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Lady Macbeth's character changes throughout the play "Macbeth". By looking closely and comparing Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1, discuss the changes that occur.

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Introduction

Lady Macbeth's character changes throughout the play "Macbeth". By looking closely and comparing Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1, discuss the changes that occur. In the Shakespearian play "Macbeth" Lady Macbeth is a very significant character. Written in the 17th century but set in 1050, she was ahead of her time. Lady Macbeth is such a strong, dominant character it would have shocked the audience because women at the time were meant to be subordinate. Her ambition leads to the breakdown of Scotland and the death of her and her husband. There is such a stark contrast between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth at the beginning. Lady Macbeth is so strong, determined and unnatural whereas Macbeth is the weaker person in the relationship. Although she was strong by the end of the play she had lost her sanity because of what she had done and Macbeth had become power mad, murdering anyone who got in his way. The first time we meet Lady Macbeth is in Act 1 Scene 5. She has just received news of Macbeth's meeting with the witches and his new title, which is part of the witches' prophecy. This meeting is so important because we see her determination for the first time. We also see lots of different sides of her personality such as her ability to be manipulative and her unnaturalness. Lady Macbeth's determination is shown throughout Act 1 Scene 5. Her desire to be Queen is shown through her determination to make Macbeth King. ...read more.

Middle

It also shows that she is not scared of death. She calls again on evil and darkness to get rid of goodness and light. She wants the darkness to cover up her evil thoughts and deeds. She realises what she is doing is wrong but still wants to go ahead with it. "Pall" is a funeral cloth and reinforces how focused she is on Duncan's death and how she wants the darkness to cover Duncan alive just like the funeral cloth will cover Duncan's coffin when he is dead. Lady Macbeth's use of language in Act 1 is descriptive, sophisticated but also violent and death related. The imagery she uses reflects her unnatural character. "Make thick my blood/Stop up the access and passage to remorse." In this quote, Lady Macbeth wants her blood to be so thick that she cannot feel the guilt. She wants to destroy her human feelings to be totally unstoppable. This reinforces her unnatural characteristics. Lady Macbeth personifies the night. Lady Macbeth is a very determined and strong woman, which in the 17th century, would be very unusual. Women of the time were submissive and just did household jobs whereas the men would be in control. A Shakespearean audience would be shocked at the amount of control Lady Macbeth had over her husband. It would be very hard to accept that the woman was the strongest person in a relationship. She was masculine in the way she thought. ...read more.

Conclusion

It could be that all the evil deeds of wickedness overpowered her into a spiralling downfall. Her constant rambling in this scene emphasises her loss of control. Lady Macbeth's mind has become very confused. "Wash your hands, put on your nightgown - look not so pale...Banquo's buried; he cannot come out on's grave." She is again reliving the past. Her mind is so confused she thinks she is talking to Macbeth who isn't there. Her language has changed dramatically since Act 1 Scene 5 and reflects the change in her once strong character. In Act 1, Lady Macbeth's language was powerful, sophisticated and full of dark and evil images. The raven soliloquy confirms this. However, in Act 5 her language becomes feeble, she stammers and rambles on about things that do not seem to exist at the time. This emphasises her confused state of mind and how she is no longer in control. Lady Macbeth's character dramatically changes throughout the shortest of Shakespeare's plays. Her determined, manipulative and unnatural character changes quickly into a lost, scared and helpless woman. She feels guilty about the killing of innocent people that began with the murder of Duncan. By the end of the play her guilty conscience drives her to the only thing that can silence the voices in her head, suicide. Shakespeare chose this ending to satisfy his contemporary audience. They would have been shocked at the rightful king's death and to reassure them he had to destroy the evil. He had to confirm that anyone who went against the divine right of kings would pay the ultimate penalty: death. ...read more.

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