PATRIOT INTO TRAITOR – Critical Appreciation of the Poem & Exercises

PATRIOT INTO TRAITOR – (Robert Browning)

What does Robert Browning want to say in this poem?

This poem gives us the picture of a political leader who suffers a downfall in his career quite dramatically. The frustration of the political leader has been described in a graphic and realistic manner.

The poet tells us about the reaction of the people that the common uneducated people have poor and immature sense of judgment and cannot judge justly the right from wrong. The people welcome the political leader with great enthusiasm. But due to some sudden stroke of luck or political crisis in country, they discredit his deeds. He is labeled as a traitor and his deeds are judged as misdeeds. This shows that the political leaders become a victim of the judgment of the common masses. The poem tells us many things about the immature and shaky judgment of common people. The uneducated common people are passionate and partial in thinking.

The poem is also a criticism on the power-worship. This poem is a good example of unreliability of Time and public fame. Circumstances of life are always beyond the control of man. They take unexpected turn and may devastate all his enviable achievements. All these ideas have been illustrated through a political leader. As long as he is in power every one supports and loves him. He is respected and loved. But when he is out of power, all his supporters leave him. The political leader is welcomed with great love and enthusiasm as he steps into power. When he is taken to the gallows, he is left alone and is deserted by every one.

Browning’s poetry is full of hope and optimism. The most important feature of Browning’s poetry is the optimistic attitude of life. Browning tries to console the people by pointing out that if they get the rewards of their efforts in this world they will get nothing from God in the next world. He wants to assert man’s faith in God. The heroes of his poetry do not lose hear in the face of hardships and trials. His poetry advises us to face the hardships of life courageously in every odd situation. The condemned leader in this poem tries to console oneself by thinking that he will get his true reward in the next world. God is the best judge of his actions and true intentions, and will reward him justly and suitable. Therefore, he is far better than those people who die after receiving full reward of their wordy deeds in this life. They will have nothing to demand from God on the Day of Judgment. As compared with them, he can hope to benefit largely in the life hereafter. So Browining’s poetry gives us hope and courage to face life.

The political leader in the poem is humiliated and disgraced in the end. He is going to be stoned at. But he still has faith in the reward of God. He thinks that people have not rightly judged his good deeds. They are sadly mistaken at it. But he hopes hat God will reward him for his service to the public in the world hereafter. He accepts the gallows with the power of conviction and faith.


What is dramatic monologue? Discuss this poem as a dramatic monologue.

In a dramatic monologue on character speaks, while there are other characters on the scene. This poem is also a dramatic monologue. The unfortunate political leader is made to tell his story of rise and fall. He continues on speaking to some imaginary and silent listener. There is no one on the stage to interrupt him or answer his queries.


1. Do you think that while reading this poem you are reading the political history of your country? Write in 100 words.
2. How can the democratic institutes be made strong? Write your own assessment in 100 words.
3. Do you think that political leader is corrupt or otherwise? How? 120 words.

Quotations and references for this poem

1) “Prosperity gains friends, adversity tries them.”
2) “They are never alone that are accompanied by noble thoughts”. (Sir Philip Sydney)
3) “People hates as they love unreasonably”.
4) He makes no friends never made a foe.
5) Your character cannot be essentially injured, except by your acts; and if any one speaks ill of you, let your life be such that none will believer him.

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