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Lady Macbeth character analysis

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Darya Barshak 03/22/2012 AP English/ Pd.4 Lady Macbeth symbolizes the evil of human nature. Her ugly intentions are seen in the apostrophe when she calls: "Come you spirits." She calls for the spirits in the same manner as do many witches. She betrays her femininity by asking the spirits to "come to [her] woman's breast and take [her] milk for gall." Moreover, she calls for them to completely "unsex [her] here." The disgusting imagery used in the line "make thick my blood" flashes back to Act I Scene I and parallels Lady Macbeth with the three witches. ...read more.


In contrast, Lady Macbeth is completely guided by her desire to gain self-profit. When she sees that Macbeth is close to rejecting the idea of regicide, she decides to play on his pathos. She applies hyperbole to display her bravery by saying that she is capable of "pluck[ing] nipple from [baby's] boneless gums and dash[ing] [its] brains out." She purposely uses this exaggeration to juxtapose her own qualities with those of Macbeth. She implies that Macbeth is less manly than she is, thus pushing him into committing the crime to prove his masculinity. She even goes as far as to state her challenge of Macbeth's masculinity directly: "when you durst do it, then you were a man". ...read more.


To assert her authority, Lady Macbeth presents Macbeth with a bitter invective: "...Screw your courage to the sticking plate." Lady Macbeth repeatedly taunts her husband using diction such as "barren sceptre" and "live a coward." In a moralizing way she proclaims that he is "too full o'th' milk of human kindness". Macbeth ends up respecting Lady Macbeth's courage by drawing an analogy between her and "undaunted metal." In a way, Macbeth looks up to his wife's opinion by echoing her thoughts and borrowing her style of language: "False face must hide what the false heart doth know." Yet, he decides to challenge her claims by resolving to kill the king. The alliteration "false face" perfectly describes the characters' final decision. The "f" sound accentuates the hideousness of this decision. ...read more.

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Although too short, this is a good example of engaging with text using evidence, literary technique and analysis. However, there is much more to be explored about Lady Macbeth's character, eg. the reason she can't kill Duncan herself is that he reminds her of her father.

Marked by teacher Paul Dutton 07/06/2013

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