“What are the ways in which Browning tells the poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin? ” The Pied Piper of Hamelin is set in medieval Germany, in a small town, Hamelin. The town is plagued by rats when a stranger, the Pied Piper, comes to town and offers to get rid of them if they Mayor will pay him. He plays bewitching music on his pipe which causes the rats to follow him. He leads the rats to the river and they drown. The Mayor breaks his promise and refuses to pay the Piper and the Piper responds by taking away the children of Hamelin.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin is one of Browning’s longest poems ever written, there’s a lot to analyse when picking out ways in which Browning tells the poem. Nevertheless, he articulates underlying meanings in each stanza, skilfully allowing us to ponder upon his many techniques and ways of writing.
Browning cleverly uses many different writing styles, and as an audience we can brilliantly conceive his themes and meanings of the poem.
In The Pied Piper of Hamelin, the narrative style in third person and its almost as if someone else is telling the story and this is how Browning’s poem could be re-told to children so that they learn a lesson from it, and this is where it began to evolve into a child’s book/play. The way he told this poem is so crucial because it became one of the most important and controversial poems of the 1840’s. Also, The Pied Piper of Hamelin is long and it allows the audience to discover underlying morals and themes which Browning portrays through his poem.
This poem specifically has a meaning to it. The character use of the Pied Piper was cleverly structured and for a society where a person like that was taken seriously, it was a very controversial poem because there was a huge conflict as to whether the Pied Piper was right or wrong regarding his actions. Was it okay to take those innocent children simply because he didn’t get paid? Or is it because he was teaching the Mayor of Hamelin a lesson?
Also Browning created an unusual rhyme scheme, as it’s not of a consistent pattern so when the words rhyme from different lines of the stanza, it allows the poem to flow, and the reader becomes enticed with the language and structure use. The structure of The Pied Piper varies, because the poem itself is very long the stanzas and rhyme scheme keep it going, it’s not ABAB or AABB, yet still when the words from different lines of the stanza rhyme the poem flows. Also, the amount of lines in each stanza hugely varies.
When describing Hamelin as a city the lines of each stanza were kept brief and short, whereas in stanza 14, where the Piper plays his flute and takes the children, is the peak of the poem and the stanza is much more longer, and this is because of the use of enjambment. The way Browning uses enjambment in a poem compels you to read further and further and the mode of the poem changes as you begin to hear yourself reading the poem with a slight rush as the end of the point or sentence carries on to the next line of the stanza, it almost expresses the peak of the drama in the poem.
In Victorian England there were several social qualities such as repressed sexuality, strict morality, imperialism and human inventiveness. Browning underlies these themes in his poems, he has an underlying moral to his poem and the Piper is a strong character who disciplines and teaches Hamelin, he’s the complex character who has the potential to be interpreted in many different ways. Browning creates this character in such a way because it’s through the way he is built that these morals are conceived.
The description given by the narrator could be depicted, for example as a jolly performer, or an evil clown. Also, his character is so multifaceted that there is no end to the possibilities of how the character can be perceived. These depictions are further developed through the drowning of the rats, and conversely, the kidnapping of the town’s children. He can use his powers to manipulate others which contributes to his ambivalent nature.
Unlike other poets, Browning fills his poetry with images of ugliness, violence and the bizarre, but the grotesque images are shown right at the beginning, with the violence and explicit behaviour of the rats, and it already introduced us to a main Browning theme. Browning’s use of the grotesque links him to novelist Charles Dickens, who filled his fiction with people from all status’ of society including the aristocracy and the very poor.
Like Dickens, Browning created characters who are capable of great evil and this is shown through the Piper. Overall I believe that the language use and poetic techniques of The Pied Piper of Hamelin are skilfully created by Browning, not only for poetry entertainment but as a guideline moral story for a Victorian society. Browning creates such an illustrious poem that his audience continue to remember and analyse it in depth after generations and even a changed society.