Robert Browning was a 19th century English poet and playwright. His mastery of the dramatic dialogue made him a leading author of the Victorian age. ... Show synopsis Robert Browning was a 19th century English poet and playwright. His mastery of the dramatic dialogue made him a leading author of the Victorian age. In 1846 he secretly married Elizabeth Barrett. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is considered one of the great English poets. Browning is able to represent Euripides play in his own interpretation, within the framework of another speaker's consciousness. The story is set just after the defeat of the Athenian expedition against Sicily in 413 BC. A group of pro-Athenians from Rhodes, inspired by the young girl Balaustion, is intercepted on its voyage to Athens by a pirate ship and is forced to seek shelter in the harbor of Syracuse, where it is refused entry until it is discovered that Balaustion can recite a play by Euripides, who was greatly admired in Sicily although neglected in his native Athens. The play is Alcestis, a performance of which Balaustion narrates, mingling with the text her own comments and descriptions.