A Comparative Study of Women’s Presence in the Poetry of Jalál al-Din Rûmi and Robert Browning

Esmail Zare Behtash

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to examine the presence of women in connection to men in the poetry of two great poets: one from the medieval times of the East and the other from the Victorian period of England. Rumi, the greatest Persian mystical poet, and Browning a preacher in the guise of a poet who used poetry to dispel the doubts and fears of his age. Mysticism laid stress on love for God along with piety and purity seeking to gain oneness with Him. The running message in what Browning wrote was the fact that human life was but a battleground for the progress or development of the soul to attain to God. Both of these poets are the product of their social crises. Rumi lives in the time of the invasions of the Mongols, while Browning lives in a time when the convictions are attacked from every corner. For Browning love is the ultimate experience in life as a vehicle for transcendence, while for Rumi, from love bitterness becomes sweet, from love copper becomes gold. Love is crystallized in the existence of women. For Rumi, woman is the matrix of creation; she is not just the earthly beloved, she is creative not created. Yet, in his “the King and the Handmaid”, the female character is objectified and possessed, representing the carnal self. Browning in his “Porphyria’s Lover” similarly objectifies and possesses his beloved by strangling her with her own yellow hair and thus transmutes divine love into capricious love, hate, and injustice. These poets praise women highly but they both stereotype woman as an object worthy of possession.

DOI: 10.32996/ijllt.2019.2.3.13 
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