• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore Shakespeare(TM)s Presentation of Lady Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of Lady Macbeth In the time Shakespeare was writing Macbeth there were many new ideas and concepts coming forward and the country was changing. There was growing tension between parliament and the King, resulting in many debates about kingship and what makes a good king and growing tension between Protestants and Catholics, resulting in plots and rebellion like the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. There were sharp divisions between rich and poor and society at the time was dominated by men. The church was very influential. Plays at the time often reflected political situations and taught moral lessons, and Macbeth, written in the early 1600s, echoes all the changes and tension present in the country at the time. In particular, Shakespeare focuses on the issues of kingship through Macbeth's struggles to, and on, the throne but it is Lady Macbeth that demonstrates how women were perceived in the male-dominated culture and the links between good and evil that are subtly examined by Shakespeare throughout the play. The way that women were perceived in Shakespeare's time is shown by widespread belief in witchcraft. Witches were believed to be women who had sold their soul to the devil in exchange for doing evil deeds. This suggests that women at the time could not be too powerful or independent and that women were maybe the inferior sex as they were easily coaxed into evil. ...read more.


It may have also been believed that witches stole and killed infants and as Lady Macbeth is willing to do so, it suggests that she is a like a witch. Her lack of a child with Macbeth might also have made her more willing to suggest that she would kill a baby as she would not have any maternal urges towards sheltering any babies. Macbeth goes to commit the murder whilst Lady Macbeth stays behind wondering how he is faring. At this point, Lady Macbeth can be said to act conventionally as she is waiting for her husband to return from doing an unpleasant act that was deemed unacceptable for women to do. Her streak of femininity is continued as she begins to worry. "Alack, I am afraid they have awaked" she says to herself showing that she is worrying about either the plan or Macbeth. If she is worrying about the plan failing, that could be argued to be a feminine trait as typically women worry more than men. If she is worrying about Macbeth and his safety, this would mean she is acting as a conventional wife as she is showing concern for her husband, as a wife should do. Some vulnerability is shown by Lady Macbeth as she tells of her reason why she could not have committed the murder herself. ...read more.


People who were bewitched or possessed would act unnaturally, suggesting that Lady Macbeth is bewitched. To show the audience that Lady Macbeth is losing her mind, Shakespeare changes the language that she uses. During her sleepwalking speech, Lady Macbeth talks in prose, rather than blank verse to show to the audience Lady Macbeth's descent into madness. Shakespeare also employs stagecraft to show the audience what Lady Macbeth is feeling. While she is sleepwalking, she performs the action of washing her hands - 'Yet here's a spot... Out, damned spot! Out, I say!'. This is to show the audience that she is trying to wash the blood off of her hands and so wash herself free of the guilt she feels for the murders. Through the entire play, Lady Macbeth is shown to have two sides, to have a seemingly innocent side and then to have a masculine, manipulative and evil side. With this manly and sinful streak, Lady Macbeth managed to influence her husband into committing crimes that he would not have committed on his own willpower. Because of this, Lady Macbeth could be said to be the one to blame for all the crimes that her husband committed; Macbeth can be said to be a "butcher" and Lady Macbeth his "fiendlike queen". Rarely does Lady Macbeth act as women should act and this could be Shakespeare showing that women have an immoral and controlling side which they do not show. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Explore Shakespeares presentation of Lady Macbeth and the witches. How might the presentation of ...

    3 star(s)

    In act 1 scene V, this is the scene where Lady Macbeth is introduced for the first time. The audience would have been very shocked and ashamed at her manner which she is presented in the first time you meet her.

  2. The letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth

    Following the witches prophecies Macbeth changes and this includes his relationship with Banquo as Banquos children will be Kings and he eventually murders Banquo . When the play was written there was a belief in witches and there was a connection with evil.

  1. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    She would then look upon Macbeth's face with a savage look plastered upon her own features and say " had I sworn to do so as you have done so to this". Although there have been several occasions in which Lady Macbeth has been portrayed as evil, there have also

  2. Hat kind of woman is Lady Macbeth? How influential is she in the play.

    During the same seen a messenger tells L Macbeth that the King will be visiting their castle for the night, hearing this news she is astonished and confused because she was just thinking about Macbeth being King. From this information L Macbeth decides almost instantaneously that the king is to

  1. How does Shakespeare explore and exploit our perceptions of gender roles in

    She does not believe that she can be female and plan a murder at the same time though. What is a good quality for a man is the exact opposite for a woman. Lady Macbeth knows this, and says in Act 1 Scene 5 -'unsex me here.'

  2. How would an audience in the time if Shakespeare reacts to the role of ...

    audience to now he has evil desires inside and so prays that the stars should not shine on his evil desires. "The Prince of Cumberland - that is a step, On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, For in my way it lies, stars hide your fires, Let not light see my black and deep desires.

  1. Explore the concepts of natural and unnatural in Shakespeare(TM)s Macbeth

    It is clear from the very beginning who their victim is intended to be, as they do so speak his name and chant as though they are putting a spell on him. They present him with the prophecies and they come true so we know they can see into the future.

  2. Macbeth. How does Shakespeare use language to explore and expose the characters state of ...

    ?Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?? Macbeth says this when they make him Thane of Cawdor. He gets confused because the Thane of Cawdor is still living so he tells them. ?The Thane of Cawdor still lives?. They tell him that the public claimed to overthrown him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work