The Laboratory

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In The Laboratory, the courtesan chooses poison as her murder weapon. Poison is often the weapon of choice for female killers. It requires little or no physical strength to administer, and can be done secretly. It also leaves little evidence thus making it difficult to detect the culprit. We believe the act of murder is because of another woman that her lover is with and she feels physically inferior to her rival. We know this because she starts saying ‘What a drop! She’s not little, no minion like me.’ The murderer is also fascinated and excited about the poison and power of the poison, she says ‘And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue sure to taste sweetly’ She thinks that her rival who she is out to kill will think nothing of it and will believe it’s just an ordinary beverage. She then also goes onto say ‘to carry pure death in an earring, a casket.’ Meaning she is so excited about the whole aspect of being able to carry death in such a small item. So she plans to slip her rival only known as ‘Pauline’ and give her thirty minutes to live until ‘her breast and her arms and her hands should drop dead!’ This is what she believes will happen in her head, she believes the murder will happen quickly and she also chose poison because she didn’t want to see it happen. Browning writes ‘The delicate droplet, my whole fortunes fee’ showing that she’s incredibly dedicated in getting this guy and she’s spent her whole fortune on the poison and she’s not going to give up until the deed is complete. The character is quite evil in a way; not only has she murdered someone but she says ‘ Not that i bid you spare her the pain; Let death be felt and the proof remain; Brand, burn up, bite into its grace- He is sure to remember her dying face!’ Which is almost saying that he is going to remember this moment for a long time and this is her perfect revenge on him for leaving her for this other woman. The character is also quite optimistic about the whole thing as she doesn’t feel there will be any consequences afterwards. This optimism and careless attitude towards her murder suggests she has murdered before and she’s not worried about being found out because she is proud of what she has done ‘Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill, you may kiss me, old man, on my mouth is you will! But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings, ere I know it- next moment I dance at the King’s’. In Porphyria’s Lover the murder weapon is the victims own hair. Browning states in the poem that the murderer debates what to do as he is over the moon that Porphyria has told him that she loved him. ‘That moment she was mine, mine, mine fair, perfectly pure and good’. Earlier in the poem, you are told that all her yellow long hair was displaced and at the point rising up to the murder just by reading it you can almost see the light bulb click above his head for his new bright idea. He was to murder her will her own hair. ‘I found a thing to do, and all her hair in one long yellow string I wound three times her little throat around and strangled her.’ So the murder happens quite suddenly and again when reading it you can see the pleasure in his eyes while doing it as Porphyria is finally his forever. Browning uses such techniques as enjambment while the murder is happening so make it seem like the murder is happening quickly and to rise the tension and excitement of it, for example the part where he has the idea and then strangles her, the line gaps and pauses are in the middle of the sentence and not at the end, this makes the reader read faster and could possibly make them breathless. The murderer seems quite adamant that no one will discover what he has done and that his victim felt no pain. ‘No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain’ This suggests that he might have sympathy for her and wishes that it was a painless death because he wants her to be ‘happy’ and with him forever. Just a few lines down in the poem he then goes on to say ‘I...
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