In what ways are contrasts between central female characters made interesting in Macbeth and in The Laboratory? Paragraph one - comment on when both pieces were written and how women were treated. Do the female characters conform? If not, now? Shakespearean play Macbeth and Robert Borrowing's dramatic monologue, The Laboratory present their female characters in an engaging and rather controversial way, especially considering the position of women at the time of the works' publication and setting. During the Elizabethan era when Macbeth was performed, the role of women was clearly defined. Read also “Too Soon a Woman” Dorothy M. Johnson.
Only noble women were educated and others often accepted their domestic position in life, preferably as mothers, subservient to men and with few rights. This was also the case for women during the French Revolution. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a prolific writer during the Enlightenment period, described his ideal role for women in his book Mile. He believed women should have an active role in the family, educating their children, but should not seek a life outside the home however, encourage their sons to.
Interestingly both Lady Macbeth and Browsing female narrator both defy convention; neither are mothers satisfied with a life of domesticity and subservience. These characters would undoubtedly have captivated and enthralled audiences and readers of the time. Paragraph two - Comment on the form and structure of each text and say how they are similar or different. Use the notes you have been given and your own research. Write three sentences on each text.
The Laboratory was first published in June 1844 in Hood's Magazine and Comic Miscellany; Browning has used an anapestic meter, two stressed syllables followed by one unstressed one. This gives the lines of poetry a fast-paced, almost playful rhythm that epitomizes the woman's excitement, pleasure and haste at the prospect f murder. For example, " . " The twelve quatrains give the poem a tight unyielding structure indicative of the narrator's focused determination to kill her 'lover's' mistress, "Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give, And Pauline should have Just thirty minutes to live! The poem's form also allows the reader to appreciate the immediacy of the entire tale in a blow by blow account keeping our interest peaked and ensuring we don't have to wait long before our curiosity is satisfied. Similarly, Shakespeare is skilled in guaranteeing the full attention of his audience. This, of course was vital considering an Elizabethan audience's behavior was the antithesis of today's theatre goers. They often attended with bags of rotten fruit, ready to pelt the actors if they didn't like what they saw.
However, the witches in the first act induce fear and anticipation in an Elizabethan and Jacobean audience with rhyming couplets 'again' and 'rain'; 'done' and 'won' 'fair and 'air'; use of ABA scheme alarms the audience, yet is memorable so the sense of fear is carried on throughout the play and prepares us for our introduction to Lady Macbeth. Her first soliloquy in Act one scene five reveals much about this complex and dark character. The fact that she speaks in verse immediately informs the audience that she is a noblewoman of high status and the fact that she is able to read the letter from her husband confirms that she is educated.
The use of iambic pentameter gives the play a structured consistency, and when this is changed in instances of prose such as when Macbeth writes to Lady Macbeth these are normally instances where a situation is abnormal and leaves the audience with a sense of foreboding. Paragraph three - What themes or feelings are presented by the female characters in each text and how are they similar or different? Write three sentences on each text. Both writers present the feelings of the female characters in an interesting and powerful way, which link closely to the themes of the text.
For example, Lady Machete's ruthless ambition is made explicit in the opening soliloquy of Act one scene five in her response to her husband's letter. He informs her about the witches' prophecy. She states Macbeth, "shall be what thou art promised! " This highlights Lady Machete's resolve and purpose to become queen. Her reaction is highly controversial considering her husband's position: Commander of the Scottish army and recently victorious in a battle against Norway.
An audience might assume he could ensure his own success, but she thinks not! This idea is underpinned in the same speech, "Thou wouldst be great - Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it. " The audience would have been shocked at Lady Machete's suggestion that she was more powerful and influential than her husband, "He thee hither! - that I may pour my spirits in thin ear and chastise with the velour of my tongue... " The reference to the supernatural is also significant, given the time.
Many women who were accused of witchcraft were killed, often at the hands of King James. He was filled with fascination and fear following 1 590 which saw the start of a series of trials for treason. Three hundred witches were accused of gathering to plot the murder of James. It is known that James had a morbid fear of violent death. This further supports the idea that Lady Macbeth was a defiant, rebellious and dangerous person. The fact that she embraced and encouraged "nature's mischief" shows the dark depths of her character. Come thick night and pall thee to the Dunne's smoke of hell" suggests her impatience to get on with fulfilling the evil prophecy. Like Lady Macbeth, Browsing female narrator is exposed as a character resolute in accomplishing her evil deed. However, where ambition drives the former, revenge and Jealousy steer the latter. The narrator refers to the Laboratory as "this devil's- smithy' suggesting a place of evil and corruption. "He is with her; and they know that I know where they are" demonstrates her Jealousy and paranoia.
In the fourth verse the narrator seems to take pleasure in the imminent death of Pauline and Elise describing the poison as, "exquisite" and in verse five she describes the ingredients as having, "invisible pleasures". Both female characters refer to the importance off speedy death for their victims. Lady Macbeth comments on Dunce's arrival at Inverness where he is to celebrate Machete's victory, "O! - never shall sun that morrow see! " while Browsing antagonist contemplates how long it will take for the poison to take effect, "And Pauline should have Just thirty minutes to live! Paragraph four - What Linguistic devices/language is used and what effect do they have? Write 3 for each. The writers' ideas and attitudes are clearly expressed through a number of linguistic devices. Perhaps most notable is the sense of excitement of both women at the respect of murder. The use of exclamation marks gives a sense of frenzied determination in both women. Lady Macbeth calls upon supernatural forces to give her the strength to commit regicide, "Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thought, unsexes me here! And fill me, from the crown to the top-full of direst cruelty! " Browsing narrator describes her pleasure watching the chemist at work, "l am not in haste! " Later we see her impatience at the finished product, "Quick -is it finished? The colossus too grim! " Shakespeare and Browning also use simile and metaphor to emphasis the sinister intent of both women. Lady Macbeth advises her husband on how to behave in front of the King, "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent underwent. In The Laboratory the woman describes, "the brave tree whence such gold oozing come! " Suggesting the value she place on the poisonous substance being concocted. The alliterative phrases, "moisten and mash" and "pound thy powder" seem to imply the woman is transfixed as she watches the chemist at work, while Shakespeare uses a poignant rhyming couplet to rely Lady Machete's regret for having swapped her life of happiness for a life of worry and lament, "its safer to be hat which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful Joy. Conclusion - Overall how have these writes made the female characters interesting? Comment on writer's ideas and attitudes/aspect of language and structure/ comparison/perceptive personal response In direct contrast, Borrowing's dramatic monologue ends, not in regret, but with the reader left wondering if the woman is successful. The final line is almost playful as she skips off, "Ere I know it - next moment I dance at the Kings! " From this perspective we see how Browning has ensured the interest of the reader right until the end of the poem.
The character is consistent and driven until the end whereas Lady Macbeth, who initially seemed so powerful, begins to be affected by her conscience even before Dunce's death, "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had don't. - My husband! " Perhaps what is most interesting about both tests is what is omitted by the writers. In both cases we are left contemplating why the extreme behavior of both women? Lady Macbeth alludes to untreated post-natal depression or possibly grief over a baby's death when she badgers her husband to continue with their plan, "l have given suck, and know how tender its to love the babe hat milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out! - had I so sworn... " Browsing narrator refers to the possibility that she is a maid, infatuated with an unsuspecting nobleman. She describes her victim, ".. Not little, no minion like me?that's why she's ensnared him" perhaps referring to the healthy size of a wealthy woman as opposed to a malnourished and bitter housemaid. Regardless of the reasons for the behavior of these women they certainly make fascinating characters.