Female power in Macbeth and ‘The Laboratory

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

Likewise Lady Macbeth exploits her sexual hold over Macbeth as means to persuade him to commit murder. ‘And you would be so much How do the writers explore female power in Macbeth and ‘The Laboratory’? In this essay I will be writing about female power in Macbeth and ‘The Laboratory’. I will be analyzing them both to show the similarities and differences between the two pieces. Both include a strong, crafty and dominant female character and Shakespeare and Browning explore these characters fully and in great detail.

Both the speaker in ‘The Laboratory’ and Lady Macbeth strive to maintain their innocent images. The speaker in ‘The Laboratory’ wants to kill by means of administering a harmless looking object. She describes the potion as being an ‘yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue’ leading the reader to believe that what is actually deadly, is not. The speaker remains above reproach free to reclaim her love. Lady Macbeth is a sinister character, she tells Macbeth he must ‘look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under’t’.

In other words he must portray pure and innocent qualities whilst being prepared to act with murderous intent. The key words in this quotation are “innocent” and “serpent”. They are a contracting pair demonstrating the manipulative and two faced nature of Lady Macbeth. Both Browning and Shakespeare build their characters in this way to ensure the audience are left with no sympathy for them. Both writers skillfully paint a picture of vengeful women who are prepared to stop at nothing to achieve their desires. Lady Macbeth uses flirtatious behavior and language in the same way the speaker in ‘The Laboratory’.

Their aim is to seduce the male characters in order to get what they want. In ‘ The Laboratory’ the narrator uses sexual blackmail to encourage the apothecary to believe that it is acceptable for him to create the poison. She takes great pleasure in watching its preparation, she is hungry for revenge. Yet when it is finished she says ‘You may kiss me old man on my mouth,’ she clearly wants to reward his actions with a degree of intimacy rather than any financial reward; She is willing to use her sexual allure to get what she wants.

In this way she is transgressing her marriage vows by seeking intimate contact with a man other than her husband whilst using her natural attractiveness to her benefit. Likewise Lady Macbeth exploits her sexual hold over Macbeth as means to persuade him to commit murder. ‘And you would be so much more a man’ Lady Macbeth uses this as sexual blackmail to convince Macbeth into killing King Duncan. This works because Macbeth wants to impress his wife and to show her that he deserves his manhood.

Both characters have this quality in common it’s how’s the audience how manipulative they can be. Both the speaker in ‘The a Laboratory’ and Lady Macbeth use persuasive language as a means of exerting power over men. Lady Macbeth persuades a husband to obey her through the use of shock tactics. Other than titillating him she says that she would have ‘clashed the brains out’ of her child than breaking a promise to have killed the King. In this way she seems pretty disregarding of her responsibility as a potential mother and viciously brutal.

The audience in Shakespeare’s time would have considered her to be unatural as she does not seem bothered by the horrible image she has created. The speaker in the Laboratory uses compliments and flattery to persuade the apothecary that making the poison is an okay thing to do. ‘Thee and thy treasures’ is used as an example of how the narrator bigs up his work. Browning and Shakespeare use this to show female power because it shows that both of the characters have so much power over men.

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