Question: Discuss briefly Browning’s optimism.


Robert Browning (1812-1889) is the master of dramatic monologue. ”The Patriot” (1852) is a popular dramatic monologue because it expresses the life of a patriot as a political leader who was honored and at the same time dishonored by the people. The speaker of the poem is a patriot. By the character’s last comment, Browning expresses his optimism.

Browning’s optimism

First two stanzas discuss the reception of the patriot. Stanza no. 3,4,5 discuss the patriot’s present sufferings. And the final stanza discusses the patriot’s optimism.

The first two stanzas of the poem give an account of the grand reception that the patriot received one year ago. A year ago, the patriot was given a grand welcome on his arrival to the town. All the road was filled with roses and myrtle. In the poet’s tongue:

”It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad: ”

The church-spires were decorated with bright flags. The whole atmosphere resounded with the sound of bells rung in his honor. The house-walls shook with the cries and thrills of the crowd. Even, people were ready to catch the sun for him.

More Notes of Poetry

But everything has changed in the present time because of his ‘misdeed’. Even, people are throwing stones at him and his forehead is bleeding.

Finally, the poem ends with a note of hope. Death is not the end of everything. The patriot hopes that since he did not receive his reward in the world, he will be rewarded by God. And he is safe for that. The poet says in the following manner:

”…..people have dropped down dead.

“Paid by the world, ……..

“Me?”—God might question; now instead,

‘Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.”


Thus, the poem also becomes an expression of Browning’s optimistic philosophy of life.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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