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Lady MacBeth

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Introduction

From the ways she acts and speaks, what can be said about the changing character of Lady Macbeth? Lady Macbeth's character is one of complexity, slowly, but continuously changing throughout the play. What begins as a struggle for power and a longing to shred her femininity turns Lady Macbeth into what she fears the most becoming a guilt ridden weakling tormented by regret and remorse. Introduction of Lady Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 5): Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters and we are introduced to her in Act 1.scene 5. She has not yet been described by any other character and it is therefore very important that in this next scene she is established immediately, so the audience is in no doubt of what she is like. Shakespeare very cleverly uses a soliloquy (where a character speaks her mind a oud for everyone to hear) to define her character, this way the audience sees her personality and her true thoughts. When Lady Macbeth is reading out aloud Macbeth's letter, we realize that maybe they are both equal to each other and therefore a picture of a very powerful, ambitious and head-steady woman is drawn. We can see this in Paragraph one, line nine to ten: "...my dearest partner of greatness..." If Lady Macbeth had of said this of herself, the audience may not have believed her because she could have wanted to be this to Macbeth, but because its Macbeth's words declaring this written to his wife, the audience is left to think that it must be true. This is a dramatic technique called 'character report'. This gives us another clue if this couple is equal or not. I believed that at this moment the audience is led to believe that they were very much equal to one another. In Lady Macbeth's soliloquy we are told through her words and language that she is a very ambitious woman also. ...read more.

Middle

We can see this because she asks and replies in very short sentences, which are a sign of her anger and anxiety. "Macbeth: "Hath he asked for me?" Lady Macbeth: "Know you not he has?" These quotes show the anger of Lady Macbeth and also Macbeth's fear of her. Lady Macbeth's next speech is full of insults and rhetorical questions, five to be exact. These questions help her to persuade Macbeth along with her insults and her emotional blackmail: "From this time such I account thy love...", she is saying that from now on she knows what his love is worth, because if he loved her, he would do what she asked. As Lady Macbeth digs further into Macbeth's dignity and pride, he suddenly fights back, claiming his rights in the relationship, stating that he is the man that she repeatedly calls a coward and a weakling. But knowing Lady Macbeth for the intelligent woman she is, she hits Macbeth back with a reverse psychology, twisting the truth, building his ego up instead of down as before: "...you would be so much more than a man." To touch that final brink of hope that Macbeth held onto so dearly, Lady Macbeth tortures his thoughts, comparing herself to him: " I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me- I would , while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed his brains out, had I sworn as you have done." This shocking imagery is so powerful that Macbeth gives in and shows his first signs of weakness and under total control of his wife. After breaking him down, Lady Macbeth recites her detailed plan. In this speech she refers to words of alchemy; "...limbec..."; this could be another clue to her close relationship with the witches, if she ever had one and her so called ambition to be more than any other woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

What Lady Macbeth and her husband wanted most in the world eventually strangled them with its power. They are two of Shakespeare's many victims of the "ambition plague", joining the ranks of Julius Ceasar in another play of Shakespeare; you could even say that Hitler, Bush and others also had this so called ambition plague. The real message here is not to place your ambitions over the rights and lives of other people; something people must have done quite a lot in Shakespeare's time. In today's society, Lady Macbeth would probably have been much happier. She would certainly feel less oppressed by her womanly attributes - she would have been able to seek as much power as she wanted without being hindered by her husband. Ambition ruining everything still is quite evident today, however. Countless numbers of people are ruined each day because of their own desires and wants. Lady Macbeth's role as a supporting wife at the start of the play exceeds the duties of a 'normal' wife. She is the Eve to Macbeth as he Adam to her and he is tempted, in this case to be king. Although Macbeth hints at the idea of taking the crown in his letter home, it is Lady Macbeth's ruthless determination to make him king that persuaded him to murder Duncan. Did she do this in the interests of Macbeth or was it to fulfill her own ambition? I would argue that it was to fulfill her own ambition because she decided straight away that murder was the best option to take without any regard to guilt, in this view I have no sympathy for Lady Macbeth because it is a sign of her inner evilness. But, when she displayed her guilt, I believe that she was truly sorry for what she has done. Overall, Lady Macbeth truly makes this play. Without her the play would decrease in interest and in tension. She is also someone that I think everyone has something in common with- the determination to want to reach a life goal. Name: Kaya-Moon, T.G: 316. ...read more.

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