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Macbeth Lady Macbeth, at the beginning of the play, is an evil and ruthless character, who wants only power and control for herself and plans on using Macbeth to gain it. However, near the end, before she dies, she changes greatly to a vulnerable, child-like character who has become mentally unstable through her guilt of killing king Duncan. The first time Lady Macbeth comes on stage she speaks in soliloquy in an ambitious and greedy way and plans to talk Macbeth into killing king Duncan by pouring 'my spirits in thine ear', using this metaphorical image to suggest poisoning his mind with her words. To an audience of the time this would be very surprising because she is not acting the typical stereotype of a female. It would shock them further when she calls on 'spirits' to 'unsex' her and fill her with 'direst cruelty', because women were seen as very innocent and weak who would never dream of calling upon evil to posses them. That she wants to be 'unsexed' shows her knowledge of this stereotype and wants rid of her femininity and to be strong like the stereotypical male. When Macbeth she goes about manipulating him into committing murder firstly by directly telling him what to do, using 'you shall' so it seems he has no choice. ...read more.


Another contrast between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth is that the crime Macbeth has committed seems to him so awful that the guilt will never leave his soul because he asks himself 'will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?', then answering with 'no'. He thinks that even if he used an ocean of water his hand would never be clean, his hand also metaphorically representing his soul. Whereas Lady Macbeth simply says 'a little water clears us of this deed', as she doesn't think about what they have done, but of what they have gained from doing it because she is greedy and hungry for power and she will do anything to get it. When king Duncan's body has been discovered and alarm bells ring, Lady Macbeth again becomes the 'innocent flower', and asks what was going on as if she didn't know. Macduff falls for her act and ironically calls her 'gentle lady' and says that to tell her the news would 'murder as it fell', saying that she is so innocent and gentle that his words would kill her as he said them. This is very ironic as she is the one who has caused this and she is far from gentle. ...read more.


She begins to live out memories in her sleep also. She re-lives when they had just killed king Duncan when she says 'wash your hands' and the banquet when Macbeth saw the ghost of Banquo when she says 'Banquo's buried; he cannot come out on's grave'. This shows these subjects have been on her mind a lot and she is now obsessed with them. Her character has changed greatly since the beginning of the play and now she is damned with insanity which the audience would see as a retribution for her earlier evil. When Macbeth later finds out Lady Macbeth is dead he reacts calmly saying 'she should have died hereafter; there would have been a time a time for such a word', this could be read both positively and negatively. To read it positively it could say he wishes she died later when he could devote more time to mourning over her. For negative, it could say she would have died anyway and there was no way to stop it from happening. At the very end of the play Malcom describes her as a 'fiend-like queen' which contrasts greatly to when king Duncan called her a 'honour'd hostess'. This final image of her is accurate and appropriate. Then when Malcom says 'by self and violent hands took off her life', the audience would be shocked that her means of death was suicide, even more so because she is female. ...read more.

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