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How does Lady Macbeth's language in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 reveal the change that has overcome her?

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Introduction

Q. How does Lady Macbeth's language in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 reveal the change that has overcome her? The lady Macbeth that we first meet in Act 1 Scene 5 is almost unrecognisable as the same person we meet in Act 5 Scene 1. The language that she utilizes in Act 1 most indefinitely is the language of a great lady. Her speeches are in blank verse; the strong rhythm of iambic pentameters emphasises her 'Spirits in thine ear', as the proposal of confidence and sense of purpose is declared (Act 1 Scene 5, line 25). However in Act 5 her language is no longer that of a woman of authority at the height of her powers but is the language of a broken woman who seems a pathetic child-like figure much destroyed by the events of the play. Lady Macbeth's soliloquy opens in Act 1 Scene 5 hypothesising echoes of the witches' predictions but tell us of her strong conviction that it will come true: 'Glamsis thou art an Cawdor; and shalt be; what thou art promis'd' (lines 14-15). Her speech signifies her overpowering presence, thus leading to a hero(ine), greater than Macbeth himself. She expresses what is on her mind believing wherever there is a will there is a way. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth's hypocrite side may be argued that Shakespeare wrote this deliberately to show the audience proof of her madness, eligibly Lady Macbeth is not calculatedly perpetrating the action. With the use of her coded language with Macbeth a sight of her intellectuality is shown. But where was she taught to gain perfect knowledge of such things? Her childhood may have been the place she picked up tricks, perhaps from her father who may have been the teacher of her true knowledge. Another assumption is that Lady Macbeth is naturally uneducated but she is able to read, as proofs are shown in the play (Macbeth's letter). Or perhaps Lady Macbeth has been zapped by the witches to have the right requirements for being the true 'Lady' the witches may have wanted. Her 'unsex' me speech shows her authority by hardly letting Macbeth speak and tells him that she shall be in charge of the murder: 'And you shall put/This night's great business into my dispatch'. We mainly assume she takes control of the murder to make the so called warrior, Macbeth, pity himself. By Macbeth feeling this Lady Macbeth has ripped out the 'warrior' out of him and has claimed it herself. For Macbeth to re-claim his dearest property he must commit the regicide and then, he will be re-titled 'Worthy Cawdor'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this Act Lady Macbeth's language is set in prose, which discloses that she is no longer the language of a great lady: 'Yet here's a spot' (Line 31). Later on, Lady Macbeth talks in a child-like manner revealing how weak she has become. During the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth her strongest point was her use of language, and now it seems her lowest point is her language. This withers down the image of the once 'great' Lady Macbeth and now helpless, ill-minded lady. 'Gone' is the sophisticated vocabulary and grammar to be replaced by language of almost child-like simplicity: 'One; two: why, then 'tis time to do't' (Line 34-5). This further emphasised by the occasion she speaks in verse suggestive of a nursery rhyme: 'Thane of fife had a wife'. (Line 41) The language of Lady Macbeth changes radically, and we see this change happening after the death of Duncan and the subsequent murders. Macbeth in Act 5 takes the role of being the 'man' and taking charge of the whole scenario. Lady Macbeth shows us that without the death of Duncan there would be no change in her, but just her evil revolving around her. She was greatly afflicted by the regicide which changed her radically. Her use of language and power soon grows fainter, and soon after this scene Lady Macbeth herself fades away. ...read more.

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