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Lady Macbeth - A fiend like queen or lady of remorse?

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Introduction

Lady Macbeth: fiend like queen or a lady of remorse? In the play, Lady Macbeth fits into the historical context as she fulfils her role as that of a hostess. At the time of Macbeth, women were expected to play the role of a hostess in their homes. We discover Lady Macbeth enacts the role of a hostess very well as she receives praise and compliments from Duncan:- "Fair and noble hostess..." [Act One Scene Six Line 23] There is definite irony in this situation. She is respected by Duncan but Lady Macbeth has plotted his murder. We first encounter Lady Macbeth when she is reading the letter from Macbeth, describing his meeting with the witches. Lady Macbeth's first words are:- "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be..." [Act One Scene Five Line 14] At this early stage, we come across Lady Macbeth's objective to be crowned Queen, but this drive is not supplied by the sole purpose of having such a title; it is based on support and love for Macbeth. Lady Macbeth also exposes her evil intentions in order for her plot to prosper:- "That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan..." [Act One Scene Five Line 38] This is Lady Macbeth's plot to murder Duncan, but she has an obstacle in her path, her husband, Macbeth. Lady Macbeth knows her husband well and is aware of his limitations, she feels Macbeth may be too kind and gentle to murder:- "Yet do I fear thy nature: It is too full o' the milk of human kindness..." ...read more.

Middle

[Act One Scene Seven Line 55-58] The similar imagery here, affiliates Lady Macbeth with the Witches:- "Finger of birth-strangled babe, Ditch-delivered by a drab..." [Act Four Scene One Line 30-31] Lady Macbeth is cunning and devious in her methods while planning this murder. It shows that she is extremely confident and ambitious. She conceptualizes the plan to drug the guards:- "When Duncan is asleep, his two chamberlains Will I with wine and wassail so convince..." [Act One Scene Seven Line 61-64] While we encounter Lady Macbeth's facade of cunning and obscenity, she also displays signs of humanity. It is Lady Macbeth's humanity which prevents her from murdering Duncan herself, as Duncan "resembled [her] father" as he slept. The murder has been committed, but Macbeth returns with the daggers used in the murder:- "Why did you bring these daggers from the place?" [Act Two Scene Two Line 45] Yet again, Lady Macbeth shows her practicality and relieves the situation by returning the daggers herself. Lady Macbeth shows courage and strength to remedy the mistake. There is use of irony when Lady Macbeth says:- "A little water clears us of our deed..." [Act Two Scene Two Line 64] Lady Macbeth believes that the water will wash away the deed but is not aware that it will not wash away the guilt. This is prophetic as later on, Lady Macbeth is tortured by an imaginary spot a blood of her hand during her sleep. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, in Act Five, it is now clear that the guilt of Duncan's death is now consuming Lady Macbeth. Her mental and physical health appears to be deteriorating as she begins sleepwalking. During her sleepwalking, the doctor and the gentlewoman observe her repeatedly attempting to rid a stain from her hand. This is the sign of her repressed guilt and sleepwalking is an outlet for Lady Macbeth to release what she is bottling up inside. Lady Macbeth begins talking in her disorder during the night, as she does she reveals information about those who have been murdered:- "The Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?" [Act Five Scene One Line 43] The doctor views this as insanity and puts it down to her talking nonsense, but this "nonsense" has a hidden meaning and contains knowledge of the murders. Her ramblings remind us of the incantations of the Witches. This is Lady Macbeth's final physical appearance in Macbeth as we hear of her suicide in Act Five Scene Five. Lady Macbeth was a victim of her own repressed guilt and her fierce ambition. To conclude, I believe that Lady Macbeth was indeed a lady of remorse. Whilst her composure and calmness in every difficult situation made it seem like she felt no guilt or regret for her actions, her sub-conscience proved otherwise indeed. Lady Macbeth was simply an incredibly strong character who was able to keep her feelings concealed but that was not to say that they weren't affecting her in any way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Natalie Jackson 12E ...read more.

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