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Literature Sheet 1  
Browning’s Handling of the Dramatic Monologue

The bulk of Browning’s writings before 1846 was intended for the theatre. His mayor poems showed his perfect handling of the dramatic monologue. This consist essentially of a narrative spoken by a single character, and amplified by the character’s on his story and the circumstances in which he is speaking. The reader, because of his own knowledge of the events desorbed or by inference from the poems itself provides a quasi dramatic contact for the poem and is eventually enabled to assess the intelligence and honesty of the narrator and the value of the views he expresses Browning did not invent the dramatic monologue, but he made it especially his own, and no one else has ever put such rich and varied material into it. He just takes what interests him, and consequently he is nearly always inspired nearly always at his best. All that is best and all that is most characteristic of Browning is represented in these dramatic monologues which include the finest of his poems of love. This most vital work is in the shorter dramatic monologues. Where he handles single situations or soul- statesgrowing out of what has gone before and pointing toward shat is to come after. In these not only does he selecta highly special moment in the life of a man or a woman whose soul he wishes to show us in its working, but a soul he views his theme from some odd and striking point of view. Another peculiarity of Browning’s method in his shorter dramatic monologues is that he throws the reader into midst of the situation with startling suddenness, and them proceeds to reveal facet after facil of et.

A dramatic monologue is a device that serves as a thorough test of artistry. It is confining form, and one to be lightly self imposed. Each monologue presented its of poetry in Browning’s time. Indeed, Browning is only one of many Victorian writers who employed this medium of expression Browning’s handling of this form is to be distinguished from that of Tennyson. In illysses Tennyson depicts a heroic individual in a moment of resolve. It is a noble reflective poem but is not dramatic. There is no moment and the scene is barely indicted. Although the hero holds the stage alone. We feel him as a voice rather than see him as a person, and the minor characters are mere shadows, a third dimension is lacking. The sailors are only there to strks the rounding forrone at the setting contributes to the effect, and the staged is peopled with fully rounded figures though only the main character is the one to speak.

Andrea del sarto is one of Browning’s finest dramatic monologue. On his failure and unrealized ambitions in the darkening studio, he is not alone. His wife fucreziaemuges from the shadows to wait for the signal from the cousin lover waiting outside. These are scenes which grow in depth. In each poem there isadion rising to climax as character intract and develop always on intellectual problem to provide a motive. This is the art of the dramatic monologue as practiced by its great exponents on the stage. Dith the enlarging power of poetry Browning extends its range and uses it for an infinite variety of imaginative creations.

The most remarkable among his dramatic monologues are there in which Browning embodies his ideas of pointing and of music in the person of individual painters & musicians. They are 7re lippohippi ; Andrea del satro, and abtVogler. In Andrea delSarto Browning borrows another subject from Italian art here the hopes and ambitions of youth have ycelded to the sad acceptance of age. Browning called it his ‘twilight piece’. It is the study of failure, and its tragedy lies in the resignation. The poet dose not step in to point moral but lets the mood he has evoked speak for itself. The poem is regarded as Browning’s fautess monologue. Andrea is character of higher order and the depth of his fall is proportionate the height whence he came. Andrea’s whole life is puesoned by the sense of the wrong he has done to his own higher nature by having been unfaithful to his art.

In their speeches, the characters in Browning’s dramatic monologues tells us of themselves and their interlocutors , their deeds situations and their circumstances. The poet has therefore three objects in view in writing a dramatic monologue, he has to present plot character and scene inthe speech of a single person. His presentation of action usually follows one of two methods. According to the first, the events are presented in logical and consequent fashion almost as in narrative poem. Situations and characters are revealed gradually and simultaneously, and these poems are chiefly dramatic and of the speaker is unconscious of his role of narrator and of the fact that in telling his story he is revealing himself. This method is illustrated in porphyria’s lover.
The character themselves have the greatest intrest for Browning. Their outwaid appearance is rarely revealed, but their souls are laid bare before us, and all deveces of language, imagery and rhyme are employed to reveal the personality of the speakers. The scence in these dramatic monologue is admirely presented. It is presented with still greater art in Andrea del sarto which Browning’s finest puce of dramatic atmosphere.

The form of dramatic monologue which Browning used to such splendid purpose is by no means a simple one. If other literary divisions, as lyric, elegy, epigram, have their counter parts in the passing moods of the day moods which may visit any man from moment impassioned reflection. On one side it is still reflective, still half lyrical, on the other, as it deals with a defined situation or incident, it has to make some sort of terms with the dramatic properties which is has already flouted by its postulated restrictions. Its artificiality is obviously very great: we are to imagine that it is being listened to but never answered, it is a dialogue of which

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