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Examine Lady Macbeth's Speech and behaviour in selected scenes in Macbeth. What do they reveal about her character, her relationship with her husband and her role in the play?

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Introduction

Donna Davies GCSE English Examine Lady Macbeth's Speech and behaviour in selected scenes in Macbeth. What do they reveal about her character, her relationship with her husband and her role in the play? Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in 1605 or 1606 when James I was on the throne. It is essentially a play about Scotland with kingship and loyalty at its heart. King James would have been most interested in Macbeth as he had an attempt on his life known as the 'Gunpowder Plot'. The traitor, Guy Fawkes was executed and to watch Macbeth die would have pleased him. Shakespeare was also pleasing his King by paying homage to his Scottish heritage by portraying Banquo, his descendant as a good character. Loyalty, one of the themes in Macbeth would have been important to the King as his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was also executed as a traitor. James I had a keen interest in the supernatural and even wrote a book on the subject called 'Demonology'. The supernatural is another theme in Macbeth and it runs throughout the play. In this essay the supernatural and other themes present in Shakespeare's Macbeth will be discussed further. ...read more.

Middle

In an attempt to convince her husband to kill Duncan she uses emotional blackmail in Act I Scene 7. She questions his love for her 'Such I account thy love' (I.7.39) and taunts his masculinity by saying he looks 'green and pale' (I.7.38). Lady Macbeth is uncompromising in this scene and does not seem to care whether the personal taunts will hurt Macbeth. This reveals that her only justification for murder is her ambition. At this stage they are not working together and are not in agreement. In addition to being uncompromising Lady Macbeth is also very persuasive. Macbeth had decided against killing Duncan as killing his kinsman would return to haunt him and ironically it does just that. Lady Macbeth uses different methods to persuade him to do the deed. She fires a series of short rhetorical questions at him, giving him no time to answer. All he can do is agree. Lady Macbeth also tests his sense of virtue by asking 'What beast was'nt then/That made you break this enterprise to me?'(I.7.48) As a soldier loyalty and honour would be virtues that would be highly regarded. Going back on a promise would be dishonourable. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is feeling isolated in her chamber and her subconscious, which has been suppressed up until now is reliving the murder. In this scene the ironic foreshadowing from earlier scenes is fully understood. In Act 2 Scene 2 Lady Macbeth believed that 'a little water clears us of this deed' however she is found to reanact washing her hands free of blood night after night. She also stated earlier that 'These deeds must not be thought/After these ways; so, it will make us mad' (II.2.34) and as we see in this scene she is now suicidal and showing signs of madness. Lady Macbeth has a very important role to play in Macbeth as she provides excitement and drama. Her actions are controversial as she is uncompromising in achieving her goals. It is shocking to see a woman behave in this way. Even though she is perceived as evil one can't help but pity her as she started an unstoppable chain of events that had a detrimental effect on her life and her relationship with her husband. The strongest theme in this play is ambition and it is the most destructive to the Macbeth's and their relationship. The main lesson to be learnt from Macbeth is that greed doesn't pay. This is a lesson that is still being learnt today. ...read more.

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