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'Macbeth' is full of dramatic contrasts, show how Shakespeare has developed the character of Lady Macbeth in act 1 scene 5, and contrast it to her character in act 5 scene 1.

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Introduction

'Macbeth' is full of dramatic contrasts, show how Shakespeare has developed the character of Lady Macbeth in act 1 scene 5, and contrast it to her character in act 5 scene 1. 'Macbeth' is a play set in the Scottish highlands. The plot consists of Macbeth's rise and fall of power. The play as a whole shows repeated evidence of dramatic contrast in the form of personality, and in the plot itself. Lady Macbeth plays a key role to add to this effect; she demonstrates an extreme contrast in her personality between and in Act 1 Scene 5, and Act 5 Scene 1. In order for this contrast to be sufficiently dramatised, the setting of each scene is key. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth is in her own castle, which gives her a sense of security (psychologically, in the form of emotional belonging), as well as a feeling of power. Emotionally, she is feeling in control, and we see evidence of her power in the way she plots to over throw the king. Another key area is the time of day. ...read more.

Middle

She is confident, secure, and most importantly, in control. Moreover she seems to be overwhelmed by some evil, she states, "Come you evil spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here." This gives clear evidence of her intensions, thoughts, and personality, as well as demonstrating how Shakespeare uses the manipulation of stereotypes to achieve this effect. By Act 5 Scene 1, we can observe a major change in the whole presentation of Lady Macbeth's character. She is no emitting all her strength as a person. She is on the edge of a self-inflicted death. Her personality has also changed in terms of her control (of others as well as herself). This change has resulted in the main focus of the play shifting to Macbeth. This change approaches as a surprise, but is yet anticipated. It is hard for an audience to imagine such a dominant character could become so psychotic, but audiences of both times frequently expect that tampering with "evil forces," (however promising they seem at the time,) ultimately result in demise. The language used in Act 1 Scene 5 plays a key role in the portrayal of Lady Macbeth's character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The nature of her character, which is evil, goes against their entire system of belief and judgement. This was also not seen as appropriate behaviour for a woman at that time, and therefore will gain little sympathy from anyone. Today however, I feel her character will be looked upon more leniently, due to the openness of witchcraft and other practises in society, she will be looked on as a victim of psychological distress, as opposed to the cause of it. In addition, strong women are not only far more commonplace, a current audience would like them, therefore upon her death; the audience is likely to feel sympathetic towards her. In conclusion, her contrasting character can basically be described as the true path of an evil mentality, she goes from strength and power, to absolute dispeare. Perhaps the only alternative is to be humble. In achieving this contrast, Shakespeare has clearly shown this throughout the play. As a whole, Lady Macbeth's effect on the play is clearly demonstrated at the beginning, but perhaps this dwindles by the end. This aside, the play as a whole is well known as a great piece of literature, but I feel that I cannot appreciate this myself due to a limited knowledge of other 16th century play-writes. ...read more.

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