Both Browning and Tennyson quite possibly saw, in the instability of their society, parallels to their own personal lives. Browning's father had been disowned by his family, and history repeated itself when Eliszabeth Barrett's father disowned her for marrying Browning. Likewise, Tennyson's father, a first son who had expected to inherit, had been cast aside in favor of a younger brother and had to take an unwanted job as a member of the clergy. He became an alcoholic, and produced a large family of emotionally unstable children. Thus, both authors had first-hand knowledge of the unhappiness that can come about when families (or societies) undergo drastic changes.
Last modified 30 November 2004