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How does Lady Macbeth Change During The Course Of The Play 'Macbeth'.

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Introduction

How does Lady Macbeth Change During The Course Of The Play 'Macbeth' Lady Macbeth's character changes a lot during the course of the play. The character at the beginning is so different to the one presented in her final scene would not even be recognised as the same person. The play accurately depicts the progression of Lady Macbeth from a dominating, confident, ruthless killer, to a weak, mentally unstable, dying woman. The first scene she appears in shows Lady Macbeth reading a letter from Macbeth regarding his encounter with the witches after they predicted he would become King. This scene illustrates the immensely strong bond between her and her husband, in the way that she doesn't doubt him for a moment. As soon as she finishes reading the letter, she immediately starts formulating and doesn't question how or why or when he is to become king: "Glamis thou art and Cawdor and shall be What thou art promised" This scene can also be said to display impatience in her character. She accuses Macbeth of being: "Too full o'th'milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way" ...instantly deciding that murder is the quickest (and therefore preferable) method to ensuring this prediction is made flesh. Rather than accepting that Macbeth would not be willing to go to these lengths whatever the reward, she continues toying with this idea, planning how it could be done despite this. [----] Just to prove how much this would mean to Lady Macbeth, she states that since Macbeth suggested it in the first place, she would rather: "while [our child] was smiling in my face, have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out" than allow Macbeth to back out now. ...read more.

Middle

being a coward that sparked this attitude as a way to prove his masculinity: "When you durst do it, then you are a man" The next few scenes mark the beginning of the deterioration of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship. In the first scene that Lady Macbeth appears in, they seem -as previously mentioned- to understand each other perfectly and not doubt each other's judgment. Now, however, he fails to consult her or even inform her on his actions which puts a great strain on their relationship as neither of them are used to the role they are taking on. Lady Macbeth is slowly becoming the weaker of the two. Now it is Macbeth who is scheming, and his failure to discuss any of his plans with her. The breakdown in communication between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is illustrated in Act Three Scene Two where Lady Macbeth feels that it is required for her to ask permission to speak to her own husband. She says to a servant: 'Say to the king, I would attend his leisure For a few words.' This formality would not be unusual heard from anyone else due his rise to the throne, but from his wife, this impersonal use of 'the king' rather than 'my husband' or his name suggests a mutual feeling of detachment. In Lady Macbeth's four line soliloquy, she says: 'Nought's had, all's spent, Where our desire is got without content' Here she is saying that nothing is gained, everything is lost when what they had wished for was brought without happiness, leaving her without the loving relationship demonstrated in the first half of the play and without any hope of it returning. ...read more.

Conclusion

One way to explain this is that Lady Macbeth 'created a monster' so to speak, and although their relationship was matriarchal (which was very unusual for the time), Macbeth started to break away from her and she began to lose control of him; for example, the murder of Banquo. She presents an outwardly stable foundation of control in which she grasps. As Macbeth becomes less dependent on his wife, she loses more control. She loses control of her husband, but mostly, of herself, proving her unstable truth. She no longer matters to Macbeth and it becomes impossible for her to finish what she started. The consequence of Lady Macbeth's insistence to make Macbeth more ambitious and to take the life of the King was that it made him feel he had to prove his bravery even more and ended up seeing murder as the only way to achieve what he wanted and he slowly but surely became a slave to his own ambition. Ironically, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth died because of the very things they saw as the most important, whether directly or indirectly. In conclusion, the ultimate reason in my opinion that Shakespeare chooses to allow Lady Macbeth's character to change so considerably, leading to her seemingly inconsequential death, is to demonstrate that although some people may be easily influenced, it is impossible to control someone. Lady Macbeth tried to control Macbeth for her own means to become Queen, but made it so he got to a point where no-one mattered, and once she couldn't make him prove his love for her anymore, she was left with nothing but her guilty conscience to contend with, which became the death of her. ...read more.

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