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Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play.

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Introduction

Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play. Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's most popular plays and is set in Scotland. The title of the play is the main character (Macbeth). The play opens with three witches ("the weird sisters") discussing their upcoming meeting with Macbeth. The plot consists of Macbeth and his wife (Lady Macbeth) forming a plan to overthrow the King, Prince and most of the Lords of Scotland (Macbeth originally being a Lord himself). They start successfully by murdering the King (Duncan), however a number of murders that follow bring out guilt between them and they both end up dead by the end of the play. This essay will discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play. This will be done by discussing and commenting on the following points; her first impression to the audience, how she criticises Macbeth and persuades him to do things and her relationship with Macbeth. Also discussion and comment on the techniques Shakespeare uses to portray her character and create dramatic scene, the way and why Shakespeare compares her with other females and also how she appears in different parts of the play. Lady Macbeth's character will be viewed differently by an audience in the 17th century than by an audience in the 20th century. ...read more.

Middle

As they will feel that Lady Macbeth is not just a fourth witch but she is an evil character that plans and acts through her crimes. At the start of Act two Scene two Lady Macbeth feels quite uneasy, "Hark! - Peace!" She is also feeling that Macbeth should be perfectly prepared to kill Duncan with no guilt. She however admits that she cannot kill Duncan and this is because Duncan reminds her of her father; "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't" What this shows about Lady Macbeth's character is that she does have an ounce of guilt feeling and conscience and that she is not completely cold hearted and evil. After the murder Lady Macbeth still does not react to Macbeth in a positive way, she still says that he is weak; "Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead..." She accuses him of being weak willed: only children are afraid of nasty pictures. At this point in the play Lady Macbeth's relationship with Macbeth is that Lady Macbeth is in power and Macbeth is persuaded by her by mere criticisms. After the first murder Lady Macbeth does not stop criticising her husband. This is presented by Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth that he is weak and that he should be a man. ...read more.

Conclusion

This prepares the audience for her death. The news of Lady Macbeth's death is not very surprising to the audience as they have been prepared for it; it is a closure of her character in the play. During the play Lady Macbeth starts of as a strong, aggressive villain and gradually changes, she is presented as a Lady with a fierce attitude and that can seem to handle anything to begin with. However as Macbeth starts to lose control slightly Lady Macbeth has to work harder to keep everything in order. This seems to start to get on top of her, especially when the lords start to get suspicious. Guilt also starts to come out of her and this is portrayed when she is sleep walking. On stage Shakespeare presents her as a beautiful women however also an evil and demented women who cherished murdering, the audience's reaction to her in the 17th century would be that she is a shocking character; not only because she loves to kill but also that the fact that a women takes the liberty to commit horrible sins. My personal opinion of her character is that I feel that she is a unique character that is presented brilliantly with usually excellent stagecraft and good language techniques used by Shakespeare; the character could be good for any tragedy play. Also I believe her role in the play is absolutely vital and that it could be argued that she is the main character in the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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