Havisham and Laboratory Coursework

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In the poems “The Laboratory” by Robert Browning and “Havisham” by Carol Ann Duffy; how do the poets convey the extreme reactions of woman who have been hurt by men?

In this piece of coursework I will be looking at the two poems; The Laboratory by Robert Browning and Havisham by Carol Ann Duffy. I will be looking at how the poets convey the extreme reactions of the woman in the poems that have been hurt by men. I will tackle the question by looking at different areas of the poems, such as the meaning of the poems, the structure, the type of language used and the image they create.

Havisham is a poem about a character called Miss Havisham from the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. In the book, Miss Havisham jilted by her scheming fiancée, can’t get over what he did to her, so in spite wears her wedding dress and sits with the remains of her wedding breakfast for the rest of her life. She plans her revenge on all men, whilst in her spinster state - which she hates.

The Laboratory is a poem about a woman who makes a potion that will kill her lover’s mistress. This is all because the woman’s lover left her for another woman. This enrages her so much she is in a state of paranoia and decides to make this potion that she plans to give to her lover’s mistress. She shows her anger by explaining how she is going to enjoy seeing her lovers face as his mistress dies.

Already from reading the basic outlines of the poems you can already see the anger of these two women that have been hurt by men.

The poem Havisham is structured in four unrhymed stanzas. The idea of the first stanza is about her intent on planning revenge. It gets the reader into the poem and knowing what it is going to be about. In the second and third stanzas the poem is describing us about her life and state of mind. Then in the fourth stanza it explains her idea of death violence and hatred on all men.

The poem is structured in a way that makes the meaning clear to the reader and helps them comprehend it. The poem is written as dramatic monologue which is where it is based upon a character in fiction or history who explains thier feelings. In this case it is about Dickens’ character from Great Expectations; Miss Havisham. The beginning of the poem is addressed at the man who jilted her saying how much she hates him now and wants to get revenge: “Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead”. Throughout the poem it goes through her mental state of mind, from the words Duffy uses you can see she has had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster: “Some nights better, the lost body over me”. In the poem you can see Duffy is interested in mixing her love and hatred as it shows Havisham’s sexual passion has not ended yet. By looking at the structure in Havisham Duffy has created an effect that shows Havishams hatred for men, how much men have put her through but still shows she isn’t a ruin yet as she still has a sexual passion: “my fluent tongue in its mouth in its earthen down till suddenly bite awake”.

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Furthermore as the poem gradually goes on you can see what Havishams character is like, in stanza 1 it says how she wants to kill him but it gets worse and worse as the poem goes on to her psychological predicament. With this effect you almost get a sense of sorry, that you feel for Havisham as you know no her woes she has been through.

In Robert Browning’s poem The Laboratory the poem is structured far more differently it is set out in twelve, four lined stanzas. In addition the poem is much longer. The Laboratory has a subtitled ...

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