Robert Browning's "Porphyria's Lover" is a clear example of Romantic poetry; a genre of poetry which became popular in the nineteenth century. "Porphyria's Lover" is an interesting poem which tells of a woman, Porphyria, who one can assume has sneaked out of her house to be with her lover. One gathers that her lover, so wanting to preserve their moment together, kills her in an almost gentle manner. During a wild storm at night, the speaker sits protected and out of harm's way in a warm cottage. The snug cottage, a beautiful carefree girl, and a roaring fire all depict rural simplicity. However, when Porphyria "Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl", the poem is suddenly concerned with the modern world. She then begins to embrace her lover and they engage in sexual activity. The tone of the poem in comparison to the opposing content plays a very significant role in the poem. Browning uses literary devices and symbols, amongst other means, to emphasize the meaning of the poem. .
The tone of the poem and the contents thereof are somewhat contradictory. The tone is very calm, composed, and mellow. However the action that is taking place in the poem is an act of evil, it is cruel and harsh, therefore stands in opposition to the tone. Browning employs such subtle and delicate language in order to make Porphyria's death seem utterly beautiful. Essentially, the lover seeks to stop time by killing her so that he can preserve the "Moment she was [his]". Porphyria's lover suggests that the girl's death was meant to immortalize her, as well as her feelings for him, rather than to "kill her." The tone used to describe the killing of Porphyria is so, in order to create an intensely strange feeling. .
Throughout the poem the speaker's mental state is gradually revealed. This is, for the most part, due to certain speech patterns. Basically, the whole poem is a dramatic monologue. Browning employs natural speech to enhance the tone, as well as a highly patterned verse.