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The poem Porphria's Lover revolves around two lovers and the events that are unfolding in their affair. From the onset of the poem, it's very evident that the speaker is obsessed with Porphiria. He shows the effect love has on people and how love makes people prone to other emotions. By use of imagery in the poem, we can tell that the speaker lives in the countryside. This is when he describes the cottage he lives in on the first stanza. On one rainy and windy night, his lover Porphyria visits him. He describes how Porpyria bore the heavy rain to come and express her love to him. He also uses imagery to describe how Porphyria glided in, removed her cloak, shawls and gloves before joining her lover where he had sat. He further says how her presence brings happiness and warmth in his life. This is symbolized when he says 'she shut the cold out and storm'. However, despite all this, he goes ahead and strangles her and in the end he says that God has not done anything to punish him for his evil action. This is probably his way of justifying his actions.
There is description of the weather at the time in stanza one. By using personification, the writer tries to explain the intensity of the wind, for example, when he writes, 'the sullen wind was soon awake, it tore the elm tops down for spite and did its best to vex the lake'. He describes the wind as capable of experiencing human emotions. Symbolism is also used because at the mere description of the weather there's a feeling of foreboding. This is a feeling that something is not right. This is also an instance of effective use of pathos as an appeal because he conveys his description imaginatively to the readers. He expresses himself in a manner that allows the reader to identify with his situation. By use of 'sullen wind' the speaker is trying to refer to his own feelings. He was cheerless as he waited for Porphyria's arrival.
Repetition is also used in the poem when he says, 'at that moment she was mine, mine' this is used to show the speakers excitement at having achieved what he had longed for. Irony is also used when he writes 'in one long yellow stand I wound, three times her little throat around, and strangled her. No pain she felt.' It's ironic and paradox that one should kill someone they love. It's also paradox because it is not expected that after Porphyria professed her love to her lover, that he should her. The tone as he describes the murder is calm, composed and mellow which is also ironic since Porphyria's lover had just committed murder.
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As the poem goes through the encounters of the two lovers the writer mixes erotic language with violent imagery. The speaker in his monologue describes how they engaged in sexual activity. Using euphemism to avoid offence he writes, 'and gives herself to me forever. But passion sometimes would prevail. Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain.' Throughout the poem, the speaker delivers his views in a dramatic monologue where he is talking to the corpse of his dead lover. This may create bias among readers as we are not able to hear Porhyria's opinion in the matter. What we know is based entirely on the speaker's memory and emotions .The speaker repeatedly refers to his pride in the poem. He says that Porphyria worshiped him. This imagery of his gloating draws the reader's feelings of resentment. The speaker shows no remorse for his actions making it easy for one to sympathize with Porphyria rather than her lover.
The title of the poem, 'porphyria's Lover' makes the poem more about the speaker than Porphyria herself. The title is symbolic as the name 'porphyria 'could be taken to mean delusional madness. This is a suitable title for the story revolves around a mentally unstable lover. Here, we see the use of logos. Based on Logic this is the most befitting title. However, the use of symbolism in the title leaves the poem open for multiple interpretations.
Another instance where symbolism is applied is when the Lover refers to her as "perfectly pure and good." Symbolically we see her positive nature through her blazing up the "cheerless grate" and making the entire cottage warm .The atmosphere in the cottage and grate, represent the Lover's mood since he was dark before her arrival." As a shut bud that holds a bee, I wearingly opened her lids: again" the speaker has used simile to create resonance between two situations. He is comparing how he opened Porphyria's eyes to the manner in which a bud holds a bee. In line 37, the writer uses strong consonance to stress the fact that he was killing Porphyria.
By effectively using different forms of appeals and canons, the writer has successfully managed to convey the themes in the poem. Also, he has managed to draw the reader into the poem allowing them to identify with the characters in the poem.
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