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Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in such a way that we feel sympathy for her

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Introduction

Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in such a way that we feel sympathy for her The play Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare. In a sense, all art is a reflection of the world of its creator. Shakespeare's plays may be set in ancient Rome, Denmark, or Renaissance Italy, but all relate to the world of Shakespeare and his London audience. This is particularly true of "Macbeth". The play is set in medieval Scotland, but it was written in response to events in 17th century England. It is quite likely that Macbeth was written in 1606. Two events in particular occurred just before Macbeth was written and are reflected in Shakespeare's play. Macbeth was written during the reign of King James I, the first monarch of the Stuart dynasty. Although "Macbeth" reflects the social anxieties following decades of female rule, it is not a direct commentary on Queen Elizabeth. Most Elizabethan women married, because it was not likely they would inherit their father's wealth yet still desired a secure future. During marriage, while a man did have the right to chastise his wife, he did not have the right to be cruel or inflict bodily harm. It is a common misconception that husbands of that time were tyrannical and that women of that time were unhappy and oppressed. ...read more.

Middle

Ironically, she later shows that the guilt cannot be washed away so easily and while her husband continues on his one-man campaign of terror she dwindles into a pitiful woman who 'is consumed with guilt'. In her soliloquy, Lady Macbeth is weak and begs the spirits to take over her. Although this is a bad thing, sympathy kicks in. Lady Macbeth has to stoop so low to get what she wants that the audience is horrified at what she is becoming. This comes after Macbeth's battle, between Scotland and Norway, where he fights so well, and captures the thane of Cawdor who was a traitor to King Duncan. He then meets three witches. Lady Macbeth's anxiety and naivety takes over her and plots to kill King Duncan. Her ambitious nature, which turns out to be a bad thing, also makes you sympathise with her. She wants her goodness to be replaced with evil and this seems desperate. "And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full". The pun on "crown" meaning head and also regal ornament shows that she is imagining her money, wealth and her status. So the word play shows her innermost desires, and the driving force behind her actions. She compares her body to an empty cup. First thoughts may be that she is doing it all for the good of her husband, Macbeth, but then again she could be selfish and just wanting to be higher up in the hierarchy and more popular and wealthy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The last thing lady Macbeth says in the play is "To bed, to bed; there's knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, give me your hand; what's done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed." This is the audience start developing a degree of sympathy towards Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare is portraying her as weak, suicidal and highly guilty for the deaths that she provoked her husband into. Lady Macbeth is a very important character as without her the plotting and planning to the take over of kingship Macbeth would be a thane still. Macbeth was always motivated by what his wife told him, and so she if to blame for the way her behaves. In seventeenth century life women were seen, as far from equal to men, so Lady Macbeth's role was very hypercritical and yet still so strong. Shakespeare created this character in a way to stand out, and show people that women are just as powerful as men. You can feel compassion for Lady Macbeth as her wildest dreams, which seemed almost impossible for women in the era were almost complete. The only thing that stopped her was here cowardly husband and her emotional instability. Without her the play would just be about a psychological study of a murderer's mind, but with her we also see the consequences of inviting evil into your soul and them not being able to control it. Daniel Bethell 11KA ...read more.

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