First Published 1842, in Dramatic Lyrics.

If Hamlet is filled with melancholy, and Macbeth with self-doubt, then the speaker of this soliloquy is brimming rage. The monologue of a fictional Spanish monk tells us about an exaggerated hatred for fellow monk, Brother Lawrence.

A Comical comparison - how do you think the voice in the song compares with the voice of the Monk?
Sandra Dee - Grease

- Speaker reveals his true thoughts about another (seemingly harmless) Monk
- Dramatic Irony throughout as these are his inner-thoughts, yet they are broadcast to a wide audience.
- There are more signs of moral hypocrisy as the reader is left to question the nature of a supposedly religious monk (he swears allegiance to the devil, he destroys flowers and he owns a pornographic novel)
- The structure turns a seemingly random rant into a list of complaints that suggests prior planning and careful thought; the hatred has been there for a long time and it is portrayed in an almost comical manner.
- Symmetry of the animalistic language at the opening and close of the poem.
Points for Consideration
- Use of exclamation mark to emphasise anger and question mark to highlight sarcasm.
- The tone is extremely hostile and hyperbolic.
- In stanza 4 the speaker reveals that he thinks Brother Lawrence has been watching women bathe, yet in doing so reveals that it is himself who has been watching them. What does this say about the integrity of the narrator? Can we trust a word that he says?
- Research Faust and compare him to what happens in stanza 8.
- The monk quotes passages from scripture incorrectly and fails in his correct use of Latin – he is clearly not what he appears on the surface. Consider ‘Appearance vs Reality’ as a theme in this poem (and others)
- This poem is one of the most dramatic (of his monologues); what contextual points can we draw from his depiction of a religious figure?
Poems for Comparison
- Bishop (depiction of a religious figure, tone comparison, appearance vs reality)
- Pictor (depiction of a figure, tone comparison)
- Grammarian’s funeral (depiction of an educated figure)