Robert Browning: Poems

Hatred in Robert Browning's Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

Poetry can often be described as "painting with words." It is a poet's attempt to give linguistic form to thoughts and emotions, to create vivid imagery with only a minimum of language, achieved by any number of creative methods. In the lyric poem "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" the poet Robert Browning uses a dramatic monologue to express emotion, such as intense rage and hatred, which is conveyed by the persona of a bitter and spiteful monk. By inventing a fictional character, which acts as the speaker in the lyric poem, and expressing that character's hatred in a dramatic situation, Browning has created a sense of heightened emotion within the poem. An analysis of Browning's "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" will enable readers to understand how the themes, context, form, and mechanics help to give the impression of violent hatred felt by that of the speaker.

At first glance it seems that Browning's main purpose in "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" is to present us with the picture of a jealous monk who does nothing but complain about a fellow monk by the name of Brother Lawrence. While the mutterings of an ill-tempted monk are in fact highly entertaining to read...

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