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lady macbeth

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Introduction

At the end of the play lady Macbeth is referred to as a 'fiend-like queen'. Do you agree with this final assessment of her and can we hold her in any way responsible for the chaos and destruction there is at the play's conclusion? Through focused analysis of Shakespeare's presentation of her character, give your response to this interpretation. Consider: * The influence she has on her husband * Audience reaction then and now * And anything else you feel is relevant Malcolm gives one of the many different opinions of Lady Macbeth, when he comments on her ambitious and manipulative side. He calls her "fiend-like." Another opinion which is less associated with her is the gentle woman's opinion near the end as she is pitied by her in regards to her conscience and guilt for the murders and for chaotic situation in Scotland. She is viewed as the source of destruction in Scotland by some and is pitied by others. At the time Macbeth was written James I was on the throne. At that time people believed in the divine right of kings, they believed that the king was a spokes person from god and to murder a king would have been seen as the most abominable of crimes. So for Macbeth and lady Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan who is a king would have been seen as evil and sacrilegious. Macbeth was performed around 1611 for James I and it reflects his interests in witchcraft from his own personal experiences at the time. ...read more.

Middle

He becomes paranoid and deals with it and accepts the fact that what he did was wrong but he can't go back and so carries down the path that leads to his destruction. As the play progresses she begins to lose her confidence and Macbeth seems to gain more. They are like a 'set of scales' that they both evenly balance out another and there always has to be a more dominate partner even though they address each other as equals. As she starts to descend and become more unstable she invokes some sympathy from a modern audience where in a Shakespearean audience would have seen her as a witch and therefore would not have sympathy for her at all, in fact they would probably would have seen her getting what she deserves and would have been happy in hearing of her death because at the time witchcraft would have been seen as evil and at the start of the play where she calls on 'evil spirits' is an example of witchcraft whereas a modern audience is more sceptical. The majority of a modern audience would not believe in witches or 'evil spirits'. Lady Macbeth is compared with other characters in the play. Another character is Lady Macduff. Lady Macduff is shown in the play as what a woman of that time is supposed to be. This would be, caring and protective over her children where Lady Macbeth is shown to have none of theses feminine qualities because instead of caring and nurturing she has ambition and cruelty. ...read more.

Conclusion

The original source of mischief could be the witches. They might be to blame for the devastation in Scotland, because of the prophecies they made. Without them Macbeth and Lady Macbeth may not have been tempted and tricked by their ambition that caused their downfall. Shakespeare reveals that no villain is entirely 'fiend-like' and that there is a source of conscience within everyone. So in fairness the term 'fiend-like queen' and the assessment of her holding responsibility for the chaos and destruction and is only partly true. Even though she is a part of the disarray, she is still not solely to blame. After all Macbeth also caused some of that destruction and chaos and even after her death; he carried on with the battle between him and Malcolm. In a way they really were equal partners, because they were both evenly responsible for their own demise and the desegregation in their own mental status and in their relationship with each other, and how their own ambitions became too much for not only the other to control, but for themselves. and that of the other characters in the play. A quote that conveys this is after the murder Lady Macbeth advises Macbeth not to think of his guilt and the irony of the statement she declares is that eventually she does think on the 'deeds' and lives the truth in her own declaration. "These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad". It would appear that she also wore "a heart so white" which earlier claimed that she would be ashamed of. Odette McGuinness 12D ...read more.

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