Discuss Browning’s optimistic philosophy towards life as revealed in his poem “The Last Ride Together”. ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Discuss Browning’s optimistic philosophy towards life as revealed in his poem “The Last Ride Together”.

Discuss Browning’s optimistic philosophy towards life as revealed in his poem “The Last Ride Together”.

“I find earth not grey but rosy/Heaven not grim but fair of hue.”
Robert Browning, a cherished poet of the Victorian era, has many of his poems filled with unbridled optimism. He is an uncompromising foe of scientific materialism as Hudson states

Victorian age is a watershed age in English literature. As there were the influences of Classicism, Italian and British Renaissance, Individualism, Socialism, Utilitarianism, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Modernism, Materialism and Skepticism, therefore there was a lot of confusion and conflict in this age – conflict between art and life, art and morality, content and form, man and woman, body and soul etc.

 “The Last Ride Together” is an important document of Browning’s optimistic philosophy of life. Though it is a poem of despair in love, the philosophy of life expressed in the poem is that of optimism and hope. The lover having failed neither complains nor grumbles, but gather manliness and courage. “He weaves the experience”, says W. T. Young, “into the fabric of character, and imbues its resignation with new thought and resolves for new ventures.” Failure does not daunt the lover, for he knows that none gets complete success in life. No man – no matter whether he is a statesman, or a soldier, or a poet, or a musician or a sculptor – succeeds in achieving what he strives for:
“Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast.”

According to Browning the evils of life – failures, frustrations, disappointments etc are necessary for the perfection and purification of man. Failures strengthen the mind and thereby help in his spiritual development. The rejected lover console himself in a bold and daring manner, and his words breathe an atmosphere of optimism:
“Fail I alone in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?”

The wonderful example of Browning’s psychological insight into the lover’s mind is to be found in the line – “Who knows but the world may end tonight?.” Every lover who has been jilted by his ladylove wishes that the world should be destroyed by some calamity, so that he may be spared the pangs of separation.  

A man cannot translate all his thoughts into action because of his bodily limitations:
“What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshy screen?”

Browning is optimistic towards failure. To him some of the desire must be left unfulfilled on the earth so that they can be accomplished in the afterlife. So he is ready to face the death:
“Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.”

Browning’s optimism is based on immortality of soul. In “The Last Ride Together” the speaker perceives that, through their death his and his beloved’s souls will enter into eternity and their ride will be continuing eternally:
“The instant made eternity
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, forever ride?”

Love plays an important role in Browning. It is love which harmonizes all living beings. In “Evelyn Hope”, the lover does not despair as he derives consolation from the optimistic faith that God “creates the love to reward the love” . True love is sure to be rewarded in the life after death, if not in this life.

The poem reveals Browning’s humanism as he reflects life is superior to art. A famous sculptor may carve, after his 20 years ceaseless labour, a wonderful statue of Venus; but men care more for a rustic girl of flesh and blood, who tucks up her cloths and crosses the stream.

To conclude, Browning is a strong voice against Victorian skepticism and pessimism.  “He seeks optimism in any situation of life, preaches the universality of soul, advocates God and encourages people to be optimistic.”


