AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February 2021 Pp. 201-209
Insanity and Murder in Robert Browning’ and Robert Lowell’s Dramatic Monologues
Maha Qahtan Sulaiman
Department of English Language
College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad
Received: 12/16/2020 Accepted: 2/12/2021 Published: 2/24/2021
The study aims at fathoming Robert Browning’ and Robert Lowell’s intentions of choosing the dramatic monologue as a means of exploring human psyche. Significantly, the themes of insanity and murder are not ideal from an esthetic perspective, but for Browning and Lowell it provides the key to probe into human character and fundamental motives. This study examines Browning’ and Lowell’s dramatic monologues that address crime and the psyche of abnormal men. Browning’ and Lowell’s poetry in this regard unravels complicated human motivations and delineates morbid psychologies. Their monologues probe deep down into the mind-sets of their characters and dissect their souls to the readers. The main character of each of Browning’s dramatic monologues, My Last Duchess and Porphyria’s Lover; discloses his true self, mental health, and moral values through his monologue in a critical situation. Ironically, each monologue invites the reader to detect the disparity between what the character believes the story to be and the reality of the situation detected through the poem. In Lowell’s The Mills of the Kavanaughs, the monologue is delivered by the victim herself. Yet, the fact that the poem reflects Lowell’s individual experience and trauma indicates that the monologue is delivered by the poet-victimizer as well.
Keywords: Dramatic Monologue, Insanity, Murder, Trauma, My Last Duchess, Porphyria’s Lover, The Mills of the Kavanaughs
Cite as: Sulaiman, M. Q. (2021). Insanity and Murder in Robert Browning’ and Robert Lowell’s Dramatic Monologues. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1) 201-209.
Browning, B. (1949). Poems of Robert Browning: A selection made by Sir H. Milford. London: Oxford.
Eliot, T. S. (1963). Selected prose. London: Penguin.
Grosskurth, P. (1967). Notes on Browning’s works. London: Coles.
Hamilton, I. (1982). Robert Lowell: A Biography. New York: Random House.
Karlin, D. (ed.). (1989). Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett: The Courtship Correspondence 1845-46. Oxford: Oxford.
Lowell, R. (2003). Collected poems. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Lowell, R. (2005). The Letters of Robert Lowell. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Mariani, P. (1994). Lost puritan: A Life of Robert Lowell. New York: W. W. Norton.
Meyers, J. (1987). Manic power: Robert Lowell and his circle. New York: Arbor House.
Pandey, R. (2014). Robert Browning: Poems of failure and the vision of evil. Cyber Literature: The International Online Journal, 7(2), 1-26.
Sinha, N. (1994). Robert Browning: The Later poetry. Prestige: New Delhi.
Travisano, T. & Hamilton, S. (eds.). (2010). Words in the air: The Complete correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Williams, L. M. (1967). Robert Browning. London: Evans Brothers.
Williamson, A. (1974). Pity the monsters: The Political vision of Robert Lowell. New Haven: Yale.
Al-Zwelef, K. M. (2013). Marital metaphors in Robert Lowell’s life studies. European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 1(1), 1-15.