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Discuss the role of Lady Macbeth in the play. Is it Lady Macbeth or Macbeth who has more power?

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Introduction

Discuss the role of Lady Macbeth in the play. Is it Lady Macbeth or Macbeth who has more power? Lady Macbeth takes a leading role in the play. From the very first sighting, that we encounter her, her strong powerful character over powers us. I will be focusing on the role of Lady Macbeth, whom is married to the main character Macbeth. Lady Macbeth plays and important role in the play, as she influences events that take place to a large extent. As the play develops, we see Lady Macbeth displaying many aspects and qualities of her personality. Lady Macbeth by nature I believe is a manipulative woman; she has a goal in her sights and seems to use everything in her power to reach it. Her involvement in the murder of King Duncan is dominating; she formulates and directs the whole plan. Lady Macbeth is the person who gives the impetus to Macbeth to do what she believes he must do. The first time we come into contact with her is in Act 1 Scene 5 of the play. We see her performing a soliloquy. Here she makes an immediate impact, performing on her own centre stage, reading a letter from Macbeth. The letter informs her of Macbeth's and Banqo's meeting with the witches. It tells her of the witches prophecies to him - the prophecy that one day she and her husband would become King and queen of Scotland. This idea seems to kindle a fire in Lady Macbeth. Immediately she seems to be forming a scheme, putting plans together to fulfil the witch's forecast of Macbeth's life. This shows how determined and ambitious Lady Macbeth is. 'Glamis thou art, and Cawdor: and shalt be what though art promise.' She promises that what the witch's predicted will be fulfilled. She indicates that she has immediately formulated the idea of a murder. ...read more.

Middle

The audience will pick up on this, realising that it was never Macbeth who ever originated the idea, it was in fact Lady Macbeth. Macbeth fails to see this though and she carries on. She reasons that when he (Macbeth) had proposed this 'enterprise' to her, then he 'were a man'. Lady Macbeth tries to change Macbeth's perception of what is manly. She tries to change what Macbeth perceives as man, being brave and daring to do 'all that may become a man', to a man being almost a killing machine. She does this by saying 'When you durst do it, then you were a man'. Lady Macbeth thinks that a man is someone who would do anything to make himself bigger, stronger or more powerful. Lady Macbeth then uses a slightly different tack; she uses shock tactics to demonstrate how she feels about following through with the murder. Lady Macbeth brings to mind the most grotesque image that she can think up. She says she would take a child, hers, and 'while it was smiling in my face...and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done this'. By this, Lady Macbeth reveals a side to her to her audience. She is evil and she will stop at nothing. What she meant by killing her child like this was to show her strength of conviction and willingness to carry out her word 'had I so sworn to you [Macbeth]'. It appears to work, and Macbeth falters saying (indicating a change of heart) 'If we should fail?' Lady Macbeth has now re-engaged him, and Macbeth is curious again. Again Lady Macbeth shows her strength of conviction and will, 'Screw your courage to the sticking place - and we'll not fail', Lady Macbeth I think hits these words with a real sense of belief, urging Macbeth to think about it. Failing? - Lady Macbeth declares that this is impossible. She proceeds to outline her plan, believing she now has Macbeth back onboard. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would imagine an actor playing the part of Lady Macbeth telling each incident that she calls to mind, as if it cuts her mentally - breaking up her mind. The agony that Lady Macbeth passes through will eventually lead to the last part of her deterioration. Her agony will drive her to despair and ultimately, she is mentioned to have committed suicide. In act 5 scene 5, we learn that Lady Macbeth is dead. This is a bad end for Lady Macbeth; though, a woman of powerful ambition and driving force, and a person in an influential position - she dies pathetically. This end runs parallel to the events of the play and reflects on the outcome of the theme of evil throughout. Lady Macbeth thought she was as evil as she could wish to be, as unconnected from other womanly and human qualities as she might choose. She believed ambition and will power were everything - yet it was all these things that ultimately lead to her end. Lady Macbeth thought that her ambition and worldly success would justify any move she made. Lady Macbeth would not accept that evil is self-destructive. Her impressions of overpowering evil were in the end of a day - only an impression. Her conscience first shows its greater power when she is unable to kill Duncan herself. Her next step was when she had to come to terms with her and her husbands reality of evil. The mounting guilt becomes heavier and heavier on her, with the killing of Banquo and the guards. She has to continue to keep up her appearances and her husbands resolve, excusing his behaviour, supporting him, all whilst keeping on top of her own mental condition until he overtakes her in evil. This has its obvious end; she has no way of escape, which further tortures her mental condition. The only way out of her self-created downward spiral was her own death. English Course Work Nadine Okyere Macbeth Ms Stevens ...read more.

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