it is European as it has architecture of a medieval city with its ‘old walls’.
    -No time info given.
    -Poem also shifts in setting from ‘roofs’ and ‘spires’ in first 3 stanzas to ‘shambles gate’ and ‘scaffold’ in final 3 stanzas.
    THE PATRIOT-time and sequence
    -Narrative organised RETROSPECTIVELY-looking back ‘a year ago’.
    -Poem divided into 2 parts.
    -1st part describes triumphal arrival of the Patriot which occurred a year ago.
    -2nd part brings us to the present with the execution of the Patriot.
    THE PATRIOT-notes
    -strict formal pattern of 5-line stanzas and poetic devices e.g alliteration: ‘the church spire flamed, such flags, they had.’ (internal rhyme of flags and had.
    -‘An Old Story’- retrospectively-story passed down through generations.
    -Duke of Ferrara is negotiating a marriage with a Count and he tells story of previous marriage to the counts envoy who has been sent to agree terms.
    Duke of Ferrara is confident, arrogant speaker whose first person narrative comprises the whole of the poem. Note boldness of the opening: ‘That’s my last Duchess…’ and ambiguity of second line is a pattern which continues in the poem. Although the Duke speaks of control, Browning develops a narrative voice which doesn’t control the story:fragmented syntax and outbursts of lines 31 and 32 suggest frustration as he can’t form words to express what aggravated him about his ‘Last Duchess.’ The voice is elegantly phrasing in early part of the poem but later he states ‘Then all smiles stopped together’ a brazen boast fullness and ambiguity is created in this narrative voice. Irony present- while Duke criticizes Duchess for smiling at gifts she scorns e.g ‘white mule’ or ‘the dropping of daylight in the west while he prefers materialism expressed.
    -Dramatic monologue-writing in rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter.
    -choice of this form allows Browning to imitate rhythms of natural speech and rhyme scheme to create a sense of control.
    -Enjambment used so the listener cannot interrupt.
    MY LAST DUCHESS-time and sequence
    -The cause of discussion of the last Duchess began when the artists painted ‘the spot of joy’ on the painting of the Duchess makes the Duke digress about her.
    MY LAST DUCHESS-setting
    -Poem set in Ferrara, city in Northern Italy.
    -Although no specific time given, artists name=RENAISSANCE
    -immediate setting of poem is a grand place, full of expensive art.
    -The story is told in private adding to the sense of claustrophobia and menace.
    -Hamelin (city in Germany) is plagued by rats and mayor and townspeople cannot find a solution.
    -Until the Piper appears and offers to get rid of rats for a fee.
    -He does this but the mayor does not pay him so the Piper pipes all the children out of the city.
    -Story told in 3rd person by a reflective narrator.
    -narrator is limited as he doesn’t know where the Piper went after Hamelin.
    -However this fits in with the nursery rhyme quality of the poem.
    -we hear 4 voices: the mayor’s, Piper’s, a rat’s (‘stout as Julius Caesar’) and a child who, because he was lame, could not follow his playmates to the mountain.
    -Poem concludes with direct address to ‘Willy’ and a moral that we should be ‘wipers…of scores out with all men.’
    -story told in rhyming iambic pentameter.
    -lots of linguistic techniques e.g. similes: ‘like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled.’
    -Browning’s choice of form and language directed to making narrative fit ‘A Child’s Story’.
    -e.g. rhythmic liveliness, rich sound and extreme rhymes e.g. ‘glutinous’ and ‘mutinous’.
    -Poems begins and ends with remarks by the narrator in his own time- some 500 years after the events of poem.
    -events followed in chronological order- making it easy for a child to follow being that it is ‘A Child’s Story.’
    -Hamelin town is locates in a specific time and place.
    -But poem also introduces exotic settings.
    -Browning uses the Piper to introduce these settings as the Piper visiting ‘Asia’, freeing ‘the cham’ in Tartary and being called to assist the ‘Caliph’ in Bagdat.
    -Through these settings, Piper can be linked to the mythological figure of the ‘wandering Jew’, a man who, because he had cursed Christ, was damned to wander the Earth until judgement day.
    -But he had magical powers and could be called to assist those in need.
    -the reader might see in Piper’s vengeful response to the mayor’s refusal to pay him a hint of Anti-Semitic stereotype- (hating Jews.)
