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By close reference to the text, show how Lady Macbeth(TM)s language reveals changes in her role and mental condition.

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Introduction

Macbeth: GCSE Coursework Essay Q: By close reference to the text, show how Lady Macbeth's language reveals changes in her role and mental condition. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, the language of Lady Macbeth clearly reflects changes in her role and mental condition throughout the play. At the beginning, Lady Macbeth's language is confident and controlled. However, by Act 5 Scene 1, she has undergone a complete transformation of character and is in a pitiful, pathetic condition. Shakespeare uses a variety of literary techniques such as iambic pentameter (or the lack of it), rhetorical devices, powerful imagery and varied sentence lengths to reveal Lady Macbeth's disposition at different stages in the play. During Act 1, Lady Macbeth's character is imposing and authoritative. This can clearly be seen by analysing her language and speech patterns. Shakespeare highlights the determination and control of her speech through the use of iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is a poetic device, wherein each line has 10 syllables with the emphasis on each even syllable. It is used to create a rhythmic quality and to reflect ordinary speech patterns. In addition, iambic pentameter is also a technique of indicating the control and dignity of a character. In the early part of the play, nearly all of Lady Macbeth's lines are written in strict iambic pentameter. ...read more.

Middle

Another piece of effective imagery is the lines: " 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 the brains out, had I so sworn."6 The above lines form a rather disturbing image in our minds, and give us a terrifying indication of Lady Macbeth's mental strength. It highlights the malevolence that is inherent in her personality, in addition to her determination and her willingness to make sacrifices. However, the nature of such a statement does provoke one to think seriously about Lady Macbeth's sanity. No person in their right mind would kill a child with the brutality that was described, especially not the child's own mother. The lines shown above are one of many subtle hints of flaws in Lady Macbeth's character which Shakespeare intelligently incorporates. These serve as inklings towards the total collapse in her character and mental state that is about to follow. In Act 3 Scene 4, the rapid decline of Lady Macbeth begins to take shape. In contrast to the early scenes of the play, her sentences become very short and she seems emotionally exhausted. Earlier, she would make long, influential speeches, which boasted of control and supremacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The stark contrast between her mental state at the start and end of the play is clearly demonstrated by comparing two sentences spoken by her at these times: "A little water clears us of this deed"10 when her hands are covered in blood after the killing of King Duncan, and "Here is the smell of blood still, all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this hand"11 while she is sleepwalking. The remarkable fall from grace of Lady Macbeth is wonderfully presented by Shakespeare, and plays a big part in the play as whole. Since it was Lady Macbeth's ideas and persuasive techniques which led Macbeth to the throne, and set the foundations of his reign; her weakening, and subsequent death, is one of many indicators of Macbeth's imminent downfall. Shakespeare's use of various literary devices was excellent, and he is able to successfully draw attention to the decline of Lady Macbeth, and its overall significance. 1 Act 1 Scene 5 - lines 64-68 2 Act 1 Scene 7 - lines 35-36 3 Act 1 Scene 7 - lines 39-41 4 Act 1 Scene 7 - lines 69-70 5 Act 1 Scene 5 - lines 63-64 6 Act 1 Scene 7 - lines 54-59 7 Act 1 Scene 5 - lines 9-10 8 Act 5 Scene 1 - lines 30-31 9 Act 5 Scene 1 - line 43 10 Act 2 Scene 2 - line 70 11 Act 5 Scene 1 - lines 42-43 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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