• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. What is your opinion of Lady Macbeth as a wife and as a woman?

    At this she knows instantly how to overcome his fears. She begins to taunt him and asks him 'was the hope drunk' when she asked if he would murder the king. I think that the is a very clever woman, as she knows exactly how to twist Macbeths' mind.

  2. How can blame be apportioned in “Macbeth”?

    Perhaps Lady Macbeth felt that suppressing her conscience for the deed was enough and that later the thought of the deed would just dissipate. The outcome is not this way, though, because Macbeth and Lady Macbeth often cannot go to sleep, and if they do, they experience terrifying dreams.

  1. How much sympathy do we have for Macbeth as the play progresses?

    During this scene we learn about Macbeth's possible motives. Would he have ever thought that he could become King, let alone murdering the King, or is it the witches who start off the whole process of Duncan's murder? Initially it is Macbeth that comes up with the idea.

  2. Macbeth’s crimes are blood, appalling and pitiless. Does Shakespeare present this “butcher”, “hell-kite” and ...

    When Macbeth says this there is a sense that the witch has already got some power over him, even though they have not met each other yet. At the battle the sergeant seems very happy that they had Macbeth on his side.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work