Robert Browning Essay, Research Paper
Robert Browning, one of the most gifted poets of the Victorian period, is celebrated particularly for
his dramatic soliloquies. Often these long verse forms trade with such issues as love, decease, and religion. Much of
his work is straight brooding of his life and of those issues that were of direct concern to him. One struggle
seen throughout Browning & # 8217 ; s poesy is one of spiritualty. His poesy forms a religious timeline ; it reveals his
religious influences and sentiments. It formed his ain Bible of beliefs which he possessed. Because
Browning & # 8217 ; s positions on spiritualty changed, his poesy besides gives penetration on the internal struggles within his
life. The paper will research Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s religious journey as is brooding in his poesy.
Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, near London, England on May 7, 1812. He was raised
by his male parent, besides Robert Browning, and by his deeply spiritual female parent, Sarah Anna Weideman-Browning.
His frequently indulgent parents gave him the freedom to research new literary and philosophical thoughts of the clip
period, yet he was besides instructed to believe the unexplained enigmas of the Christian religion ( Miller, 1953 ) .
His female parent, who had strong ties to the congregational church, took great clip to teach Robert in his
spiritual surveies. With this unfastened ambiance, nevertheless, Browning exhibited marks of neutrality in faith
during his early childhood. The town sermonizer, in fact, found it necessary to publically call on the carpet & # 8220 ; for
restlessness and inattention Master Robert Browning & # 8221 ; ( as cited in, Miller, 1953, p.9 ) . Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s
inclination toward incredulity was recorded early on.
Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s first divergence from his religion was at the age of 15 or 16. His primary
influences were the Flower household and the authorship of P.B Shelley. Browning frequently traveled to the Flower & # 8217 ; s
house to discourse music, poesy, and aethism ( Irvine & A ; Honan, 1974 ) . Eliza Flower, with whom Browning
was infatuated was an influence in Browning & # 8217 ; s aethism. She was one of the primary influences that turned
Browning off from the Christianity of his female parent. His other influence, the authorship of Shelley, a known
aethist, taught Browning to be an independent free mind. After reading Shelley & # 8217 ; s book, Queen Mab,
Browning became an aethist and a vegetarian ( DeVane & A ; Smalley, 1984 ) . He rejected his female parent & # 8217 ; s universe to
derive a sense of autonomy and independency ( Irvine & A ; Honan, 1974 ) . This faith alteration at such an early age
seemed to take to a continual religious incompatibility throughout his life. Browning had problem accepting
any religion or faith he chose to follow and frequently questioned his judgement in religion related determinations. Robert
Browning considered Shelley to be moral because he was & # 8220 ; true, simple hearted and brave & # 8221 ; ( cited in Payne,
1967, p.198 ) . He found him to besides be a adult male of spiritual head because Shelley was & # 8220 ; everyplace taking for
granted some of the capital tenet of Christianity, while most vehemently denying their historical
cellar & # 8221 ; ( cited in Payne, 1967, p.199 ) . Browning clearly possessed a great regard for Shelley which
followed him through much of his early poesy. Browning & # 8217 ; s life was & # 8220 ; basically affected & # 8221 ; ( Miller, 1953,
p.9 ) by the Shelley & # 8217 ; s composing. During his adolescence, Browning may hold recognized Shelley & # 8217 ; s, & # 8220 ; fearless
religious independency & # 8221 ; ( Miller, 1953, p.9 ) . He noticed a & # 8220 ; principal of behavior whereby to mensurate in the
old ages to come non merely the amount of his ain poetic accomplishment but the really nature of human unity
itself & # 8221 ; ( Miller, 1953, p.9 ) . Although there is no available poesy written before his first published work,
Pauline, his early aethism is still reflected in his early poesy.
Robert Browning eloped to Italy with Elizabeth Barret. Upon run intoing his highly spiritual
married woman and with her persuasion, Browning began to recognize that Shelley & # 8217 ; s poesy had led him to a life of self-
soaking up. Yet, & # 8220 ; Robert took a disbelieving attitude on the religious rappings, spurred on possibly by his married woman & # 8217 ; s
immediate will to believe & # 8221 ; ( Markus,1995, p.219 ) . Finally, though, Robert Browning made the determination
to return to his Christian religion, possibly due to his regard for his deeply spiritual female parent or to the
persuasion by his spiritually inclined married woman.
