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Comparing Lady Macbeth in Act 1 & Act 5

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Introduction

Comparing Lady Macbeth in Act 1 & Act 5 The Task: Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 of 'Macbeth.' Account for the changes and differences you notice and suggest how a contemporary as well as a modern audience might respond to these scenes. Shakespeare's shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy from a trio of sinister witches that one day he will become king of Scotland. Consumed with ambitious thoughts and urged to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself. He begins his reign wracked with guilt and fear and soon becomes a dictatorial ruler, as he is forced to commit more and more murders to protect him from hate and suspicion. The bloodbath swiftly propels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to arrogance, madness, and death. Macbeth's wife is a deeply ambitious woman who desires for power and position. Early in the play she seems to be the stronger and more ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill Duncan and seize the crown. ...read more.

Middle

This line tells us that she wants Macbeth to deceive the King; pretend to be his friends but then kill him when he is not ready. Lady Macbeth uses a metaphor in this quote. This phrase illustrates to the audience that Lady Macbeth is a traitor and a conspirator to the King. This quote also has a result to the Adam and Eve story, where Eve entices Adam into eating the forbidden fruit. Lady Macbeth undertakes the role of Eve by alluring Macbeth into killing the King. In Act 1 Scene 7 we see that Macbeth is still two minded in killing King Duncan. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, displays no virtue or goodness, but becomes the personification of evil and greed in this scene. Lady Macbeth's superior strength and mental courage dissolves when she is in Act 5. This shows the effect of ignoring both moral and religious principles. The fact that her audience changes from everyone else, in Act 1 to just herself in Act 5 also justify the effects of such a crime. When Lady Macbeth hears of her husband's decision to call off the murder, she attacks his masculine ego, calling him weak and unmanly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only a priest (a symbol of goodness, forgiveness, and God) can help her now. Once the sense of guilt comes home to roost, Lady Macbeth's sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope. Significantly, she kills herself by suicide. In conclusion Macbeth was carrying the guilt from the beginning, but as the play concluded Lady Macbeth had gained that same guilt, resulting in her sleepwalking with her eyes wide open. Shakespeare uses constant reference to act 1 in act 5. As Lady Macbeth washes away an imperceptible spot, this signifies to the audience what happened in act 1 when she tells Macbeth to wash as bloodstain. Additionally Lady Macbeth is thought to be the more corrupting character through the play as she is confident to murder the king, but as the play ends she is identified to be more ruined than Macbeth and is driven into insanity. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth to portray a strong message to the audience. Lady Macbeth is exposed as a manly character, who wishes to have masculine features. She was driven to kill herself by guilt and we think that she executes herself by suicide. The play reveals many moral and religious issues; there is comparison and reference to biblical stories. ?? ?? ?? ?? Vimal Arumugam 10P English Coursework 28/04/2007 ...read more.

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