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Lady MacBeth

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Lady Macbeth To what extent do you agree with Malcolm's description of Lady Macbeth as a "fiend- like queen"? In all of William Shakespeare's plays, Lady Macbeth has to be one of his most famous, interesting and notable creations. She is a character whose dramatic actions provoke a similarly dramatic change of opinion and reaction from the enthralled audience: from utmost horror and revulsion for her appeal to the spirits to "unsex" her and fill her with "direst cruelty", to that of unenviable pity and sympathy when "by self and violent hands took of her life". In the time of Shakespeare, women were identified with the homemaking and childbearing role, who were to have no input in their husband's affairs. However, Lady Macbeth bears no resemblance to this description to this role; in fact, she is the more dominant partner in the marriage and she was in control of her husband. This would have been unbelievable to an Elizabethan audience, which leads us to the play's major theme of appearance versus reality. Lady Macbeth is very clever in that she plays on the typical view of women at the time. Although she appears like a polite and ordinary wife, she is actually a remarkable woman, full of thoughts that would be frightening, not only by Elizabethan standards, but also by today standards too. Her outward appearance fools a lot of characters in the play, and played a part in the death of Duncan, who thought that she was a charming hostess on the night she was planning his murder. Ironically, it was Duncan who said "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face". She is the epitomy of the play's central incantation courtesy of the witches: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and the filthy air". The first time the audience meet Lady Macbeth is when she is reading the letter from her husband informing her of what the witches told him about what the future may hold for them. ...read more.


Through her quote "I would while it (her baby) 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" we see how truly determined for the crown she is. This would have appalled the audience so much as she was a woman discussing murdering her own defenceless flesh and blood and she describes it vividly with great description and conviction. It also horrifies Macbeth but it has the desired affect on him as he goes on to murder Duncan. As she waits for her husband to return, we see in many ways that Lady Macbeth hasn't the 'direst cruelty' that so sorely required from the evil spirits and that she is not 'unsexed'. Firstly, she talks about how she has drunk some alcohol to stop her fears and nerves. Then she says that she would have murdered Duncan "had he not resembled my father as he slept". This quote reveals to us that Lady Macbeth still has feminine traits and is quite delicate. She retreats back to her usual self when an anxious Macbeth returns. She insults him and accuses a coward for not being able to go and smear blood over the servants to frame the murder on them. Macbeth regrets the murder, and he claims that he heard a voice telling him that he will never sleep again. A comforting Lady Macbeth then reassures him that "a little water clears us of this deed". This quote is important as it comes back to haunt Lady Macbeth towards the end of the play. This scene is also important, as it is here where we see the last time Macbeths together when Macbeth isn't King. There relationship now starts to weaken when Macbeth gets the 'golden round' and they aren't the couple that we seen at the start where they are deeply in love. ...read more.


Lady Macbeth kills herself for two reasons: she feels she has been neglected by her once adoring husband and thus has nothing else to do and she feels guilty for the murderers that she was involved in. She is plagued by Duncan's blood and she is isolated in her ordeal. Her death comes as a welcome escape for her as she can't deal with her conscience and the responsibility of what she has done. She can't live with her 'disease'. In my opinion, I do not believe that Lady Macbeth is a 'fiend- like queen'. I think that the things that she did such as demanding evil in her life and persuading her husband to kill Duncan in the early part of the play were definitely horrific, but not worthy of describing as fiend- like. Everything she did was for her and Macbeth. It was him who informed her that he wanted to be king and she seen his potential and ambition and encouraged him as she knew he wanted to kill Duncan but he knew he was afraid. She did everything for him because she loved him but once he realised that he didn't need her to encourage him to kill anymore he just discarded her. Lady Macbeth is definitely the stronger one of the marriage and after Duncan's murder when she has some problems of her own she doesn't reveal them to her husband and tends to his needs instead, even though her problems will escalate in to a mental problem and her death. She regrets and feels guilty over the things she has done and if she was fiend- like, I do not believe that she would feel remorse for the crimes she committed. I think that the things that Macbeth done were closer to fiend-like than what she did such as killing Macduff's wife and children, but I believe that the only true fiends in the play are the witches for it is them who brought so much misery to the characters' life's. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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