Shakespeare and Robert Browning

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Shakespeare and Browning both present the theme of desire through their central characters. Lady Macbeth (and Macbeth) is motivated by the desire for ambition and authority in ‘Macbeth’ whilst in the Browning monologues; the monologists are driven by the desire of power and control in ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and revenge in ‘The laboratory’. All of which seem to have fatal conclusions as a result of each of their desires. As the texts were produced over 400years ago, audiences may have found the works of Shakespeare and Browning highly thought-provoking and entertaining whilst contemporary audiences finding the different aspects of desire relatable to modern situations. Lady Macbeth’s need for authority in her famous soliloquy ‘unsex me here’ reflects on the feelings of many women at that time longing for power. Likewise, audiences of the ‘the Laboratory’ are able to empathise with the protagonist’s desire for revenge upon their adulterous lover. In ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, Browning reveals an obsessive and controlling persona who can only satisfy his absolute love for his lover by strangling her, presenting his desire for control over others. Section 1: How do the writers introduce the central characters? LADY MACBETH

* Lady Macbeth’s introduction to the audience in Act 1, Scene 5 immediately makes it clear of her intentions. ‘Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty’. As this is a soliloquy, it invites the audience in to see her inner thoughts and feeling and her true desire for power. * Her use of imperative verbs, ‘come’ and ‘fill me’ not only notifies the audience of her desire for power, but the lengths she is willing go to achieve it. * Lady Macbeths mention of the supernatural shows how desperate she is for her desire as she craves to posses characteristics of a man by calling upon the ‘spirits’ and this possibly confirms the dark affiliation she has to the...
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