‘The Patriot’ is one of the many poems English A level will have to study. Like with many of Browning’s poems, this is a dramatic monologue being that the character is talking to himself in a ‘dramatic’ way. The poem tells the story of somebody’s execution in front of the public: for which he is being misunderstood and should not be killed. It relates very much to the fall of leaders who, like the patriot, are misunderstood and killed because of this. Here is an analysis of Robert Browning’s poem, ‘The Patriot’ which features a step-by-step guide to each stanza.
You might find reading my essay, How Does Browning Tell the Story in The Patriot? helpful too.
The analysis starts in the very title, ‘The Patriot’. A patriot is someone who fights/works for their country. They love their country and will do anything for their country too.
‘The Patriot’ Analysis
The first stanza is used to set the scene of the poem creating contrasting setting. It starts with, ‘It was roses, roses, all the way’ which are known for being beautiful and a theme of love. However, the stanza describes how the ‘house-roofs seemed to heave and sway’ which suggest the setting is cramped with houses. This is our first signs of the poem being based in a town where people are living in poverty. This was common in the Victorian times which introduces a time to this poem too unlike alot of Auden’s poems such as O What Is That Sound.
The second stanza hasn’t got much analysis from my part (sorry, I’m an A level student myself and using my notes on the poem to write this article!). However, the third stanza does. There is reference to a old tale of Icarus on the first line, ‘it was I who leaped at the sun’. Icarus attempted to fly by sticking feathers to his arm with wax. However, the closer he flew to the sun, the more the wax melted until he fell from the sky. Browning uses this story to introduce an ideology to not be too ambitious which unfortunately the patriot was. Throughout the whole of stanza, the patriot is reflecting and thinking . He states, ‘Nought man could do, have I left undone’. He feels he done everything he could have possibly done. We gather he also has power, ‘what I reap’ illustrating how he has collected his rewards in from the work he has done.