By Warwick E. Slinn
This publication goals to give an explanation for what Browning intended via 'action in character.' Slinn sees Browning as a mental dramatist utilizing the poetic style. His obstacle is with dramatic monologue, which just about perpetually makes a speciality of conflicts of id. Browning's characters, in accordance with Slinn, needs to stroll a tightrope among the distracting lives of others which threaten to fragment the individual's adventure at the one hand, and regulated solipsism at the different.
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Extra resources for Browning and the Fictions of Identity
He now loses the initiative in the situation and says nothing, except to deny again the Intendant's claim: 'I see through the trick, caitiff! ' Even after Pippa's song he is only marginally articulate. Making no direct comment on the lyric, he springs up at the line 'Suddenly God took me', which is a reminder of the short time he has to live, but there is still nothing to indicate that he believes Maffeo's story about Pippa. Indeed, everything he says before the song shows his reluctance to believe it, 12 and his command to 'Gag this villain' after the song suggests an impulse to silence Maffeo before he hears any more.
It is a mistake, I believe, to regard Pippa's view or the philosophy of her New year's hymn as representative of Browning's attitude in this work. In context the theme of Pippa's hymn, that all men are God's puppets, is ironic, since the play then presents the appearance offree egos in a deterministic universe- a point frequently missed by those who read the hymn as Browning's concluding message. The latter, more theologically positive view is given its most sophisticated defence by Eleanor (Glen) Cook, who concludes that the theme of the narrative is 'the irony of God's ways when regarded from man's point ofview'.
I I). He represents himself as God's child, predetermined as such before the heavens were made, and he basks in God's love: 'thought and word and deed/All go to swell his love for me,/Me .. ' (ll. 26-8). The repetition of the personal pronoun emphasises the importance of this realisation of self as an object of God's love, but not satisfied with this he claims that he is even necessary to God's love, not just its object but its 'content'. He was made, he says, because that love had need Of something irreversibly Pledged solely its content to be.
Browning and the Fictions of Identity by Warwick E. Slinn