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Discuss the changes in Lady Macbeth's character and explore why she continues to fascinate audiences.

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Discuss the changes in Lady Macbeth's character and explore why she continues to fascinate audiences. William Shakespeare's Macbeth was written between 1603-1606 when Queen Elizabeth was on her death bed, childless and unmarried. She named James VI of Scotland her successor. He then became James 1 of England. William Shakespeare wrote Macbeth clearly with the new king in mind. The story Macbeth was taken from a basic story called 'The Chronicles of Scotland' a history book written by Raphel Holinished, but he changed a lot of it. Macbeth is a tragic play full of evil and ambition. This play also raises a lot of questions about guilt, conscience and the true nature of evil. We are first introduced to Lady Macbeth in Act 1 scene 5 where she was reading a letter written by her husband, in which he informs her of the witches' prophecies. We immediately see that she believes in the witches' predictions and is determined to make Macbeth king so she may become queen. "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promis'd."(Act 1 scene 5) But she fears her husband's good nature will prevent him from taking the quickest route to the throne. We can see this in the sililoque where she say's: "Yet do I fear thy nature, it is too full o'th milk of humane kindness, to catch the nearest way." ...read more.


(Act 1 scene 7) Lady Macbeth eventually manages to persuade Macbeth's feelings and proceeds to tell him the plan that she has evilly made up. She will make the guards drunk leaving Macbeth to kill Duncan and the guards shall get the blame. Lady Macbeth is too confident to see that the plan has many weaknesses and can easily go wrong. She believes that intrepidity is all that is needed to carry out the murder. In Act 2 scene 2 we see that Lady Macbeth has had to drink to keep up her sprits: "That which hath made them drink hath made me bold;" (Act 2 scene 2) We understand from all her evil intentions that she could not murder Duncan due to the fact that he reminded her of her father. This scene raises questions for the audiences: is Lady Macbeth actually utterly evil or is she just fooling herself into thinking that she is completely evil. Macbeth returns to the chamber. Lady Macbeth is not sure he has done the deed: "Alack, I am afraid they have awaked and 'tis not done." (Act 2 scene 2) Macbeth insists that he has done the deed yet returning with the two bloody daggers Lady Macbeth insults him and takes the daggers back to where Duncan's body is. During Act 2 scene 3 when Macduff discovers that Duncan has been murdered Lady Macbeth faints to draw attention away from Macbeth and on to her. ...read more.


All the pressure Lady Macbeth had been put through proved to be to much for her. Even during her madness she was tortured to the point of death. When I first encountered Lady Macbeth I felt loathsome towards her character. I can't imagine someone wanting to become more evil and commit such a deed. I realized that when she was going to murder Duncan she couldn't do it as it reminded her of her father I felt less hatred towards her realizing that she was not as she seemed. During the banquet I felt sorry for her because her and her husband were no longer communicating with eachother which was quite upsetting due to the fact that they used to be quite close but after the murder their relationship fell apart. She is put under a lot of pressure. When Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost she has to cover for his behavior. I think that Shakespeare has created an outstanding character in Lady Macbeth. Not many women would be able to gain full control over their husbands, the way Lady Macbeth did, especially during the period she lived in. What I find most amazing about lady Macbeth is that during the beginning of the play, Shakespeare creates a character in Lady Macbeth that makes us loathe her and during the end we begin to pity her. Very few theatrical characters would make us loathe a character and then begin to change our feelings towards them at the end. ...read more.

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