Follow Me in Social Media

Get Free Updates


A Doll's House (1) A Renouncing of Love (1) Absurd Drama (2) African English Literature (2) Agyeya (1) Alexander Pope (7) American Literature (26) Amitav Ghosh (3) Analyses (22) Anglo-Saxon Period (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Arthur Miller (5) Australian Literature (2) Beowulf (3) Bertrand Russell (2) Bible (1) Biographies (12) Book Review (2) British Literature (106) Broad Notes (94) Character Analysis (2) Charles Dickens (1) Charles Lamb (2) Charlotte Bronte (2) Chetan Bhagat (2) Chinua Achebe (1) Christopher Marlowe (2) Classical Literature (2) Composition (4) Creative Writing (5) D. H. Lawrence (1) Daniel Defoe (1) Diaspora (4) Drama (1) Dream Children: A Reverie (1) E-book Download (12) Edmund Spenser (1) Edward Fitzgerald (1) Edward II (3) Elizabethan Era (2) English Language (15) English Literature (9) English Literature Quiz (8) Escapism (1) Essay (12) Essays (12) Eugene O'Neill (7) Explanations (3) Feminism (3) Francis Bacon (4) Frankenstein (4) Free E-book Download (5) Free PDF Download (4) Genre (1) Geoffrey Chaucer (1) George Eliot (4) George Herbert (1) George Orwell (1) Girish Karnad (1) Hard Times (1) Heart of Darkness (1) Henrik Ibsen (1) Henry Vaughan (2) Historical Novel (6) History of English Literature (22) Indian Drama (2) Indian English Poetry (1) Indian Fiction (3) Indian Writing in English (33) Indo-Anglican Literature (32) Interesting Facts (9) Interpreter of Maladies (2) Jane Austen (2) Jane Eyre (2) Jayanta Mahapatra (2) Jhumpa Lahiri (3) John Donne (5) John Dryden (1) John Keats (4) Joseph Addison (1) Joseph Conrad (1) Keki N. Daruwalla (1) Kenilworth (3) Kim (1) Knowledge and Wisdom (1) Leo Tolstoy (1) Linguistics (2) Literary Criticism (5) Literary Essay (9) Literary Facts (1) Literary MCQ (4) Literary Photo Album (1) Literary Terms (14) Literary Trends (1) Literary Types (7) Lord of the Flies (1) Lyric (1) M. K. Anand (2) Mac Flecknoe (1) Macbeth (7) Mahadevi Verma (2) Man Eater of Malgudi (2) Mark Twain (1) Mary Shelley (4) Mathew Arnold (1) Midnight's Children (1) Modern Poetry (3) Modernism (1) Motivational Short Story (21) My Penning (1) Nayantara Sahgal (1) Notes (25) Novel (60) Novels (5) O' Henry (1) Ode to a Nightingale (1) Ode to the West Wind (1) Oedipus Rex. Oedipus the King (2) Of Friendship (1) On Fame (1) Online Quiz (8) Othello (1) P B Shelley (1) P. B. Shelley (1) Paulo Coelho (2) Philological Notes (10) Phonetics (3) Picaresque Novel (5) Plays (41) Poetry (52) Popular Literature (1) Post Colonial Literature (1) Post Colonialism (1) Pride and Prejudice (2) Prosody (3) Quiz (6) Quotations (6) R. K. Narayan (2) Rabindranath Tagore (2) Random Quiz (6) Rape of the Lock (5) Realistic Fiction (1) Restoration Era (2) Rhetoric (2) Robert Browning (1) Robinson Crusoe (1) Romantic Poetry (2) Romanticism (2) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Salman Rushdie (2) Samuel Beckett (3) Sarojini Naidu (1) Seven Ages of Man (1) Shakespearean Influence (2) Shakespearean Plays (11) Shakespearean Sonnets (4) Sheridan (4) Short Notes (10) Short Stories (9) Soliloquy (1) Songs of Innocence (1) Sons and Lovers (1) Sophocles (1) Sri Aurobindo (1) Substance Writing (1) Summary (8) Sylvia Plath (1) T. S. Eliot (2) Texts (10) The Adventure of Tom Sawyer (1) The Alchemist (1) The Crucible (3) The Emperor Jones (7) The Golden Light (2) The Guide (1) The Mill on the Floss (4) The Namesake (1) The Pulley (2) The Rivals (5) The Shadow Lines (3) The Sunne Rising (5) The Superannuated Man (1) The Town Week (1) The White Tiger (1) The Winter's Tale (2) Things Fall Apart (1) Thomas Hardy (2) Thomas Wyatt (1) Toni Morrison (6) Tragedy (3) Tughlaq (1) Untouchable (2) Waiting for Godot (2) Walter Scott (3) Way of the World (1) William Blake (2) William Golding (1) William Shakespeare (14) William Wordsworth (3) Word Notes & Annotations (1) Word Notes & Anotations (2)