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

How far can the audience sympathise with Lady Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Macbeth Coursework In the play we see that Lady Macbeth is a multifaceted character - at times she behaves in a way which would make us see her as a "fiend-like monster"; however later in the play we begin to see her as a "Lady of remorse." Lady Macbeth first appears in the play in Act 1 Scene 5 when she has just received Macbeth's letter and is reading it. She does not doubt the veracity of the witches' prophecies. Immediately we begin to see her own scheming ambition, "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promised" - her only concern was that her husband would not be able to act in such a way so as to fulfil the prophecy "Yet I do fear thy nature; It is too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way." She understands Macbeth's nature very well, and knows that she will have to use her own influence and power over him to compel him to act, "Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee." She is hopes that she will be able to bring him to her point of view "pour my spirits in thine ear" and that she ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth has planned out the murder to the smallest detail, but Macbeth subverts this by returning with the "bloody daggers'. He, traumatized by the experience and is unable to return to Duncan's chambers, "I'll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on 't again I dare not." Lady Macbeth is angry and decides to go back herself, "Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead but are as pictures." It is here that Lady Macbeth again demonstrates her own inhumanity. She is able to separate herself from the reality of a sleeping king, a human being, living, with friends and family, and view the sleeping "but as pictures". At the same time she appears to be the dominant one, giving Macbeth orders and instructions, "Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand." However it is in this scene that she shows some glimmer of compassion and humanity - the only thing stopping her doing the deed herself was that Duncan bore a resemblance to her father, "had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't." When Macbeth tells her in this scene that he could not say "amen" as the guards were praying he is making another reference to the beliefs of the time, that those who were possessed by the devil showed an inability to pray. ...read more.

Conclusion

There would have been a time for such a word." His only thought on the death of his wife is that it would have been more convenient for her to have died later, or, more likely, that her death was untimely, premature. In the last scene of the play we are informed by Malcolm that Macbeth's "fiend-like" queen had taken her own life. We can only assume that it was her feelings of guilt and remorse that drove her to it, as her doctor commented, "Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles." In conclusion, it appears that in the first half of the play, lady Macbeth is portrayed as a "fiend-like monster", but as we move into the second part of the play her behaviour begins to change and we see her portrayed, somewhat, as a "lady of remorse". We can clearly see the downfall and deterioration of her character, how she begins to lose control over her life, and how her relationship with her husband begins to fall apart. I believe, however, that Lady Macbeth's displays of remorse are not entirely genuine. Her regret only begins to be displayed when her ambitions for Macbeth are not realised, "Naught's had, all's spent." Her failure, both moral and worldly, ultimately leads to her suicide. I do not believe she deserves our compassion or pity - her moral poverty is too great, and her remorse too contemptible. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Shows understanding of Lady Macbeth's character with textual support. Lacking in empathy for her character. Some references to language.

Marked by teacher Lynne Jung 20/02/2012

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. Marked by a teacher

    How does Lady Macbeth change throughout the play, "Macbeth"?

    5 star(s)

    where she becomes a sleepwalking wreck. Her usual verse becomes prose which Shakespeare uses to show a drop in status and to highlight her confused brain. She is so desperate to be with Macbeth that in her "slumbery agitation" she imagines she is there and talks to him often referring back to scenes they shared together in the past.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    The next scene our Lady appears in is Act 2, scene 2. Lady Macbeth has drugged the bodyguards as she stated she would, and is waiting on Macbeths return from killing Duncan. She is exhilarated with excitement but fears that the murder has not been gone through with.

  1. Peer reviewed

    A letter from Lady Macbeth to her husband.

    4 star(s)

    My heart aches as I remember our Coronation banquet. It should have been such a happy event - our crowning glory. But instead it was filled uncertainty and anguish. When you stood to praise absent Banquo's good name your sudden insane actions and words, as though you had seen a ghost, sent terror through me, and though I managed

  2. Peer reviewed

    Discuss the Role of the Witches in Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    What is't you do?" Macbeth started talking aggressively he wanted then to do what he said; also he was calling them names. At the beginning of each apparition there is thunder, which gives you a sense of evil. The first apparition is "an armed head" "Macbeth! Macbeth!

  1. How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth's character and how does it change during the ...

    and wants to rid herself of the memory, even when Lady Macbeth is washing her hands of the blood of Duncan (while in her sleep) she asks "what, will these hands ne're be clean?" foreseeing that she will never have peace in her mind.

  2. Macbeth's state of mind.

    to be as sane as it was before he made the decision to kill Duncan. The hallucination of the dagger demonstrates this. For example, "A dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?" Macbeth calls his brain 'heat oppressed', this shows that even he thinks his brain is fevered, not right.

  1. How is Evil Portrayed in Macbeth

    The witches are also shown to be androgynous; because they share many features common to men. 'You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so.' They have these male features because they are supernatural, they could have the worst, or best qualities of both genders.

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 7

    If Macbeth was so adamant that he could not commit a murder, especially against his king, then he would have been able to prevent it - no matter what his wife did to persuade him. This also shows that his wife knew even more about him - she must have

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