• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Lady Macbeth in act one

Extracts from this document...


Manon Audig´┐Ż 2de2 How does Shakespeare establish the character of Lady Macbeth in the first act of the play? Lady Macbeth, as well as being the wife of Macbeth, is a key character in the play as she is the one who convinces her husband to kill the king. We do not see her till rather late - the fifth scene - yet she strikes us by her disturbing manner. Indeed she is exposed as exceedingly dark and evil, with close to no qualities that make her likeable by the audience. This serves as a contrast and ensures that the audience empathises with Macbeth. Scene five begins with Lady Macbeth reading a letter from her husband. The fact that he has seen fit to tell her about his abnormal encounter with the witches shows that they are close. ...read more.


The "raven (...) that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan" is a dark image comparing the messenger of Duncan's arrival with a bird that is associated with witchcraft and evil. "Make thick my blood, stop th'access and passage to remorse" is a metaphor that suggests an insensitive being, to the point of hardly being human, as thick blood is unnatural and unreal. As for the vocabulary, "mortal thoughts", "murd'ring ministers", "mischief", "smoke of hell" all belong to the lexical field of crime and sin. Lady Macbeth is therefore a dark character that will not contain her ambition because of it otherwise being wrong. However, although she craves for the King to be killed, Lady Macbeth doesn't actually have the courage to do it herself. Never does she speak of another option than that of her husband killing Duncan. ...read more.


While Macbeth remains inside his castle by fear of not being able to hide their plans, his wife greets the King and his men with "every point twice done and then done double", and praises the king with vocabulary such as "honours", "dignities", "at your highness's pleasure". This shows a hypocrisy in Lady Macbeth that enables her to conceal her thoughts, but makes her rather unappreciated by the audience. The character of Lady Macbeth in the first act is therefore presented quite pejoratively in this play. Shakespeare exposes her as a cruel character with too much ambition, which is a dangerous combination (as Duncan demonstrates). The unpleasantness of these traits is emphasised by her cowardice and hypocrisy. All in all she is portrayed as a character to be disliked by the audience, in opposition with Macbeth who as a result has more audience empathy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Is Macbeth a dead Butcher?

    He continues on to commit the murder. The raging fear deep within him and his great ambitions driving him to do it. He commits the murder because he is driven by fear and his knowledge that he will there after be king.

  2. How is Shylock presented in Act IV Scene I in The Merchant of Venice?

    find him irritating as Shylock refers to the bond as if it is his rulebook. An Elizabethan audience may be preparing for Antonio's death, and will also hate Shylock even more than they already do. The audience may find Shylock cruel and inhuman because he has already got his scales out, ready to measure Antonio's pound of flesh.

  1. How does Shakespeare use act 1 scene 7 and act 2 scene 2, to ...

    With this thought Macbeth says; 'to plague th'inventor' Macbeth is saying that, eventually that guilt held upon the sinner, will start to infect that person. To have a plague upon someone, is to cause trouble to them. To bring distress to someone.

  2. How does Shakespeare Prepare the Audience for the Tragic events of Act 5 Scene ...

    Then since the case so stands as now it doth, I think it best you married with the County.' In just three speeches Juliet has lost everyone except of course Romeo. The lovers are isolated from the outside world and each other as well.

  1. Macbeth What are the roles of the witches

    An apparition takes the form of a helmeted head and tells Macbeth to beware the Thane of Fife (Macduff). A second specter appears in the form of a bloody child. It tells Macbeth to be brave because "none of woman born" can kill him.

  2. How Far Do I Sympathise With the Character of Lady Macbeth

    "That my knife see not the wounds it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry 'hold, hold!' ". This shows us that she is worrying about killing Duncan and that she knows it is wrong, as she does not want "heaven to peep through" to

  1. one girl one dream

    slippery, I fell many times, but easily managed to get back up again. When I finally reached the top of the hill I saw that the construction hadn't progressed much at all. I went around back to see more, "Eleza..PST..Eleza over here" came a whisper from behind.

  2. The Lady of Shallot Evaluation

    -of having to isolate yourself from the outside world just to get a good picture of what that 'outside world' is. That is unless he is hinting at the shun from society from being a poet. This we could never know the answer to, but is something to consider throughout the poem.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work