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The Laboratory

Robert Browning

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Added by: charity
well i have read through the poem but i seem to be very confused she is flirting with the man at the end of the poem but i got the impression that it was a man trying to get rid of a rival between him and his lover.
Analysis of Idiocy
Added by: Mark
Unless you can legitimately read this poem and analyse it to an extent where you leave detailed feedback that may be of use to someone, don't bother. Jackass.
Added by: Joel Emery
Let us have some charity for Charity. She (?) did read the poem and she did get the idea of the conflict between a man and a woman. That's a beginning. Maybe after she had a bad experience with someone and harbors a thirst for revenge, and understands the meaning of some of the words in the poem -- look up those words you don't understand Christy -- maybe then she will begin to see the point.
The Laboratory
Added by: Elle
I think that this poem is fantastic! It shows many emotions such as hate, love and most importantly revenge. It has lots of feeling and i am pleased that it is in the Anthology.
Added by: protege
Browning gives us a terrible study of jealousy in The Laboratory.
The chemist says nothing, but the contrast between the placid face
of the old scientist, intent only upon his work, and the wildly
passionate countenance of the little woman with him, is sufficiently
impressive. Those were the days when murder was a fine art. She
plans the public death of the woman she hates so that the lover will
never be able to forget the dying face. Radiant in queenly beauty,
with the smile of satisfaction that accompanies the inner assurance
of beauty and power--in a moment she will be convulsively rolling on
the floor, her swollen face purplish-black with the poison, her
mouth emitting foam like a mad dog. There is no doubt that the
little murderess intends to follow her rival to the tomb. She has
given the chemist her entire fortune as pay for the drop of poison;
he may kiss her, if he likes! All shame, all womanly reserve are gone:
what does anything matter now? It is a true study of jealousy,
because the little creature does not dream of attacking the _man_
who deserted her; all her hellish energy is directed against the
woman. Indeed the poison that she buys will not transform her rival
more completely than the dreadful poison of jealousy has already
transformed her from what she was to what she is.
Added by: bla
dont u ppl get bored of readin page afta page of old fashioned words on clear paper with no illustrations, i have to d poems in my school, an it dont jus get me bored, it gets me angry dat we hav to read it all wen it's all reli confusing and seems reli pointless, can sum1 tel me y its so xciting and how cum u dont get bored
Added by: Rebecca
i love this poem, one of my favourites of brownings. With the complete disregard of the church, the closing line of porphyria's lover could be added in this text as well "And yet God has not said a word! ". The clear anger towards the heffer of a girlfriend that the female character describes as "she's not little, no minion like me!" leads the poem into a revenge driven tale. i loved how the female character would maintain her "prettyness" by being in awe of the pretty colours and "exquisite blue". this brings black humour to her actions. i think that perhaps if her and her lover were married, her actions would be much more justifiable in a 19th century context as unfaithful actions were frowned upon by the church. however there is the question: is correcting an immoral action with an immoral action moral? ha! browning writes women so incredibly well, i love it! im currently studying browning amongst other 19th century writers for a unit in year 12 "the individuals in society" and his work fits so perfectly in that genre. i highly recommend everyone read more of his work.
Added by: Princess_Jane
It's supposed to be about a woman who is accusing her husband/lover of cheating on her with at least two other women (Pauline and Elise are the two mentioned). Driven insane by jealousy the narrator decides to kill the women. Through the poem we hear the narrator talking to the apothercary of the laboratory who she is employing to make a poison with which she can kill these women.
However, the poem doesn't show whether or not the narrators husband/lover is actually cheating on her or if it is all in her mind. She certainly seems paranoid through the language she uses.

At the end of the poem the impression I got was that she isn't exactly flirting, as such, with the man making the poison, but that she has nothing left to lose once she has killed these women and that she doesn't care what happens to her aslong as she has her vengance. It's almost like she is using prostitution to pay for the poison (which would probably have been illeagal and cost a fair amount of money).

That's my basic interpretation of the storyline. Does ANYONE know anything about the setting?

For some coursework I have to do a presentation on the poem and I've been told to talk about how it is set in the French Revolution or just before it (This makes sense as the narrator talks about the king) but NOBODY exept my teacher has EVER said anything to me linking it with that revolution :S:S:S



Added by: lauren
there are 2 things i am slightly confused with and i wonder if anyone could help me out?
in the poem, browning mentions a 'pauline' and an 'elise' but which of these women is the one the lady in the poem is planning to murder?and also, when she mentions she is going to dance at the kings, is she refering to a sort of club?as it was victoria who was on the throne at the time...hmm just a little wonder
Added by: flic
right, the poem is about a jealous women. she believes that she is amazingly beatuful and that she can have every man in the world. But, the man she actually wants is taken. her jealousy gets out of control and so she decides to poison the man she loves, lover. thoughout the poem, her jealousy builds up as she is adding to the poison. so you could see the poison as a build up of her jealousy. she also wants to punish the man she loves for not being with her. this is done bt killing his lover.

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