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Macbeth Act 1 Scene 7

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Introduction

Act 1 Scene 7 The interaction between the Macbeths in the above scene portrays the nature of their relationship, until this point. The main message conveyed in this scene is that Lady Macbeth is the dominant partner in their relationship, which is shown through the ease of her manipulation of him. In act one scene five, Shakespeare explains Lady Macbeth's understanding of Macbeth's personality, when she receives his letter and states "I do fear thy nature is too full o'th'milk of human kindness". This also succeeds in describing Lady Macbeth's cruelty and unwomanly nature - even though she knows Macbeth is too kind to kill Duncan of his own accord, she will force him against his own will, and persuade him to murder, breaking the laws of human nature. Later in the scene, Lady Macbeth puts forward her plans for Duncan's murder, to which Macbeth's response is "we shall speak further - ". This is the first introduction of Lady Macbeth's dominance; Macbeth is a kind, loyal person, and when Lady Macbeth first puts the idea of murder in Macbeth's mind, rather than completely objecting as he normally would, his reaction to his wife is a feeble appeasement - she is in control. Lady Macbeth further portrays how deceptive and malicious her character is, in Act One Scene Six. After previously contemplating the murder of Duncan, she greets him with elaborately courteous language, speaking ironically of loyalty, obedience and gratefulness for past honours - meanwhile planning his disloyal murder. ...read more.

Middle

She describes the task vividly, "When in swinish sleep Their drench�d natures lie as in a death, What cannot you and I perform upon th'unguarded Duncan?" She uses this to create a strong image of the task in Macbeth's head, to illustrate how easy it is, to reassure him that nothing will go wrong, helping her control him and to get him used to the idea of the murder, so he can come to terms with it more quickly. Another way she persuades him is by reassuring him "Who dares receive it other, As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar Upon his death?" - showing that no one will suspect them afterwards, as they will act surprised and upset. Another persuasive technique used frequently by Lady Macbeth in this scene is the use of rhetorical questions. "What cannot you and I perform upon th'unguarded Duncan?" - this technique aids in getting her point across: putting forward her argument, and then asking a rhetorical question, which forces Macbeth into a position that he cannot argue with. Lady Macbeth also subtly threatens him, when she says "From this time, such I account thy love" - Lady Macbeth is insinuating that she will not love him anymore if he does not kill Duncan, which is intended to scare him. . She also tempts him, presenting him with images of his own glory "And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man" - which shows how his glory will be emphasised if he becomes king, She also talks of being king as life's highest achievement, "the ornament of life". ...read more.

Conclusion

He has killed so many already, it doesn't matter who he kills - it won't add to the existing guilt. The witches continue to fuel his strength - by saying "no man of woman born" can kill him. The state of the Macbeths seems to change inversely - as Macbeth grows stronger, Lady Macbeth grows weaker. Lady Macbeth has been having nightmares - dreaming of washing her hands, washing away the metaphorical blood of guilt. This shows that she does in fact have a conscience, and feels guilty for what she has done. The theme of sleep also runs through the play - and her true feelings are portrayed in this way. There has been a complete role reversal between the Macbeths, which contrasts to their relationship in act one scene seven. Act one scene seven characterises the Macbeths' relationship only until that stage of play, but both react differently to the murders, and handle the guilt in different ways - resulting in a role reversal in their relationship. In act five scene five, Lady Macbeth has grown increasingly weak, and dies. When Macbeth is told this, he shows no emotion. Perhaps the guilt of killing so many people has changed his views on life, but he has adopted the philosophy that death is inevitable - life is too short. As he has developed into a repeated murderer, taking away so much life, his value for life has been destroyed. So, as the English army approaches him, he has no fear for his 'inevitable' death, but aims to salvage any dignity that he possibly can, by dying like the brave soldier he used to be. ...read more.

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