BA English Notes: Patriot into Traitor, Dramatic Monologue

                                                Dramatic Monologue of the poem Patriot into Traitor:

Robert browning earned fame by establishing the dramatic monologue as a literary form though he did not invent it, he made it especially his own. It is a speech by a person at a critical moment In his life and is addressed to silent audience whose identity is not betrayed. The speaker reviews his situation and tries to justify his action to the silent listener. Like a dialogue in a play, a monologue develop the plot, reveals the tragic flaws of the protagonist (leading role), shows the internal conflict or the journey from prosperity to adversity and presents the ultimate end under the principle of probability. It is different from soliloquy (solitary) for it is longer and thus provides a failure scope for the character portrayal (picture) and analysis of motives and emotions. A soliloquy is a private debate, a dialogue of mind with itself and shows only the mind of the character.

The poem ‘Patriot into Traitor’ is a superb dramatic monologue for it presents the tragic drama of the turning of a beloved hero into a condemned traitor. The fallen leader talks about his downfall. He compares the day of his disgrace with that of his triumph when his path was strewn (scattered) with flowers. People flocked there to greet his in a way that the roofs heaved under them. Myriad flags incendiary colours were there to welcome him. His tragic flaw (fault) was that he leaped at the sun. So within the passage of just one year everything has changed. His hands are tied up at his back. The rope cuts his wrists and his brow bleeds or he has been hit with stones. With three exceptions of few palsied persons there is no one to see him. He is being pulled to the gallows, but he consoles himself that he will be rewarded positively in the court of God.

Browning succeeds in vividly portraying the rise and fall of the patriot through a dramatic description of the events. Thus the poem becomes a prefect dramatic monologue that presents the spectacle (sight), the development of the plot and ultimate end.

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