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Malcolm calls Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" Act V ix 36.Do you think Lady Macbeth has any redeeming qualities?

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Introduction

Malcolm calls Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" Act V ix 36. Do you think Lady Macbeth has any redeeming qualities? Malcolm calls Lady Macbeth 'his fiend-like queen'. However Malcolm has been out of Scotland in England, only hearing from people in Scotland what is going on so doesn't really know for himself. The audience see what he doesn't, mainly due to Lady Macbeth's soliloquies and the things she says that other characters don't hear. The audience have seen more of Lady Macbeth's human side. In Act I, Scene v Lady Macbeth is reading a letter sent to her by Macbeth after he had met the witches. This is a device to show the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's mind immediately looks forward to the fulfilment of the witches' prophecy but she feels that Macbeth is too mild to seize the throne. A message arrives with the news that Duncan plans to spend the night in the Castle and, by the time her husband enters, Lady Macbeth has already prepared her mind for the murder of Duncan, Macbeth wavers but Lady Macbeth's resolution is absolute. Lady Macbeth immediately understands the full implications of her husband's letter and her response is direct and uncompromising; her husband must be what he has been promised. Lady Macbeth appears in this scene as a ruthless, totally committed woman whose every effort is to strive for the greater glory of her husband. Macbeth's tendency to speculate and think round problems is seen by his wife as a crucial weakness and she doesn't think he would be ruthless to do what is necessary: 'Yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness' She understands that to get what they want he will have to be ruthless. ...read more.

Middle

Ironically, Lady Macbeth imagines that washing ones hands will wash away guilt; however by the final act it is she, finally, who is unable to wash her hands clean. This scene is a clever dramatic device that is carried on until the end of the play. Lady Macbeth's comment to Macbeth, 'Infirm of purpose!' comes back to haunt her, as he strengthens in evil resolve, whilst she becomes madly suicidal - anticipated in her dismissive comment 'so, it will make us mad'. In Act II, scene iii the knocking increases and the Porter, still drunk, organises himself to open the gate and, eventually, he lets Macduff and Lennox enter. Macbeth appears apparently wakened by the noise. When Macduff, who has gone to waken the King, returns with the news of his murder and raises the alarm, Macbeth and Lennox go to investigate. Lady Macbeth enters followed by Banquo and, while the news is discussed, Macbeth relates how he killed the blood-covered servants in his fury. Lady Macbeth faints and in the ensuing confusion Malcolm and Donalbain decide to slip away because they fear for their lives. Banquo proposes a general meeting to discuss the situation and the others agree. It can be argued that Macbeth's justification for killing the two guards becomes so colourful and rhetorical that he is in danger of being exposed through what might be 'overacting' his part. Lady Macbeth's swoon, therefore, at this point conveniently distracts attention away from her husband and the question he poses. This shows how cunning Lady Macbeth is. On the other hand this could be a redeeming feature; that Lady Macbeth really is fainting. ...read more.

Conclusion

Before, and particularly in the first two acts, Lady Macbeth's speech had been blazing and fiery blank verse - the strong rhythms reflecting her strong grasp on reality, and her determination. Now she speaks in prose - choppy, abrupt and lurching from one incident to another. This represents her breakdown; the language is breaking down under the strain she is under. It is therefore not surprising that she commits suicide - she can no longer hold it together and on death language disappears altogether. Lady Macbeth is a controversial figure. She is seen by some as a woman of strong will who is ambitious for herself and who recognises her husband's strengths and weaknesses, and is ruthless enough to exploit them. They see her in her commitment to evil and in her realisation that getting the Crown has not brought her the happiness she had expected, and finally, as one who breaks down under the strain. Others see her as a woman ambitious for her husband whom she loves. She recognises the good in him, and feels that, without her, he will never win the Crown. She allies herself with the powers of darkness for his sake, but here she breaks down under the strain of the murder of Duncan and the alienation of her husband. One of the main redeeming qualities of Lady Macbeth is her love, loyalty and support to her husband. She does have personal attributes, for example she is resourceful, brave, quick thinking and focused. She may be emotionally disturbed and unbalanced due to loss of a child which could have pushed her to act like she did. Although she seems evil and callous at the beginning, we see her break down and struggle with her conscience later on in the play, showing she is not all bad. ?? ?? ?? ?? Eleanor Luckcock ...read more.

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