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Discuss And Illustrate As Far As You Can Browning’s Search, As A Poet, For Formal And Thematic Variety?
In 1851 Browning wrote an essay on Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in it he both praised the Romantic poet who had so influenced him, and also explained how he, Browning differed in his own poetic project. Shelley, according to Browning, was a subjective poet, a poet who wrote from the perspective of the inner self, while Browning wishes to be an objective poet. Browning felt that subjective poetry which is never relieved by objectivity meant that “the world is subsisting wholly on the shadow of a reality”. He wanted to present the world from a distanced objective view, not through a haze of abstraction, and to show the world and the people in it clearly and directly. Employed by Browning, among others, the dramatic monologue is one poetic strategy which allows us a vision of both worlds. The character in the monologue tells his or her story in a subjective manner, while allowing the distanced poet and reader to remain objective.
The “action” in a dramatic monologue is mental, psychological and verbal. Browning also became adept at indicating physical action and gesture but the important one is the act of speaking—of arguing, pleading informing, reminiscing, of thinking aloud or of justifying oneself. The form also allowed him to indulge his fondness for eccentric or often morally reprehensible characters and opinions while, it freed him from the responsibility of bringing his villain to justice. Browning chose the Renaissance as the historical setting of many of his poems because it was a time of great energy and change. However Browning’s characters are not famous personages but minor players. They are too busy concentrating on themselves and their own needs to think about their role in history. Through these moments in history Browning discusses such themes as Love, Art, Beauty and Evil. He also shows us that it is ve...
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