Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues are characterized by the following “rules”:

  • the poem has a single speaker, not the author, who utters the entire poem in a specific situation at a critical moment
  • the poem’s speaker addresses an auditor who never speaks but is manifestly present
  • the intent of the poem is to reveal the speaker’s underlying motivation, temperament, and character

Answer the following questions for each of the two poems. Support your responses with at least one piece of textual evidence for each question.

1. Who is the speaker of the poem and what are the specifics of his setting? What is the “critical moment” that opens the poem?

2. Who is the auditor of the poem and what is his relationship to the speaker?

3. What does the speaker reveal about his “motivation, temperament, and character” over the course of the poem?