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How does Lady Macbeth change between Act1 and Act5

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Introduction

How does Lady Macbeth change between Act One and Act Five? Lady Macbeth is one of the key representatives of evil in the play. She goes from a ruthless woman to an unsteady lady dominated by guilt. At first the Macbeth's relationship would appear to be an equal. However, Lady Macbeth was the dominant of the two characters; she can persuade Macbeth to do anything, if she so wished. She often uses humiliation and emotional bribery to manipulate Macbeth to execute her will. Lady Macbeth's inverted sense of morality is ... when she interprets her husband's kindness as a fault: Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it. Lady Macbeth is fearful ('fear thy nature') that Macbeth's 'kindness' will stop him from becoming king. Lady Macbeth clearly believes that the way for Macbeth to gain 'the golden round' is by murdering Duncan. She wants Macbeth to become king in the quickest possible way, through murder ('the nearest way'). It is clear that she is not bothered about the morals in human life and only considers what will best satisfy purely practical demands. She says that a deed such as this would require ambition, but she criticizes Macbeth for his lack of evil: 'The illness should attend it'. ...read more.

Middle

She says to Macbeth that when you thought of the idea, you were a man, and now when the time has come to kill Duncan you have lost your courage and therefore your manliness. [replacing concept of manliness as virtue with alternative concept of manliness as courage, even when applied in evil direction] In this scene she goes from bad to worse, by first just mentioning the idea of murder, then she sets a goal, in getting Duncan killed, and seems to use everything in her power to reach it. Her first tactic is to not use words such as death and kill, to Macbeth and instead to say phrases such as: 'Shall sun that morrow see', hiding foul ideas behind pretty words. She realise it doesn't work so she goes on to insult his manhood and almost blackmail him into making him prove he's a man. This especially upsets Macbeth as he worked very hard on and off the battle field to prove how much of a man he was. At the beginning of the play it is quite natural to believe that Macbeth has the power [SHOW the power she had by continuing to analyse the text - look at Macbeth's adoption of her language - Bring forth men children...] in the couple but here you finally realise its Lady Macbeth who is the one with all the mental power within the couple and despite Macbeth knowing the consequences he lets Lady Macbeth persuade him into committing the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth realises if the Macbeths are to get away with the murder of Duncan, she must keep her wits about her. Lady Macbeth finishes a complete transformation, and has no control over her own actions, let alone her husbands; Here the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Lady Macbeth becomes filled with guilt and can no longer control herself, and is finally driven to insanity. It is interesting to compare this speech with the one in Act 2 Scene2 when she says 'A little water clears of this deed;' however, now she is saying that nothing can clear us of the guilt from the murders. This shows an complete change in Lady Macbeth's behaviour. Also in the banquet scene she criticizes Macbeth for confessing about the murders, uncontrollably but now she is doing it. This is the last scene where Lady Macbeth features until we are informed of her death. The once emotionless witch was over powered by guilt leading to death. The murder of Duncan did not bring the expected happiness for the Macbeths 'Nought's had, all's spent, where our desire is got without content:' Many lives were lost and ruined through the actions of Lady Macbeth. At first she was in control but she created a murderous monster in Macbeth, who continued to kill to cover his tracks. Lady Macbeth turned from a ruthless witch into a defenceless lady all because of the murder of Duncan. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anthony Nawrocki ...read more.

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