The Who2 Blog

Wait, Did Robert Browning Murder Elizabeth Barrett Browning?

No, probably not.

Noting that Robert was in the habit of administering Elizabeth’s medicines himself, his accusers claim that towards the end of her life he increased the daily dosage of laudanum to a fatal level… And it is true that towards the end of her life, her English doctor did prescribe stronger medication to alleviate Elizabeth’s symptoms of suffocation, irregular heart action and severe coughing fits.

But why would Robert want to kill the woman he loved?

Juicy rumors always come out during the deathquicentennial, don’t you know.

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Comments ( 3 )

  • Even today, when someone in the last stages of life in hospice care, the caregivers are instructed to give low doses of morphine to assist them with pain, and breathing. It’s a compassionate measure, and perhaps unwittingly by the person caring for their loved one, they assist in helping them cross the bridge. He might not have fully understood that it might have sped up the process. He might have administered the drug out of compassion to free her of the pain.

    • Yes, that certainly sounds possible. Such an act would still be “murder” technically and legally, but might have been an act of compassion in that particular case. They had quite a love story.

      • Not if his intent wasn’t to kill her. The drug might kill, but the intent might not have been there.

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