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How does Shakespeare shape the perception of Lady Macbeth?

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How does Shakespeare shape the perception of Lady Macbeth? Although the play is named 'Macbeth', Lady Macbeth seems to have the most major role and is probably the most well known character, not just in this piece of Shakespeare's writing, but in all of his plays. In this essay, the way in which Shakespeare shapes the perception of Lady Macbeth will be discussed, using direct quotes from the text, explaining how it works and how the character of the Lady is created, but also through which she changes mentally. The audience first meets Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5; we find her reading a letter from Macbeth. The contents of the letter is already known by the audience, however it gives us a good indication of what their relationship is like, with quotes such as 'my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing..', shows they obviously have great respect for each other, and that Macbeth wants her to join in his happiness when or if he becomes King. He also doesn't leave anything out; he seems to fully trust her. Although they do have this somewhat close relationship, Lady Macbeth has her doubts. ...read more.


This short piece of writing tells us that when on his own, Macbeth's thoughts are actually morally right and he does have some sanity. This is when Lady Macbeth enters the scene only to find out her husband has had second thoughts about the murder; of which her reaction is pure anger. She accuses him of being a coward and questions his manhood, 'When you durst do it, then you were a man'. Usually (and especially in the days of Shakespeare) women were looked upon as the lesser person in a relationship. Although she actually seems to take the male role in their relationship, telling Macbeth what to do all of the time, when it comes down to the dirty work she expects everything from her male counterpart and wouldn't risk getting blood on her own hands. This could also suggest that she could be a witch, as witches were not physically able to kill anyone; only manipulate people's minds and trick them. What Lady Macbeth does, is instead of murdering Duncan herself, manipulates Macbeth's way of thinking and eventually turns him insane, as well as herself. Just after Macbeth has murdered Duncan, in Act 2 Scene 2, the Lady is just as nervy and as tense as her husband. ...read more.


She seems at this moment, very isolated from everyone else, and also her husband. This is the first time we have actually seen her in many scenes, which gives us this since of concealment as well. It is these pitiful actions and broken phrases that finally show the severity of Lady Macbeth's insanity. It is also this that leads to her tragic downfall, which is eventually suicide; this was a sin in Shakespeare's times and is still frowned upon today. As has been said in the introduction, Lady Macbeth probably does have the most major role in the whole play. It sadly declines as the play goes on however; she ends up completely losing her mind over the death of Duncan, the man she looked up to as her father. Moreover, her tragic comeuppance was just as similar to her husband's. They both had been wreaked with guilt, but in different ways. Lady Macbeth kept her softer emotions to herself, which lead to desperate attempts to cry out whilst sleepwalking. Macbeth ended more bloodthirsty than when he began. He started a bold, courageous and respectable soldier, but died as a pitiless laughing stock with his decapitated head being held up for everyone to see. Lady Macbeth's story seems to be the most tragic of both though; slowly being mentally tortured with paranoia and her wellbeing very quickly declining. ...read more.

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