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How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth? In what ways does she change through the course of the play, and how does this affect the audience's response?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth? In what ways does she change through the course of the play, and how does this affect the audience's response? Shakespeare uses his characterisation of Lady Macbeth to provide a key focus for the audience, as they interpret his presentation of a debate about the nature of good and evil. The audience has to decide about what they think of her actions. As throughout the course of the play, Lady Macbeth is portrayed differently. Shakespeare presents her in such a way that the audience's response considering her persona may vary at different times. Shakespeare presents her at the beginning as a cunning woman who devises a plot to kill the king. However, towards the end Lady Macbeth is shown as insane and eventually dies as a result, possibly because of her guilty conscience of killing the king. Therefore after witnessing the vulnerable side to Lady Macbeth's character. The audience's response will vary. However, this will depend on the type of audience, as a modern day audience will be more malleable towards her nature and will not consider it unnatural for a woman to be like her. Whereas a Shakespearean audience may be unable to comprehend her tactics as efficiently, or they might consider her to be bewitched due to popular belief in witches at the time. ...read more.

Middle

This would be the biggest taunt for a man and a brave fighter. By using words like 'valour' Lady Macbeth effectively manages to do this. She then criticises his manhood, "When you durst do it then you were a man/ and to be more then what you were, you would/ be so much more the man." Again, Lady Macbeth uses emotional blackmail and taunts his masculinity. Which, at the time must have been the biggest offence of all. Since pride meant a lot to men especially to men of high status, such as Macbeth. After repetitive taunting and teasing Macbeth finally succumbs and admits to doing it. "If we should fail?" He is now considering doing it. At the end of the scene he says, "False face must hide what the false heart doth know." When finally Macbeth consents to doing it, the audience perceive Lady Macbeth as a witch, because she persuades a man who was strongly against her ideas, but by twisting her words and using manipulative implications, she makes herself look more witchlike in the eyes of the audience. At the beginning of the scene Lady Macbeth appears to be bold and challenging, she invigorates her ambition and intention to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth enters after making the guards drunk, this is shown to the audience by her speech, "That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold, what hath quenched them hath given me fire." ...read more.

Conclusion

At the beginning, Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as an ambitious and powerful woman. She has the power to change her husband's opinion, a man whom others regard as a swift and deadly soldier. By regarding her as an equal the audience may perceive their marriage to be unnatural as she is able to convince him with her talks within a small amount of time. By her intention to kill Duncan the audience perceive her as witchlike. However, later on in the play as Lady Macbeth becomes guilty of her doings and eventually dies as a result of it, the audience are then aware of her true human conscience, and so by their ability to reflect their guilt in Lady Macbeth's character they eventually pity her. For it may be that she carried out all these acts for her husband, it may be because she was so deeply in love with him that she was blinded by her actions. Therefore, the audience's response will vary depending on the type of audience, as a modern audience wouldn't find it unusual for a woman to incite or be regarded as an equal to a man, therefore they will be more likely to be able to feel sympathy for her. Whereas, a Shakespearean audience would find it very difficult to perceive, which is why a Shakespearean audience may find it hard to be sympathetic towards her in the end and instead might feel that she gets what she deserves. Jumina Qureshi 11:9 ...read more.

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