As Cedars points out, Robert Browning is a famous composer of dramatic monologue poems (Cedars & Joyce, 2013). These types of poems are written from the point of view of someone with a dramatic imperative of arguing for himself. The prevalent theme in his work is that of the quest, as he views the human struggles being a noble quest for a seemingly impossible goal of precision, and fortuitously alleged to immortalize that struggle to his best. In the poem Life in Love, Browning talks about a woman who mentions leaving him as depicted in the first line, "Escape me?" (Browning, line 1). He, however, mentions that the escape was to be futile because his pursuit of her is equivalent to his fate. Despite failures, his endless quest to find his love continues amidst little hope. Browning has used various levels of language to bring about themes of the quest, fate, and free will. This paper will discuss how themes are reinforced in the "Life in Love" poem by the use of stylistic features of phonological, grammatical, and lexical levels of language.
Firstly, the poem has utilized the features of a phonological level that includes rhyme, assonance, and alliteration. Simpson defines the phonological level as that entails the sound of spoken language and the manner in which words are pronounced (Simpson, 2017). Rhyme is the repetition of the same sounds on two or more words (Simpson, 2017). For example, the words "both" and "loth" are rhyming words in the poem (Browning, lines 5 and 6). Alliteration is repeating a consonant sound in words close to each other in a line (Simpson, 2017). For example, on line 10 of the poem, it uses "scarce succeed" as the alliterating words. Also, "from your farthest" forms another alliteration on line 16 (Browning, line 16). Assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds on words close to each other in a line. For example, "No sooner the old hope goes to ground" forms assonance where vowel sound 'o' is repeated in line 18 of the poem (Browning, line 18). Mostly, phonology has been used in the poem to reinforce and create an emotional response to the theme of transience. For instance, assonance in line 18 is used to show how love is not a path to happiness but of struggle and little hope.
Secondly, Browning has deployed a grammatical level of language in the poem. Grammatical level of language is concerned with the structure as well as the order in which words and phrases in a poem come are put within the line (Simpson, 2017). This level includes both the syntax and semantics of the words in the sentences. Syntax refers to the rules that are concerned with the order of words within the sentence. Semantics refers to the manner in which separate words and phrases are combined to bring about a sensible meaning. The poem has 22 lines, which are short and simple in their structures. Some like line 2, "Never," and line 3 "Beloved" has only one word each.
There is an interrogative line 11, "But what if I fail of my purpose here?" (Browning, line 11). The Meter of pone is as well-developed where tercets are used to group the lines. Line 13 "To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall" uses a metaphor (Browning, line 13). A metaphor refers to the act of comparing two things by referring one thing as another to explain as well as reveal a hidden similarity or idea. "To dry one's eyes" reveal that the individual is wiping out tears. Probably the pursuit of love has brought sorrow that makes him cry while mock the fall as a result of not being able to accomplish his purpose. The grammatical features in the poem, especially the short lines, augment the reader's emotions to bring out feelings of loss that can emanate from love pursuit.
Thirdly, the Graphological level, too, can be used to analyze stylistic features in the poem. The graphological level refers to the whole scheme of writing that includes punctuation as well as the paragraphing. It also involves spacing and the entire writing system with the inclusion of features like hyphens, full stop, dashes, capitalization, lower case letters, and italicization. The third line reads, "While I am I, and you are you"(Browning, line 3). Within this line, it is clear that the subject complement is already aptly fronted. The objective of the poet is to show the dramatic imperative of the effect of love pursuit on him. Also, the lines "To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, And, baffled, get up and begin again," depict that the starting clause has been shifted to the front (Browning, line 13). It is mainly to bring the impression of rising up again after a defeat. It reinforces the theme of the quest, where the poet is still determined to get his love despite failure. Capitalization has been correctly utilized as every letter of the first word in a new line is in uppercase. It is useful as it groups the poems into sections to enhance readability. Personal pronouns are also capitalized for emphasis. Commas have been entirely used to call for a pause of breath as they coordinated the themes in the poem.
Browning talks about a woman who mentions about leaving him in the poem "Life in Love." The features of the phonological language level used in the poem include rhyme, assonance, and alliteration. Phonology has been used in the poem to reinforce and create an emotional response to the theme of transience. The grammatical features in the poem, particularly the short lines, enhance the reader's emotions to bring out feelings of loss that can emanate from love pursuit. The graphological level refers to the whole scheme of writing that includes punctuation as well as the paragraphing. It also involves spacing and the entire writing system with the inclusion of features like hyphens, full stop, dashes, capitalization, lower case letters, and italicization.
Cedars, S.R., & Joyce, M. (2013). "Robert Browning: Poems Study Guide." GradeSaver. https://www.gradesaver.com/robert-browning-poems
Browning, R. (2001). Life in Love. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.Simpson, J. (ed.). (2017). Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.).
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Essay Example on Robert Browning's Dramatic Monologues: The Noble Quest for Precision. (2023, May 23). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-example-on-robert-brownings-dramatic-monologues-the-noble-quest-for-precision
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