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In an essay of about 2 pages, show how the character of Lady Macbeth changes and develops throughout the course of the play.

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In an essay of about 2 pages, show how the character of Lady Macbeth changes and develops throughout the course of the play. ........................................................................................................................................ When we are first introduced to Lady Macbeth in Act I, scene v, she is at once perceived as a rather hard, ambitious individual who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. However, throughout the play her character undergoes many changes and in the end she goes insane, because of her heightened sense of guilt, and kills herself. Lady Macbeth's first 2 soliloquies in Act 1 reveal her character very well. The way she speaks of Macbeth's character makes it quite clear that hers is very different. She does not feel that she has to achieve things respectably or honourably, and is quick to seize opportunities, unlike Macbeth, as is shown by how she immediately connects the prophecies with the king's visiting her castle. '...The raven Himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements'. (Act I, scene v, lines 36-8) ...read more.


In this act Lady Macbeth only serves to cover up for her husband when he starts rambling and talking to the ghost. Her domineering character is not needed anymore and her role has dropped from that of the dominant wife, to a smiling one, concealing her husband's evil deeds. Even at this early stage Lady Macbeth shows signs of growing weaker. In the first 2 acts, she was the one in charge, telling her husband what to do and laying all the plans. But now she seems to depend on him more, e.g. Act III, scene ii, line 45 'What's to be done?' Lady Macbeth is actually asking her husband what to do, but Macbeth tells her to 'be innocent of the knowledge'. Macbeth is withholding information from her, and yet she is not upset. It is the beginning of the end for Lady Macbeth. She even regrets what they have done, because of the niggling doubts and insecurities she has about the safety of their position. 'Nought's had, all's spent, Where our desire is got without content 'T is safer to be that which we destroy, Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.' ...read more.


The darkness which she asked for and rejoiced in Act I now worries her, and she must always have light by her. Light is symbolic of goodness, and darkness of evil. She also continually rubs her hands, as if to clean them. This is clarified in her speech- she keeps saying things like 'Out, damned spot! Out I say!' as if speaking to the mark of blood. 'What will these hands never be clean?' She is speaking of when her hands were coated with blood when she had to go back and smear Duncan's on his guards. Then she said 'a little water clears us of this deed' Now she says 'all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.' In act V, scene v the queen dies. Whether she kills herself or dies of natural causes it is unknown. But as the doctor said in Act V, scene i 'Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep, who have died holily in their beds.' The insane, guilty woman who died at the end of the play was a far cry from the strong, hard, ambitious woman in the beginning. 15-1-2003 EMMA CHONG 10 GREY - 1 - ...read more.

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