Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




In defining Browning's The Ring and the Book as having some dialectic patterns , specifically in regards to the Pompilia vs. Guido dichotomy, many critics see at least three sections where the thesis-antithesis-synthesis theory works. The first is in Books II, III, and IV where Tertium Quid, while not reliable, is at least more objective than the jealous and belligerent Half-Rome or the sentimental and melodramatic Other Half-Rome. The second instance, involving three of the four main characters, consists of Count Guido's egotistical and pretentious thesis, Caponsacchi's emotion-charged antithesis, and Pompilia's simple, saint-like synthesis. The third comprises the two lawyers, one for each side, whose different views of the case and of the law itself are answered by the Pope's wise judgement of Guido and by his stringent assessment of the law, ecclesiastical as well as civil.