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Lady Macbeth

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Introduction

LADY MACBETH Created by Stefanie Jameson Lady Macbeth has a manipulative, vindictive nature. She is a very controlling character yet we see her troubled mind reveal itself as the play progresses although as a character, in my opinion, when her mind unravels and her actions of insanity later occurs in the play I do not feel an ounce of sympathy for the murderous malicious actions of Macbeth's temptress that lead him to doom and destruction. Therefore Lady Macbeth is just like a serpent that poisons her prey. In the opening scenes of the play it is clear to see how acutely in love Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are. When Macbeth is told the prophecy by the witches he immediately writes a letter to Lady Macbeth telling her of this news. Macbeth addresses Lady Macbeth as "my dearest partner of greatness" act 1 scene 5; this shows the magnitude of his love for her. He thoroughly respects her and reports to her, "deliver thee" not failing to tell her any new information. The first time we meet Lady Macbeth it doesn't give the reader a great perspective. She immediately becomes captivated in Macbeths letter and the prophecy of him being King, and conjures up a plan to kill Duncan, it is later revealed they are mutual friends, as he addresses her as "honored hostess" act 1 scene 6. This cold hearted nature and deep desire for social status and thriving ambition makes her desert any feelings of guilt and remorse, (for the time being). She is confident and strong, she fears Macbeth is not evil enough to execute a friend to reach the final goal of high status we hear this in her soliloquy, "too full o' the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way," act 1 scene 5 she prays for help "metaphysical aid" act 1 scene 5 to help Macbeth become ruthless. ...read more.

Middle

Conversely the depth of evil she has shown so far throughout the play cannot make her an innocent flower but an evil and manipulative serpent. When Macduff discovers Duncan's murder with great astonishment, he alerts the whole castle including Banquo, Malcolm and Donaldbain of the king's death and so Lady Macbeth enters. She acts very much "like th'innocent flower" by pretending to be oblivious to what had happened in the previous scene, "What's the business that such a hideous trumpet calls to parley, the sleepers of the house?" Then with immense dramatic irony, Macduff replies calling her "gentle lady" and commenting on the fact that the talk of murderous deeds is too tender for a woman's ears. The audience would find this somewhat amusing as they know that Lady Macbeth is responsible for persuading Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan and so would not in any way find the subject too sensitive or painful. Lady Macbeth is very much out of control in this scene, she is surprised to find out that Macbeth killed the two attendants which weren't in her plan and she begins to falter. In the Macbeth's relationship this is somewhat very different from the beginning, Macbeth did not consult Lady Macbeth of killing the attendants and this shows their relationship distancing. Lady Macbeth shows her fragility by fainting, although it is unknown to the audience if she genuinely fainted or if it is an act. Lady Macbeth experiences a loss of power and control in Act 3 scene 2, where Macbeth arranges his next murder without her involvement. Shakespeare has her character showing compassion to her husband's 'sorriest fancies' when he complains of insecurity about his dangerous thoughts and deeds. She tries to make him forget what has happened by instructing him: "Using those thoughts which should indeed have died, with them think on? Things without all remedy should be without regard; what's done is done." ...read more.

Conclusion

I think a Shakespearian audience would think witchcraft would have been involved in Lady Macbeth's downfall and this would be very real and true for them. She was certainly a bold character for going against the 'Chain of Being' in which God was considered to be ultimately at the top with monarchs under that and other members of society such as lords and townsfolk following after, but at the bottom were women and so she was courageous to consider herself to be above even monarchy! Though wrong, especially considering what was said if the chain of being was to be disrupted, that chaos would arise, disrupting the natural order of life on earth and in the heavens which is seen as inexcusable a definite serpent quality. To conclude, it is evident that Shakespeare had Lady Macbeth's emotional state disintegrate as the play proceeded to in effect show the downfall of a control freak. In the first two acts we have little sympathy for Lady Macbeth as Shakespeare only provides the audience with her vindictive exterior, at this time we cannot see what she is truly thinking and feeling. It is only as the play progresses that we understand why she turns out to be the way that she is, that she has a very ambitious character and so enforces that upon her husband. She feels that Macbeth becoming king will benefit them both and sees killing the existing king as the fastest way to get to the throne. She then becomes gradually defeated as Macbeth's ambition and obsession with becoming king begins to soar and spiral. She is then over-ridden with guilt and eventually feels that she cannot bear the guilt that torments her troubled mind and so decides to end it all. Had her ambition not overridden her sense of morality, she could have been a respectable, intelligent woman who complemented her husband's abilities to form a perfect partnership. However, she ended up becoming a tortured, immoral, dejected soul, and disliked by many people becoming a serpent. Created by Stefanie Jameson ...read more.

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