'Lady Macbeth is the most interesting and disturbed character in this play.'
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Shakespeare sees ambitious dominant women as evil, unnatural and destructive as many other men in the 16th and 17th century. He feels they must be punished and this is what we see throughout this play. Today we see ambitious dominant women as normal human beings. They are respected just as other people are and even respected more because people feel that once women have their heart set on something they long for it, like Lady Macbeth and her ambition to become Queen. Some men find powerful and dominant women pleasurable in this modern world. There are definitely many reasons why Lady Macbeth is the most interesting and disturbed character in this play. The first time we meet Lady Macbeth's disturbing personality is in Act 1 Scene 5. For most of this scene Lady Macbeth is alone in a room, first reading a letter then speaking in soliloquy. In her first monologue she is basically saying that her husband, Macbeth, is not strong enough inside to murder King Duncan. She feels that her husband cannot commit the crime and expresses this to herself: "... I do fear thy nature, / It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness ...'
She, too, seems to realise the wrongness of the murder, yet not long ago she felt that the murder had to occur in order for the couple to have a good life what ever the consequences such as eternal damnation. We also know that Lady Macbeth is disturbed by what happens in Act 1 Scene 7. In this scene Macbeth keeps changing his mind about killing the king. He is finally persuaded to go ahead by the determination of Lady Macbeth. This important scene takes place in a room in Macbeth's castle. It comes in tense contrast to the relaxed atmosphere of the previous scene at the castle gate. Lady Macbeth hurls insults at him. Lady Macbeth takes up the clothing image when she asks whether the hope in which he had "dress'd" himself had been drunk; she says that he is acting as if he were drunk when he clothed himself in his hopes to be king. She accuses him of being a "coward", and declares that he is like "the poor cat "i'th'adage" that wants to eat fish but won't get it's feet wet. She then suggests that the "enterprise" was Macbeth's. This is not true but because Macbeth is not thinking straight she takes advantage by what she says later.
She was previously a powerful, commanding woman and now she is broken and pitiable. Her sleep talking and repetitive hand-washing show that she is suffering unbearably from her sense of guilt. Lady Macbeth carries a candle. "she has a light by her continually". She has become afraid of the dark, like a child. This is a significant difference from when she wanted the dark "... thick night..." to come in Act 1 Scene 5. She seems to wash her hands in her sleep. We know for certain what the gentlewoman and doctor can only suspect: that she is trying to wash away her guilt, symbolised by the imagined blood on her hands. When she says, "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand", she seems a pathetic figure. Lady Macbeth's speeches are broken and disjointed suggesting sleepwalking and madness. They are the words of a broken woman. The little rhyme, "The Thane of Fife had a wife" is childlike, as if she is retreating into second childhood. She speaks in prose. Verse would seem inappropriate for the disjointed ramblings of a sick mind. It could just simply be in keeping with the mood of the scene that the gentlewoman and doctor speak in prose, although the doctor's one long speech is in verse. Razaaq Shah English Coursework: 2002 Lady Macbeth is the most interesting and disturbed character in this play Page 1
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