"Altogether such a one as thyself”: Art and Religion in Robert Browning’s Dramatic Monologues
"Altogether such a one as thyself”: Art and Religion in Robert Browning’s Dramatic Monologues

Author(s): Fabian Ivanovici
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature
Published by: Universitatea Hyperion
Keywords: dramatic monologue; Shakespeare; religion; colonialism; intertextuality;

Summary/Abstract: The present paper offers a comparative analysis of Robert Browning’s poems “Fra Lippo Lippi” and “Caliban upon Setebos,” wherein the main point of interest is the interplay between religion and art. I will investigate how religion is depicted and how it influences the artistic viewpoints espoused by the eponymous characters, emphasizing the role these two concepts play in shaping the speakers’ self-presentation and sense of identity. In the case of “Caliban upon Setebos,” I will also delve into Browning’s source of inspiration, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, so as to understand how Browning’s own character can be likened to, or contrasted with, the Renaissance playwright’s. Whereas Lippi the monk justifies his own penchant for naturalistic art through religion, Caliban takes to more rudimentary forms of art to assuage the fury of an unjust and wrathful deity. However, what seems to drive their definitions and redefinitions of artistic and religious discourse is an apparent lack of agency, which spurs them into rebelling against the limitations set upon them by external forces.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 7
  • Page Range: 1-12
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English