What are the similarities in the structure of the language used by Lady Macbeth and the witches in "Macbeth," and "The Laboratory" by Robert Browning? 

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Chase Burns eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth and the narrator in "The Laboratory" share similar characteristics. They are both ambitious women who resort to murder to achieve their goals. However, beyond character similarities, there are also similar structural techniques used in the language of these characters.

First, three passages: 

1. LADY MACBETH: That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold. / What hath quenched them hath given me fire. / Hark! - Peace. / It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, / Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it. / The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms / Do mock their charge with snores. (II.ii.1-8)

2. LABORATORY: For only last night, as they whispered, I brought / My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought / Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall, / Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all! 

3. WITCH 1: Where the place?

    WITCH 2: Upon the heath.

    WITCH 3: There to meet with Macbeth. (I.i.6-8)

The three of these passages do not have similar content, but they share unique nuances that can be illuminating. All three of these characters share a similar pacing in their poetry. These characters often break a standard rhythm to create a jolted, anxious tone. For instance, "Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!" and "What hath quenched them hath given me fire. / Hark! - Peace," are both lines that are unsure of themselves. Lady Macbeth claims she is bold, and then she is startled. The narrator in "The Laboratory" is sure of herself, and then she is anxious and jumping from one thought to the next. Similarly, the witches are frantic in their pacing and difficult to predict. All three of these passages share frenetic pacing. These language techniques are used to underscore their emotional states. 

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Macbeth

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