It is said that Elizabeth, Browning & # 8217 ; s married woman, believed that & # 8220 ; spiritualism offered an option to
melancholy: an confidence reenforcing religion & # 8221 ; ( Miller, 1953, p.192 ) . Browning, nevertheless was frequently disbelieving of
his married woman & # 8217 ; s spiritualism. Despite this, Pauline reveals a return to God, but besides displays an deathless fear
Pauline, Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s foremost published work, was published in 1832. Pauline was
unarguably representative of Browning & # 8217 ; s reacceptance of Christianity. Some critics believe that & # 8220 ; his
female parent & # 8217 ; s reaction to his rational rebellion was likely one of the major factors in Browning & # 8217 ; s return to
religion & # 8221 ; ( Williams,1970, p.19 ) . Others agree that the inflexible religious beliefs of his married woman may hold led him
down such a route ( Miller, 1953 ) ) . The exerpt in Pauline most clearly stand foring this is the decision
which is besides an supplication to Shelly. & # 8221 ; sun & # 8211 ; treader I believe in God and truth and love ; and as one merely
escaped from decease & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ;
Browning & # 8217 ; s contradictory attitude in Pauline proves that he is still lingering on the border of aethism.
Robert Browning does non praise Shelley & # 8217 ; s ideals in Pauline, but it is clear that his great regard for Shelley
did non dwindle with the authorship of Pauline. Browning & # 8217 ; s effort at returning to Christianity resulted in the
hero of Pauline speech production of an & # 8220 ; early loss of vernal idealism and sense of intent, of his rational
pride and the resentment and emptiness which it brought to him & # 8221 ; ( Williams, 1970, p.94 ) . Unfortunately, in
his supplication to Shelley as & # 8220 ; sun-treader & # 8221 ; , Browning & # 8217 ; s devotedness to him can non be missed.
One of Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s following great literary accomplishments was the publication of Paracelsus in
1835. Historically, Darwin had late published The Origin of Species, and the new scientific thoughts of
development caused many to revoke God, Jesus and Christian life. Robert Browning, nevertheless had the
opposite reaction. He took his cognition of a competitory universe and viewed it as a ground for hope and
ground to go on his battles. Browning saw this scientific revolution as a span connected God and
adult male ; and reply to the enigmas of life. The great support in Browning & # 8217 ; s religion is apparent in
Paracelsus. Browning meditates & # 8220 ; on the ability of God to reconstruct his worn out youth & # 8211 ; or, in other words, to
widen the capacity of his human nature & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( Williams,1970, p.21 ) . Robert Browning says in Paracelsus, & # 8221 ;
God! Thou art head! & # 8221 ; . He comes to the realisation that through God, everything exists, and besides through
God, the poetic endowment he posse
south southeasts was given. He reveals that, “if all poets, God of all time meant should salvage the
universe, and hence lent great gifts to, but who, proud, refused to make his work. & # 8221 ; God is said to hold & # 8220 ; lent & # 8221 ;
great gifts to those talented ; it is a connexion between God and the universe. By Paracelsus, Browning & # 8217 ; s
fear to Shelley is non existent.
The following measure in Browning & # 8217 ; s religious journey occurs about ten old ages subsequently when he begins to
develop a disfavor for the church. Around 1845, Browning found himself concentrating his choler on the church
as an establishment, particularly the Catholic Church. In 1845, Robert Browning wrote & # 8221 ; The Confessional & # 8221 ; , a
short verse form call on the carpeting the Catholic Church. Browning writes:
It is a prevarication & # 8211 ; their priests, their Catholic Pope,
Their Saints, their & # 8230 ; all they fear or hope
Are lies & # 8230 ; No portion in nothing they hope or fear!
No Eden with them, no snake pit! -and here
No Earth. ( 1845 )
This verse form appeared to hold spurned implicit in hatred and intuition toward the Christian establishment.
In 1855, Browning wrote Fra Lippo Lippi. In this narrative, Browning criticizes the fact that
Christian religion is excessively ideal for humanity ; he does non turn to whether God exists but whether Christian life
can truly be in a corrupt modern society ( Irvine & A ; Honan, 1974 ) . Here, Browning writes:
You & # 8217 ; ll non misidentify an idle word spoke in a miff by a hapless monastic, God
wot, savoring the air this spicy dark & # 8230 ; when ladies crowd to church at
summer solstice. And so I & # 8217 ; the forepart, of class a saint or two- & # 8230 ; And so all & # 8217 ; s
saved for me, and for the church, A reasonably image gained. ( 1855 )
Browning notices the falseness of the church departers and clearly satirizes the thought of unearned, expected
redemption. He finds it hard to follow such a message. He had strong belief and religion in the being of
God, but besides disdain in the establishment that followed him. In his continual effort to happen interior peace,
Robert Browning continued to confront struggles in his religious and spiritual hereafter.