    -A young man waits in his cottage for his beloved who has left her rich family to see him.
    -When she arrives, he strangles her and kills her so he can possess her forever.
    -Story told by young lover, himself, as a 1st person narrator.
    -Browning creates a voice of a madman.
    -Speaker uses turbulent , violent language that evokes his deranged mental state.
    -Up until line 33 ‘I knew Porphyria worshiped me,’ the voice had been merely an observer.
    -Line 33 shows a change where the voice becomes energetic and sexually charged.
    -Suggestion of FREE INDIRECT STYLE OF NARRATION where characters thoughts are articulated by the narrator without any set limits.
    -e.g. ‘smiling rosy little head.’
    -we would expect this style in a novel but in the poem it is disturbing especially with the woman’s voice silenced by the narrator.
    -rhyming scheme= ABABB and this form is unusual- its asymmetrical and unbalanced which reflects the obsessive mental state of the protagonist.
    PORPHYRIA’S LOVER- time and sequence
    -Browning begins narrative at very climax of story reflecting that he is not interested in casual events of the story.
    -Poem also concludes in present tense creating a sens of chilling uncertainty of what the future holds.
    -Poem begins with a retrospective account of ‘early tonight’ and the subsequent arrival of Porphyria.
    -Final line= ambiguous: ‘And yet God has not said a word’.-statement of victory and trying to make himself believe his actions were justified.
    -story takes place in a cottage by a lake.
    -browning only wants us to study madness of the man and not the society in which he’s been vague about the time and setting.
    -Pathetic fallacy-‘tore the elm tops down for spite.’=represents what is to come (death of Porphyria).
    A monk is caught outside a brothel and being asked to account for himself, does so in fullest terms, telling the story of his life and his career s an artist.
    fra lippo= charismatic narrator boldly beginning narrative with statement of who he is. Voice is restless and shifting from through to thought-drunk? Narrator=honest and subjective. Different voices occur through Fra Lippo’s mouth. Fragments of direct speech creates a sense of lively drama within the poem bringing to lofe the conflicts, triumphs and disasters of Lippi’s varied life.
    Dramatic monologue but written in blank verse (non-rhymed iambic pentameter.)
    FRA LIPPO LIPPI-time and sequence
    Browning uses linear chronology to tell the story of his first artistic triumph and defeat which also offers an early climax in the story. The length which is long is used by Browning to illustrate the insanity of Fra Lippio Lippi.
    FRA LIPPO LIPPI-setting
    Lines 130-190 take place in flashback to Lippi being taken in by the church and painting a scene of the people inside the monastery. Set in the 15th century at the time of the Italian Renaissance. Philosophical ideas were being spread as people began to question religion and how they should live their lives. This exploration of how religion should interpret sin is a central theme of Fra Lippo Lippi.
    The female speaker is about to kill her rival in the presence of her lover who is connected to the female speaker in some way; prehaps her ex-husband.
    Story is told by the murderer in first person, in a biased and controlling voice. We do not know that the protagonist is female where in 5th stanza, she will carry her poison with ‘…an earring,…a fan-mount…’-feminine items. The poem also recalls the saying ‘hell has no fury like a woman scorned.’
    THE LABORATORY-time and sequence
    We come into the poem late; when the killer is actually making the poison. But each ingredient added is done in chronological order. TIME AND SEQUENCE + FORM: Dramatic monologue-usually one stanza but this poem is split into 12 numbered stanzas imitating a recipe..for poison perhaps?
    THE LABORATORY-point of view
    The speaker wanting to use the poison is the only view we hear. This suggests the revengeful act is solely down to her. It is also suggested she has been cheated on and the reader is forced to believe she has done nothing wrong in the relationship due to hr view being the only view.
    THE LABORATORY- structure and form
    AABB and meter=anapestic (2 stressed syllables + 1 stressed syllable) and this creates a jaunty affect making reader not taking theme of poem seriously=melodramatic.
    THE LABORATORY-setting
    Browning sets story in France before revolution-a time of corruption. Setting of poisoners workshop (laboratory) =claustrophobic and Gothic and the fact the narrator is in a laboratory is rather unnatural and threatening.

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    BROWNING POEMS-aspects of narrative. (2017, Sep 04). Retrieved from

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