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Macbeth and The Laboratory

Exploring how Lady Macbeth and the character in The Laboratory are disturbed. Links between the characters are at the end.

Rebecca Job

on 19 May 2013

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Transcript of Macbeth and The Laboratory

2nd Stanza "Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear" 3rd Stanza "Grind away, mositen and mash up thy paste
Pound at thy powder -- I am not in haste!" 6th Stanza "And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastille, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!" The Laboratory This poem is written as a soliloquy meaning it's in first person and it's based upon their thoughts or thinking out loud.
In the poem, there are many Gothic qualities displayed throughout such as Evil plots, deranged narrator, story of a murder, sinister settings, madness and secrets.

But the question is, what evidence shows us that this character is deranged? Exploring how disturbed characters are portrayed in Macbeth and The Laboratory First Stanza "These faint smokes curling whitely" This makes the act seem more pleasant. It also shows that she doesn't need to watch the process but she wants to be involved. "Trade in this devil's-smithy"
Meaning the Devil's work. Also, in the times at which this poem was written, God was extremely important and by being involved with the devil's work means that you are going against God so it is a severe act. This relates to Lady Macbeth because when committing the act of killing the King, she was going against God.
Also in Act 1 scene 5 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to fill her with cruelty. This first line is Dactyl, meaning that the rhythm stresses certain words and followed by a weak stress. The strong stress is on 'they' in the first line. This shows how the character despises the couple.
This second line repeats 'laugh' and 'me'. Repetition can be seen as excitement, so the character is excited about committing the act. "Empty church, to pray God in, for them! -- I am here." This also refers back to religion because the character is tricking God with death. The character has made the couple believe that she has gone to church to pray for their happiness but she is really plotting the girl's death. 'Grind', mash' and 'pound' are all violent words. "Not in haste" means she is not in a hurry. "Dance at the kings" To be able to dance at the Kings, you would need to have a good reputation. In those times, the smallest mistake could mean that your reputation would be ruined. This shows us that the character would risk her good reputation to get where she wants. This links to Lady Macbeth because she will do what it takes to get the power - in her case, killing the king. 4th Stanza "That in the mortar -- you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come! And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly, -- is that poison too?" The character is attracting attention by asking all of these questions to make sure she is still involved. There is a lot of positive language to describe the negative things. She compliments the poison because she is pleased with what it will do. The poison looks good but is actually bad. This links to 'Fair is Foul' in Macbeth. You could also apply this to the Character in the Laboratory and Lady Macbeth because they don't look like bad people yet there's more than what meets the eye. 5th Stanza "What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!" The character shows excitement in the death by the use of an exclamation mark. This is different from Lady Macbeth as she doesn't seem excited over the death but more excited about the outcome. The character keeps fantasising about what she can do with this new power as she thinks about what she can do to Pauline and Elise. This can also show low self esteem in the character and jealousy as she talks about body features.
By looking at this paragraph we can see that the character enjoys secret power over people. This may be because back in those times Men always had the dominance over women but with this poison, she can do as she likes with nobody telling her otherwise. These features are also different from Lady Macbeth because Lady Macbeth doesn't want to commit a murder again because she reaches her goal so she doesn't need to do anything else but the character in the Laboratory does.
One thing that is similar is that they both want dominance because they have both lived in a time where men over rule women. 7th Stanza "Quick -- is it finished? The colour's too grim!
Why not soft like the phial's, enticing and dim?" This shows how the character is becoming impatient. It also shows that the poison doesn't turn out the way she expected it to look and gets worried that it doesn't turn out the way she planned it. This is similar to Lady Macbeth because her plan did not go as expected when killing the king because Macbeth had taken away the daggers. 8th Stanza "What a drop? She's not little, no minion like me --
That's why she ensnared him: this never will free" The character is worried that it is not enough to kill Pauline. This also gives us the idea that Pauline is bigger physically and has more power which gives the character more insecurities. 9th Stanza "For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does not all!" A sign of disturbance would be that she thought if she stared at them hard enough, they would die and she is surprised that it did not work. She also thought it would make Pauline smaller physically and get less power but she comes to the conclusion that the poison will do this for her. 10th Stanza "Let death be felt and the proof remain;
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace --
He is sure to remember her dying face!" The character wants to see good things die and they need to be long and painful deaths. 'Grace' is another reference to religion. She likes to think that the man will remember her dying face to disgust the man and cause more pain. Another contrast to Lady Macbeth because the Laboratory character finds the act more pleasurable than the reward and also considers what others will think of it. Lady Macbeth, however, finds the reward better and doesn't consider who it will affect the most. 11th Stanza "Nay, be not morose"

"It kills her"

"Whole fortune's fee --"

"Can it ever hurt me?" The alchemist looks sad because he heard all the details and is helping with the death. Character only concerned if it works Costing her a lot (social status and jewellery), like Lady Macbeth with her life. Wonders if the posion could turn against her.
Doesn't think about how it will affect her. Like Lady Macbeth. 12th Stanza "Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
you may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it -- next moment I dance at the King's!" The character likes to be in control. Power, poison, death and sex are all linked. She is concerned about the poison getting her. "Brush this dust off"
She is excited about an innocent pleasure but more so for the murder. Links to show how they are disturbed Similarities between the character and Lady Macbeth: They go against God
Ambitions get the best of them
'Fair is Foul'
Likes dominance
Things not turning out how they expect
Costs them a lot
Public face, private feelings Differences between the character and Lady Macbeth: The character wants more deaths, Lady Macbeth doesn't
Lady Macbeth finds the rewards more pleasurable, unlike the character.
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