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Lady Macbeth

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Introduction

Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is a key character throughout the play. She is the controlling force behind the death of Duncan and as a result, this is what eventually leads to her madness towards the end of the play in Act 5 Scene 1. We know that Lady Macbeth's life and traits dramatically change throughout the play by comparing her character in Act 2 Scene 2, to that of Act 5 Scene 1. She undergoes great pressure when taking control in many situations to keep Macbeth and herself from being discovered. She shows immense courage yet she is wicked and scheming. As a result, these are all aspects that lead to her final madness. The first time that we meet Lady Macbeth is in Act 1 Scene 5. By this time Macbeth had already met the three witches, and sent a letter to his wife informing her of the events that had taken place. We first see Lady Macbeth as she is reading this letter aloud. By listening to what is included in the letter, we also have evidence that Macbeth and his wife have a very close relationship where Macbeth states, "This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness..." where we learn that the two share a great deal, and that they are consorts in all that they do. Lady Macbeth is thrilled with the news yet immediately criticizes Macbeth's ability to commit evil when she quotes, "Yet I do fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk of human kindness..." She believes that Macbeth does want the crown, however she feels that he is not courageous enough to commit the murder. "Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear " she states, telling him to 'come home' so that she may persuade him to proceed with the murder and pour evil and wickedness into him so that he may carry it out. ...read more.

Middle

She therefore must step in, to prevent them from being discovered. In this situation, she must take control and therefore she creates a distraction, to take attention away from Macbeth's evident uneasiness. She does this by fainting at a convenient moment where Macbeth is in danger of giving them away. By doing this she not only diverts attention from Macbeth, but also makes herself out to be a delicate woman who shouldn't hear about murder. Attitudes towards women in the Elizabethan times were very different, since women were looked on as the weaker sex and certainly would not be involved in an aspect such as murder or death. This way, Lady Macbeth shows herself to be weak at the thought of murder, even though we know that this is not the case. Act 3 Scene 2 is where we first learn that after the murder all has not been well in Lady Macbeth and her husband's relationship, as we see their bond begin to deteriorate. Lady Macbeth believes that Macbeth is continually living with thoughts that should have died when Duncan was killed. They communicate poorly and we learn that they rarely see each other. Even though he does not completely reveal his intentions, Macbeth has his hopes set on murdering Banquo and Fleance. He does not make this known to Lady Macbeth; hence it reflects their poor relationship and lack of communication. Lady Macbeth believes that he has gone too far and is obsessed with murder. As a result she feels that she can no longer control him, and that their relationship has fallen apart. This is important since Lady Macbeth and her husband used to have a very strong bond and would scheme everything together. After all, in Act 1 Scene 5, Macbeth calls his wife "...my dearest partner of greatness..." in his letter. The final scene in which we observe Lady Macbeth before she goes insane is Act 3 Scene 4. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is first referring to the scene of the murder where she had to take control of Macbeth in his unable state, then to the banquet scene where she had to calm her husband. Her last statement is " To bed, to bed: there's knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed." She refers back to the murder scene where herself and Macbeth must hurry to bed, since they heard knocking at the gate. Macbeth was unable, and she had to direct him to bed so that they were not discovered. She tells him that they cannot undo what they have already committed. This is the last time we see Lady Macbeth, since she then returns to her chamber still rubbing her hands in her deep trance. The doctor and the gentlewoman claim that she is in a far too mentally ill state and they feel that she will not be cured. I believe that Lady Macbeth has changed mostly in a way that she has become obsessed with the prospects of murder that on the night she was herself reassuring Macbeth about. He was weak and unable to commit the murder, yet now he is cold and Lady Macbeth cannot stop his obsession for murder, even though she forced him to commit the first. At the beginning, Lady Macbeth was strong, and most probably in control of the relationship, whereas now she cannot cope and is crazed by the prospects that she herself labelled as cowardly. She can no longer take control, since she has undergone so much of it to try and keep their truth secret. My attitude towards her changes very much since she is not the same person at the end of the play. Her character dramatically changes throughout the play, in many different stages and she results in a weak, unable wife at the end; compared to the strong, scheming leader first introduced to us as Lady Macbeth at the beginning of the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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