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Macbeth Coursework

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Introduction

Macbeth Coursework Coursework Title: Compare how Shakespeare uses language and dramatic devices to show the change in character of Lady Macbeth over the course of the play (Act 1, Scene 5; Act 1 Scene 7; Act Scene 2; and Act 5 Scene 1)? Shakespeare wrote Macbeth specifically for King James I. The king was a large supporter of the theatre, and Shakespeare's company even became known as "The King's Men." King James I was king of Scotland and eventually became King of England; his ancestry could be traced back to Banquo. When Shakespeare wrote the play, he included several elements that would have appealed to the king: witchcraft and ancestry. First, King James was previously interested in demonology, including witchcraft. Several witches had been foiled in their attempt to place a curse on James when he was king of Scotland. Macbeth is written in the third person objective. Besides that, characters do not speak directly to the audience but often give soliloquies. Through the dialogues of the characters, Shakespeare's ideas of fate and free will can be seen. Focus generally follows Macbeth and sometimes other characters that affect Macbeth. That being said, the witches occasionally enter the play as a means of foreshadow. To begin with, the main theme that dominates Macbeth is ambition. Macbeth's ambition to become the king of Scotland is based on the witches' prophecies in Act1 Sc.3. Lady Macbeth's more egocentric ambition urges Macbeth to the path of crime. Perhaps the most obvious subject or theme in Macbeth is ambition and we see this with both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth has a strong influence on her husband and is a sole reason why Macbeth acts as he did. Lady Macbeth is unsure whether Macbeth is too kind and lacks the evil he needs to match his ambition. She states "I fear...is too full'o the milk of human kindness, to catch the nearest way," For this reason, she influences him greatly into the prospect of murdering the king. The thought of becoming Queen pushes her and causes her to act outrageously. Macbeth is slightly doubtful of her plan to kill the King, however Lady Macbeth subtly bombards him with comments that question his courage and by saying that his love is worth nothing if he refuses to go through with the plan. She says "screw your courage to the sticking-place," to make him more evil and confident about his actions. She used powerful expressions to condemn Macbeth of lack of commitment even going to the extent of daring to kill her own baby for it, "And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done this" if such a situation ever arose. Lady Macbeth's confident reassurances and flatteries prove to Macbeth that there is no chance of them failing. Frequent uses of powerful rhetorical questions, such as "we fail?" etc., enhances the effect of flattery and taunting used by Lady Macbeth. The character of Lady Macbeth seems the complete opposite of what an Elizabethan woman should encompass. Any women of the Elizabethan time would have been utterly overwhelmed by her masculinity and determination to take control. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth is the true villain by her contraceptive ways of body language and talk. She thoroughly represents her inner villain with several acts of unprecedented deeds. Her femininity is portrayed as the antithesis of what being an ideal woman and wife is about. Instead of being a graceful, elegant female faithful to the wishes and commands of her husband, Lady Macbeth's character contradicts that kind of feminine role. She represents a different side of the characteristics of femininity. Throughout the play, Shakespeare employs various gender-related metaphors to portray women as kind and loving by nature. One of the symbols he uses is milk, a substance we normally associate with femininity. As we read Macbeth, we notice that every time the word "milk" appears, Shakespeare equates it with virtuous qualities such as tenderness and concord. As one the most complex characters in the play, she is portrayed as a dark, manipulative woman, able to cast a wicked and harrowing spell over Macbeth. Her cunning and inner ruthlessness has driven her to utter madness and only a true villain would do something like this. The characteristics of her personality become obvious with her death, leaving the audience free to form various opinions about her. During the course of the play, we see the disintegration of Lady Macbeth's solid character, through her actions with her husband, her own opinions of first-degree murder, and finally watching her try to cope with obvious guilt. Her downfall is complete when she kills herself, appearing to be a case of severe mental anguish. ...read more.

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