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How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth in the play "Macbeth"? In your opinion, is she a character the audience can have sympathy for?

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How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth in the play "Macbeth"? In your opinion, is she a character the audience can have sympathy for? Lady Macbeth fulfills her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her "our honored hostess." She is loving to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to be king. Lady Macbeth's character changes throughout the play from being a loving wife to being a crazed psycho path. When Lady Macbeth receives her husband's letter, she is eager to talk him into doing a murder. To prepare herself, she calls upon evil spirits to "Stop up the access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose". "Compunctious visitings of nature" are the messages of our natural human conscience, which tell us that we should treat others with kindness and consideration. Lady Macbeth wants to be unnatural, so that she can be "fell," deadly. In the next breath, she calls upon those evil spirits, the "murdering ministers" to "Come to my woman's breasts, / And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, / Wherever in your sightless substances / You wait on nature's mischief!". ...read more.


It seems that she doesn't have a conscience, planning the whole murder. Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to "look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under't" this is telling us that Macbeth's wife wants him to look and act normal but hide his foul intentions, this makes Lady Macbeth seem like a cold hearted mastermind to the audience as she expects Macbeth to have dinner with the king whilst knowing that a few hours he will have to kill him in cold blood. Again this does nothing for the amount of sympathy the audience feel for her. As Lady Macbeth waits for Macbeth to murder King Duncan and return to her, she says of the king's guards, "I have drugg'd their possets, / That death and nature do contend about them, / Whether they live or die". Here she uses the word "nature" in the sense of life, which struggles with death. Later in the scene, after Macbeth has killed the king, he frets that he has murdered sleep and that he will never sleep again. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth's immediate thoughts may make her appear as thoroughly irreligiously cold and ambitious to the audience as she manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to murder she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth's remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king, it is she who steadies her husband's nerves immediately after the crime has been perpetrated. Afterward, however, she begins a slow slide into madness, just as ambition affected her more strongly than Macbeth before the crime, so did guilt plague her more strongly afterward. By the close of the play, she has been reduced to sleepwalking through the castle, desperately trying to wash away an invisible bloodstain. Lady Macbeth's sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope. Significantly, she kills herself, signalling her total inability to deal with the legacy of their crimes. On the whole the audience of the play "Macbeth" could sympathise with Lady Macbeth at some points as she was suffering but in other cases they could hate her as she was cold hearted, selfish and evil. DIPESH PARMAR 12V ...read more.

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