‘Old Gandolf Envied Me, so Fair She Was’ How Is Religion Presented in ‘a Bishop Orders His Tomb at St Praxed’s Church’? in Your Answer, Explore the Effects of Language, Imagery and Verse Form, and Consider How This Poem

Browning presents religion in The Bishop Orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church as a corrupt subject. Through the persona Browning creates, we are introduced to a Bishop on his deathbed who, similarly to Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, the persona’s character is jealous and extremely critical of another religious figurehead.
Despite Browning’s lack of religious involvement, through many of his poems we can see that he often creates characters that despite their religious title; their personality is one that juxtaposes their role. This is present within The Bishop Orders his Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church where a supposedly devout member of the church is jealous. In saying that he has ‘earned the prize’ Browning illustrates the characters priorities and the fact that he sees it as a competition reveals his corrupt nature; talking about how he deserves to be superior to Gandolf by ordering his ‘nephews’ to ensure all of his wishes of how to decorate his tomb are carried out we know that this is an incorrect way for a religious figurehead to talk about his death as materialism should not be an important factor.
The rationalisation of the Bishop is almost delusional. There is no particular structure in how Browning has written the poem. As the poem is all the Bishop’s speech, Browning has written it almost as the persona’s stream of consciousness; this gives the impression of a lack of time and therefore sense of urgency in how the Bishop talks. The dramatic irony of how worried the Bishop is about how he is viewed after his death, his relationship with an unknown woman and even Gandolf rather than the certainty of his death is a representation of how Browning view religion.   In having the persona so desperately worried about ensuring that the people present during the poem are aware of how ‘Old Gandolf cozened [him]’ and ‘envied [him]’ Browning poses the question to the reader of how relevant all of his wishes ultimately are. Having death as a main subject...