In 1849, Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s female parent died. One twelvemonth subsequently he published two of his less-famous
verse forms, & # 8220 ; Christmas Eve & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; Easter Day & # 8221 ; . These verse forms, due to their ambiguity, were neither highly
popular, nor critically praised. The two voices in Easter Day, the more powerful of the two verse forms, are frequently
hard to separate. While one maintains that it is hard to take a Christian life, the other nags and
argues that it is easy. These associations are tied to the autumn of Adam and Eve and their willingness and
disposition toward immorality. The voice naming to the trouble of Christianity provinces that & # 8220 ; He who in all his
plants at a lower place adapted to the demands of adult male, Made love the footing of his program & # 8230 ; while adult male who was so fit
alternatively to detest as every twenty-four hours gave cogent evidence & # 8221 ; ( line 981 ) , and blames adult male entirely for his autumn. The other sees
Christian religion as the ultimate battle: & # 8221 ; With darkness, hunger labor, distress.. No easiness henceforth, as one
that & # 8217 ; s judged & # 8230 ; shut from Eden & # 8221 ; ( line 1000, 1030 ) .
The two voices represent the interior struggles of Robert Browning. While he blames himself for the
forsaking of the religion of his female parent thereby aching her, he sees Christianity as a womb-to-tomb battle in
hopes of something better which people have yet to explicate. It is hard to believe in disapprobation when
it can non be proved. Presumably, these verse forms represent an statement which Robert Browning had with
himself refering his guilt over the decease of his female parent, and the forsaking of her rules.
As Browning became older, decease became an of all time present danger. He was confronted with the
idea of snake pit disapprobation and a fright of the being of God. Rather than trying to happen secular
peace, Robert Browning turned his bosom and psyche toward the Church and all of its rules. He was able
to accept Christian tenet and believed in God as a portion of his life, instead than decease. As explained in
Browning concludes his long old ages of examination non in a theodicy, but in a
reassertion of his personal religion in God and the indestructibility of the psyche.
Not what God means in this huge existence, but what God means to him, Robert
Browning, and to all believing psyches, is the amount and substance of it all. ( p.69 )
Browning lived his life with the construct of a God nowadays ever in the universe. ( DeVane and
Smalley, 1984 ) . His religion was non a doctrine or faith, but instead involved intuition. Browning
discerned what God meant to him and what application it had on his life. His existent subject in his poesy was a
& # 8220 ; God in the spirit of the single & # 8221 ; ( Markus, 1995 p.221 ) . From his experiences, as expressed by professor
Royce, Browning & # 8220 ; met, in his ain manner, the jobs set before him non merely by tradition, the Christian
construct of God & # 8221 ; ( cited in Payne,1967, p. 200 ) .
Robert Browning & # 8217 ; s religious journey was non one of neutrality but one of great speculation and
idea. Browning appeared to take clip contemplating his religious beliefs. In his poesy, there is
grounds of God and Christianity in both positive and negative facets. Both facets helped Browning to
do religion determinations and come to a decision that could go forth him in peace. Robert Browning died
December 12, 1889. He faced decease with echt cognition of his beliefs reasoning a long and
conflictory survey of his religion through the poesy he wrote. The undermentioned verse form is an accurate look of
the religious decision that Browning eventually came to and freely accepted toward the terminal of his life.
& # 8220 ; Prospice & # 8221 ;
Fear decease? & # 8211 ; to experience the fog in my pharynx,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am approaching the topographic point,
The power of the dark, the imperativeness of the storm,
The station of the enemy ;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a seeable signifier,
Yet the strong adult male must travel:
For the journey is done and acme attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a conflict & # 8217 ; s to contend ere the guerdon be gained,
The wages of it all.
I was of all time a combatant, so & # 8211 ; one battle more,
The best and the last!
I would detest that decease bandaged my eyes, and forbore
And offer me creep yesteryear.
No! allow me savor the whole of it, menu like my equals
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a infinitesimal wage glad life & # 8217 ; s arreaes
Of hurting, darkness, and old,
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute & # 8217 ; s at terminal,
And the component & # 8217 ; s fury, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall intermix,
Shall alteration, shall go foremost a piece out of hurting,
Then a visible radiation, so thy chest,
O thou psyche of my psyche! I shall clasp thee once more,
And with God be the remainder!