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How does Lady Macbeth's character develop throughout Macbeth? Choose some key points in the play that give evidence for this.

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Introduction

How does Lady Macbeth's character develop throughout Macbeth? Choose some key points in the play that give evidence for this. The basic story of Macbeth by William Shakespeare is about a Scottish thane who learns of three prophecies, which overcome Macbeth leaving his mental state in tatters due to his determination, greed and desire to fulfill those prophecies, even if it means it goes against anything he's ever known morally. Macbeth is an important man in Scotland; he is already the Thane of Glamis and a good friend/kinsman to the elderly King Duncan. He is also a 'fearless' soldier of war and together with his best friend Banquo, came into the top ranks of the army because of his ability and bravery. But for some reason, for Macbeth this isn't enough. In one of the first scenes of the play Macbeth meets with the three Weird Sisters who tell him that he will be the Thane of Cawdor and 'King hereafter'; and it's this final prophecy that changes things for Macbeth. Judging by the films of the play that I have seen, Macbeth always seems to look caught out or guilty when the final Weird Sister says this, so I imagine that it is his deepest, darkest desire which he suppressed so no one suspected him of being a traitor to his country and his king. But, the Weird Sisters didn't actually tell him specifically when he would become king; it could be right then, or it could be in several years time. But Macbeth is an impatient man it seems, and so he thinks of how he could speed up the prediction -- and comes to the conclusion it would have to be murder without any hesitation. ...read more.

Middle

She, when thinking of murder believes that only a man could be heartless enough to kill (another feminine tendency of hers) and she thinks that she would need those attributes to be able to kill King Duncan. 'Unsex me here ... Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall...' She denies herself her own femininity by constantly aspiring to 'be like a man' emotionally but by using her physical features as a demonstration. She would rather be a murderer than a mother and this inhumanity on her part is quite distressing and makes her a barbaric character with no morals and with a sadistic streak -- which is very frightening actually, to know that with the power she has over other powerful people, she can accomplish anything, whether other people have to die for her to have her own way or not, and unfortunately, people do die because she changes her husband into a remorseless 'killing-machine'; for want of a better phrase. What she is actually saying though, is that she does actually have these traits anyway, whereas Macbeth does not: so she says that she would make a better man than Macbeth if only she could rid herself of her woman's features. And Lady Macbeth is actually summoning demons and the devil to take her woman's qualities and for them to be replaced with an emotionless heart and a cruel mind, which in my opinion she already has; a play's purpose is basically to entertain, so if something is apparently necessary to build up tension or to have some ulterior underlying-meaning then, it must be so, even if it really doesn't aid the character development or the plot of the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Upon a brief study of other 'mad' characters created by Shakespeare, Macbeth in his hallucinations at the banquet earlier in the play had speech in verse, whereas Edgar from King Lear whilst pretending to be mad had his speech in verse - either proving that Shakespeare was inconsistent in this rule (the crazed main characters having prose speech) or my rule is a wavering theory. Again, the latter would probably be true. Actually though, Lady Macbeth losing her mind does not fit her character, a lot of the theories as to how it happens stay theories as it doesn't forewarn it in the text and again, I don't see any weakness in her before her final scene. The reason as to why it happens though is obvious: evil cannot triumph over good and so has to be defeated - just as Macduff defeats Macbeth at the end of the play. The play is a tragedy, and generally it is believed that Macbeth is the tragic character because it is his ambition which is his fatal flaw which then leads him to his death and his fatal flaw draws in his wife. However, I don't think this. Lady Macbeth is the other tragic character in the play. Her fatal flaw is her determination and to some extent, her sexuality. If Lady Macbeth was not a woman, then I doubt she would have been able to influence Macbeth into committing the first murder therefore, leaving the story of Macbeth without a plot and rather pointless. I conclude that the two scenes are important, Act 1, scene v is very important to the plot and Act 5, scene i is more important to the morals of the story; that good must conquer evil. Natalie Brown 10KJB - Macbeth Essay - Coursework Piece 10/06/2005 - Mrs Bartholemew - EFB Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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