The Browning Version Summary

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The Browning Version is a play highlighting the attitude of a teenage student towards his teacher. The student’s remarks on his teacher are awful and shocking because they are very close to reality. He imitates the voice of Mr.Crocker-Harris and calls him practically inhuman. He is extremely afraid of his teacher and his promotion entirely depends on the goodwill of the teacher. On getting encouraged by his other science teacher, he opens up. Taplow hates Greek play as he does not like the teacher’s method of teaching. In order to make them like him, Mr.Crocker-Harris seems to hate people. The description of the teacher is damaging thus reflecting ultimately the hopeless quality of teachers.

Characters in the Play:

  • Mr.Crocker-Harris - The strict teacher.

  • Mr. Frank - the science teacher.

  • Taplow - the teenage student.

  • Mille Crocker-Harris - Mr. Crocker-Harris’s wife.


The first scene of the play is set in the school. A sixteen-year-old teenage boy named Taplow is there in the opening of the scene. Taplow has come to do some extra work for his teacher Mr.Crocker-Harris and has to wait for him as he is yet to arrive. Frank was another teacher, who on seeing Taplow waiting strikes a conversation with him.

Frank during the conversation gets to know that Taplow is waiting for his results which is yet to come. He is interested in specializing in science and hopes to get a good result. The headmaster declares the result on the last day of term on request of Mr.Crocker-Harris who does not declare the result himself.

The conversation between them also depicts Taplow’s mindset regarding his dislike towards the greek play and interest in science. Taplow confesses to Frank during their conversation that he dislikes the greek play ‘Agamemnon’ and hates the teaching methods of Mr.Crocker-Harris. He tells Frank that the play is not that bad but he is interested in science.

Taplow had to do extra work as he missed a class a week ago. Frank suggested that he might get his remove for doing extra work which Taplow refuses to accept as he feels Mr.Crocker-Harris is different from other teachers and such rules don’t work with him. Also, he doesn’t appreciate the extra work done by students.

Mr.Harris being different from other teachers is strict and inhuman as told by Taplow. He doesn’t disclose the results to the students before the last day of term himself and instead makes the headmaster do so. When asked about the removal of Mr.Crocker-Harris by Taplow, he says that is exactly what he deserves “No less, and certainly no more”.

Taplow was suggested by Frank to make use of the chance to leave and play golf as Mr.Crocker-Harris is ten minutes late. Taplow denies as he is afraid and thinks that Mr.Crocker-Harris might follow him home.

Frank envies Mr. Harris for the control he has on his students and the fear amongst the students because of him. Frank asks Taplow if Mr.Harris beats them to which he replies that he is not a sadist and not a person who would beat students to vent his frustration.

Taplow tells that he likes Mr.Harris despite all this and narrates an incident wherein he laughs at a classical joke by Mr.Crocker-Harris, although he didn’t get the joke.

In the meantime, Mrs Mille Crocker Harris enters the room and informs Taplow that her husband has gone to Bursar’s and would take some time to come back. She suggests Taplow to go and play for a quarter of an hour and return back until Mr.Harris comes.

Taplow is puzzled by Mr.Harris’s behaviour. he is not willing to leave until Mr.Harris arrives as he is afraid of him and doesn’t want to disobey him. Mille assures Taplow that she won’t let him land in trouble and would take the blame on her by making an excuse for his absence. Taplow is handed a prescription by her and sends him to the chemist to get medicines for Mr.Harris. Taplow agrees to it and leaves from there.

Conclusion of the Browning Version:

Through the play, the relationship between the student and teacher is depicted. Taplow who was expected to show his anger instead chose to respect and not disobey his teacher despite Mr.Harris’ ways of teaching.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is The Browning Version About?

Ans. The Browning version is about a classical master at an English public school who has been forced from his position due to his ill health. As he was close to winding up his last term he discovers about his wife being unfaithful to him and how his students and faculty in the school hated him. The play revolves around a student named Taplow and his behavior towards Mr.Crocker-Harris.

2. Who was Taplow?

Ans. Taplow was a sixteen-year-old teenage student who feared his teacher and hated his ways of teaching. He was interested in science and wanted to specialize in it.

3. Why is it Called The Browning Version?

Ans. It is called the Browning Version as it is an adaptation by Robert  Browning of the play Agamemnon's tragedy written by Aeschylus.

4. Why does Frank envy Mr.Crocker-Harris?

Ans. Mr Frank envies Mr.Crocker Harris for the control he had on his students and the fear amongst the students because of him.

5. Why was Taplow Worried About his Removal?

Ans. Taplow was worried about his removal as his promotion depended entirely on Mr.Crocker-Harris’s goodwill who was was a very strict and disciplined teacher. Despite his extra work, Mr.Harris refused his for his removal which made Taplow worry about it.

6. Who was Frank in Browning Version?

Ans. Frank was a science teacher who envied Mr.Crocker-Harris for the control he had on his students. He was having an affair with Mrs.Mille Crocker Harris.

7. Why does Frank Encourage Taplow’s Comments on Crocker-Harris?

Ans. Frank envied Mr.Harris for the control he had on his students. He encourages Taplow to open up when he imitates his voice and commenting about him.