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How Does Lady Macbeth Change During The Play?

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How Does Lady Macbeth Change During The Play? Sally Marston 11DC As Lady Macbeth is clearly one of the most important characters in the play, it is interesting that there is a contrasting view of her from the point when she is introduced, up until the point when Malcolm describes her as a 'fiend-like queen' in Act 5 Scene 9. Shakespeare brings her into the play as a very mundane and normal person yet by Act 5 she has developed into something completely different. Fiend may be described as an enemy or foe; the archenemy of mankind' which is a great contrast from the everyday wife that she first represents. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter from her husband, she makes a speech which demonstrates one element of this change in her attitude towards power. 'It is too full o' the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.' What Lady Macbeth says, shows that she thinks he is too full of the natural qualities that he inherited, of behaving like a decent human being, to take the quiet route into Kingship. When Lady Macbeth uses the words 'milk', it causes the reader to think of natural imagery as well as child imagery because it makes you think of his mother breast-feeding him as a child. ...read more.


This is a persuasive technique because she knows that she will get him to do what she wants him to do if she can bring his relationship with her into it because she knows that he loves her more than anything. She comments that he never dares to do what he really wants to do because he is too afraid. 'Art thou afeard?', 'Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would", like the poor cat I' the adage?' In the period in which this was written, for a man to be called afraid or scared was always a bad thing as they always competed with each other to compare braveness. The adage was a proverb - 'The cat wanted to eat fish, but didn't want to wet her paws' - so she is comparing him to this old saying making him realize that he should do what he wants rather than looking forward towards the consequences of his actions. 'And, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.' She brings his previous braveness into it saying that he would be even braver and fearless than he was previously which would make him a better man. ...read more.


She has turned into the nervous character that she once told her husband off for being. Lady Macbeth has become obsessed by the murder and death of Duncan and Banquo and is getting herself into the same trouble, which she previously tried to previously her husband from getting into. When Lady Macbeth's character is reported dead to Macbeth he reacts differently to how most husbands would react to their wife's death. 'She should have died hereafter: There would have been a time for such a word.' He reacts very calmly and says that she should have died sooner. I think his character had distanced himself from Lady Macbeth's character when she became mentally ill so it didn't hit him as hard as it maybe should have done. I think it has less of an affect on the reader as if she had dies earlier in the play because there is nothing big made of it and it isn't a very dramatic death. Lady Macbeth is continually changing in character throughout the play and this is very intriguing for the reader and it makes you want to find out more about her. I return to Malcolm's description in Act 5 Scene 9 because I think this is very true of her character throughout. 'Fiend-like queen, Who, as 't is thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life;'. ...read more.

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