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How is Lady Macbeth presented by Shakespeare? 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

Year 11: Shakespeare's Macbeth How is Lady Macbeth presented by Shakespeare? In what ways does she change through the course of the play, and how does this affect the audience's response? In this essay I am going to be concentrating on Lady Macbeth, showing how her complex character changes dramatically throughout the course of the play. The play is mostly about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's ambition for the throne. The act of usurping, Presenting how Macbeth wrongly, illegitimately seized the throne with his fatal flaw which was greed and ambition. Lady Macbeth's character was very different, to an archetypical view of a woman in the Jacobean times, she was seen to be equal to Macbeth and as the relationship progresses the relationship begins to disintegrate. In the 17^th century women were seen as being second-class citizens and were considered inferior to men. They were not entitled to-do such things that men were allowed such as they were not allowed to act and were not able to acquire a proper education. Also, it was harder for women because they also had to cope with the fact that they may be seized as being witches. At the time it was written in, James I was king and he was against witches and anything of the supernatural. He had seen witches to have diabolical powers, predict the future, fly, and bring night to daytime and demonic possessions on people. King James I had what he thought first hand experience of witches, he believed that they had plotted to kill him. So he then passed a law, the law said that anyone suspected of witchcraft would be sentenced to be burned at the stack. ...read more.

Middle

This is an important part of her approach. Macbeth's rank and fame depend on his courage and bravery. After this she then begins to try a number of different tactics as suggesting to him that he is `unmanly'. " I have given suck, and know how tender `tis to love the babe that milks me- I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this." In this quote she is acting very unnatural, and also uses terrible, violent imagery `dashed the brains out' as a shock tactic. She explains to Macbeth that if she had made a promise like he did she would keep it. She does this also because she knows Macbeth's doubt needs to be overcome quickly and that needed extreme measures, she must persuade him because the delay of one night, the chance may be gone to do so. Then she begins to encourage him, "But screw you courage to the sticking place, And we'll not fail" In this she is encouraging him by explaining to him that they will accomplish there plan and not fail. Then she begins to present him with the plan of how they would do it, she begins to tell him this because she means that there are apparently no obstacles for Macbeth to overcome. At the end of the scene Macbeth closes it by saying, "I am settled, an bend up Earth corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know." ...read more.

Conclusion

Showing that she is disturbing the Natural Order, saying that it is not natural to kill someone, murder that she committed attacking the Natural Order. "Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles... More needs she the divine that a physicians" This then contrasts with what Macbeth says later because he begins to go on about how life is meaningless. He doesn't care too much anymore. He also largely unmoved about her death, doesn't grieve for her. "They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, but bear like I must fight the curse." He believes that there is a lesser chance he will win and he is referring saying that he feels like he is trapped and he might not win. Overall in the play the presentation of Lady Macbeth changes. Such as from the start she is very ambitious, manipulative during the opening of the letter that Macbeth sent her at the start. The audience to this act very shocked because we find out that she and her husband are equal to each other, which disturbs the Natural Order. But as the play progresses she goes through change. Then she becomes very malicious and dominant out of the two when she is persuading Macbeth to Kill King Duncan. The audience would yet again be shocked because she is not acting very lady like; she is also controlling her husband, again disturbing the Natural Order by committing treason. Then at the end of the play when she is sleepwalking, she is acting very child like, vulnerable and her speech is changing in verse not in prose anymore. Audience feels possibly pity or they may think that she deserves it because she does "unnatural deeds" she disrupts the Natural Order, and a Jacobean audience would believe that is why she has then gone mad. ...read more.

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