Robert Browning 's The Laboratory

1390 Words6 Pages
Robert Browning 's “The Laboratory” tells of a powerful, rich woman and her plans of poisoning the new woman her lover now admires with the help of a chemist. Her plan is to create a poison that she’ll implant into a piece of jewelry and give to the women during the King’s ball. Robert portrays this character as someone who is thirsty for vengeance and even death upon others, to the point of almost killing herself in the process. It’s symbolic for the time period Robert wrote his work in, since at the time scientists were powerful and respected, but through this poem shows how with great power comes great responsibility and consequences. Through literary and poetic devices, Robert Browning reveals the underlying insanity of wealth through…show more content…
In the fifth stanza of the poem, the speaker describes her plan of action for what the type of gift she will implant her poison into, quoting “Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures, What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures! To carry pure death in an earring, a casket, A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!” (Browning) Here the speaker mentions the type of gifts she could give to the new lover, but Robert uses rhyme in an interesting way to help catch the reader 's attention and really emphasize wealth. He uses couplet rhymes with words like “treasure and pleasure” and “casket and basket” to give the stanza a pleasant, elegant tone. All her wealth gives this speaker a false sense of security, since she believes that with all the money she has she can do anything, even say make a poison to kill someone with. The combination of her wealth and this strange obsession for vengeance proves to be a dangerous later on. The speaker’s compulsive thoughts become more intense in stanzas six and seven, but this time she begins to narrow in on her target. She quotes “And Elise, with her head, And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!… Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir, And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!” (Browning) Here the speaker moves from thinking about “them” and focuses more on “her,” the new lover. Alliteration and repetition are littered all
Get Access