How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth's character and how does it change during the play?
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How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth's character and how does it change during the play? Lady Macbeth's character throughout the play changes very dramatically. At the start of the play she is portrayed as a powerful, manipulative woman who doesn't have second thoughts about plotting to kill the King of Scotland. However after the "dirty deed" is done Lady Macbeth's character seems to disintegrate. She suffers a nervous breakdown and apparently commits suicide. Why does this happen to Lady Macbeth? Is she really the cruel manipulative person that she is portrayed to be or does she have hidden depths to her character? Many different versions of Lady Macbeth have been made and released, and in every version, Lady Macbeth's character has been portrayed differently. She has been portrayed as devious, wicked, manipulative, and purely evil, with no conscience. Lady Macbeth has also been portrayed as a woman with a "white heart" and very complex feelings. The initial impression of the Macbeths is that they have a very strong relationship, this relationship is very equally based. The Macbeths also seems to have a lot of love and respect for each other. In the letter Lady Macbeth receives, Macbeth refers to his Lady as "My dearest partner in greatness," We can infer from this that the Macbeths are very close and discuss everything together.
Lady Macbeth sees murder as the only solution to how Macbeth will get the throne. Lady Macbeth preys and asks the spirits to help her and to guide her to complete the deed of murdering King Duncan. Surely a woman who is so evil would not ask the spirits for help in carrying out the "dirty deed". "Spirits unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the top full of direst cruelty". This shows that Lady Macbeth isn't entirely the evil manipulative woman as she is made out to be originally. Moreover this shows us that lady Macbeth isn't as strong as previously portrayed and needs the power and support of spirits to stop her from feeling the guilt and remorse after completing the murder. Another point that shows us how Lady Macbeth is strong-minded, ruthless and undeterred from committing murder is by the ease of how she persuades her unsure husband by manipulating his mind. Lady Macbeth knows that the only way that Macbeth will become king is through the death of King Duncan, she explains to Macbeth that the perfect time for the murder to be committed will be on the day that the king comes round to stay Lady Macbeth uses smart, strong, and effective ways to manipulate Macbeth's mind and finally persuades his conscious that this was the right time to kill Duncan.
She also retells events of the day the Macbeth's murdered the king Duncan. Lady Macbeth's condition worsens, and she goes in and out of sleep and has frequent delirious visions. This all maybe because the relationship between the Macbeth's has slowly deteriorated and been ripped apart. At the start of the play the Macbeth's were close, loving, and trusting. Now after Macbeth has been crowned king, he goes off on his own and does his own thing with out consulting his Lady and this is the reason for the break down of relationship between the Macbeth's. Lady Macbeth needs Macbeth for comfort, confide in, and to be safe, but without him she just falls apart. Now at the end of the play the audience are able to see that Lady Macbeth's character has changed from the strong, determined, and powerful woman that was first portrayed to a scared, obsessive, even mental woman who's previous actions have contributed greatly towards her current state. At the beginning Lady Macbeth finds the strength to entice Macbeth to murder Duncan. As time advances through, her pretended strength diminishes as she fights the torments of her conscience. Tending to her conscience Lady Macbeth cannot support Macbeth against Malcom. Lady Macbeth attempts to suppress her conscience, but fails. At the end she chooses death because she can no longer bear the torments of her guilt, so she commits suicide. Ashley Breed. Page 1 5/7/2007
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