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A Blot in the 'Scutcheon   By: (1812-1889)

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In A Blot in the 'Scutcheon, Robert Browning showcases his remarkable storytelling abilities and lyrical prowess, crafting a dramatic and poignant play that explores themes of love, honor, and the consequences of unexpressed emotions.

Set in a distinguished but dysfunctional aristocratic family, the play delves into the destructive power of societal expectations and the clash between personal desires and societal obligations. The central story revolves around the passionate yet forbidden love between Mildred Tresham and her cousin, Guendolen. With his masterful use of language and poetic imagery, Browning skillfully portrays the intense emotions and internal struggles faced by the two protagonists.

Browning's characters are intricately developed, each harboring their own secrets, motivations, and flaws. Mildred's character, in particular, is marvelously fleshed out, as she grapples with her forbidden love and the conflicting demands of familial duty and personal happiness. Her emotional journey is tumultuous and thought-provoking, leaving readers contemplating the universal dilemma of following one's heart or sacrificing personal happiness for the sake of societal expectations.

Moreover, Browning expertly employs dramatic irony to heighten the tension and create an atmosphere of impending tragedy throughout the play. As the audience watches the characters potentially falling into ruin, knowing the secret truths hidden from them, a sense of inevitability unfolds, making it difficult to tear one's eyes away from the unfolding disaster.

The play's dialogues are captivating and reveal the complexity and depth of each character. Browning's skilful use of language and mastery of verse creates an immersive experience for readers, drawing them into the world of 19th-century aristocracy with its intricate social dynamics, pride, and honor.

A Blot in the 'Scutcheon is replete with powerful and memorable scenes that capture the essence of human emotions and explore the tragic consequences of repressed desires. It is an emotionally intense and thought-provoking play that delves into the darkest corners of the human psyche, reminding readers of the importance of genuine communication and the perils of suppressed feelings.

In conclusion, Robert Browning's A Blot in the 'Scutcheon is a brilliant and profound exploration of love, duty, and honor. With his lyrical poetry, well-developed characters, and captivating storyline, Browning showcases his mastery as a playwright and delivers a compelling tale that resonates with readers long after they turn the final page.

First Page:


By Robert Browning

Transcriber's comments on the preparation of this e text:

Closing brackets i.e. "]" have been added to some of the stage directions.

Leading blanks are reproduced from the printed text. Eg.:

GUENDOLEN. Where are you taking me? TRESHAM. He fell just here.


ROBERT BROWNING stands, in respect to his origin and his career, in marked contrast to the two aristocratic poets beside whose dramas his "Blot in the 'Scutcheon" is here printed. His father was a bank clerk and a dissenter at a time when dissent meant exclusion from Society; the poet went neither to one of the great public schools nor to Oxford or Cambridge; and no breath of scandal touched his name. Born in London in 1812, he was educated largely by private tutors, and spent two years at London University, but the influence of his father, a man of wide reading and cultivated tastes, was probably the most important element in his early training. He drew well, was something of a musician, and wrote verses from an early age, though it was the accidental reading of a volume of Shelley which first kindled his real inspiration. This indebtedness is beautifully acknowledged in his first published poem, "Pauline" (1833)... Continue reading book >>

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