Robert Browning: Poems

Themes in Robert Browning's poems?

themes/characteristics in style language structure that are similar that appear in different robert browning poems

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Much of Browning's work contemplates death and the way that it frames our life choices. Many poems consider the impending nature of death as a melancholy context to balance the joy of life. Examples are "Love Among the Ruins" and "A Toccata of Galuppi's." Other poems find strength in the acceptance of death, like "Prospice," "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," and "Rabbi Ben Ezra." Some poems – like "My Last Duchess," "Porphyria's Lover," "Caliban upon Setebos," or "The Laboratory" – simply consider death as an ever-present punishment.

A theme that runs through much of Browning's poetry is that life is composed of a quest that the brave man commits to, even when the goal is unclear or victory unlikely. In some poems, this quest is literal, particularly in "Childe Roland to Dark Tower Came." This is a useful poem for considering the use of the quest in other poems. Some of them use the metaphor to suggest the difficulties of living in the face of inevitable death: "Prospice," "Two in the Campagna," "Rabbi Ben Ezra," and "Life in a Love." Others have less intense quests than that which Roland undertakes, but nevertheless show Browning's interest in the theme: "Meeting at Night," "How They Brought the Good News From Ghent to Aix," and "A Grammarian's Funeral." Overall, the theme serves as a metaphor for life and most poems can be understood through the lens of "Childe Roland" in this way.


Robert Browning: Poems