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The presentation of Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play Macbeth. Discuss the dramatic effectiveness of Act 1 scene 5, Act 2 scene 2 and Act 5 scene 1 in relation to her character.

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Introduction

English Coursework - Macbeth The presentation of Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play Macbeth. Discuss the dramatic effectiveness of Act 1 scene 5, Act 2 scene 2 and Act 5 scene 1 in relation to her character. Macbeth was most likely written in 1606, by William Shakespeare. This means many of the themes and storylines in the play would have been more hard-hitting to audiences at that time. At this time people believed there was a divine right of kings, who were chosen by God, so to kill one would have been seen as the most despicable thing anyone could ever do. As the play seems to be aimed at celebrating King James's ancestors and the Stuart accession to the throne in 1603, they argue that the play is unlikely to have been composed earlier than 1603; and suggest that the parade of eight kings, which the witches show Macbeth in a vision in Act IV, is a compliment to King James. Even though there was an unmarried woman at the throne in Elizabethan England, the roles of women in society were very limited. Women were regarded as the weaker sex, not just in terms of physical strength, but emotionally too. Men were considered to be the leaders and women their inferiors. ...read more.

Middle

She is saying that she doesn't want to 'feel' God; that she wants God to turn a blind eye on the murder she is going to help commit. People watching this at the time would have been very shocked as society at the time was very religious and to turn your back on God was seen as one of the most unforgiving acts anyone could commit. This scenes central theme is gender, as Lady Macbeth does not think her husband is 'macho' enough to live up to her expectation, and society's expectation of men. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth questions Macbeth's manliness in order to control him. He feels belittled by his wife and so tries to prove her wrong by doing what she asks. In act 2 scene 2, the murder takes place in Macbeth's castle, and this is when we first get to see Lady Macbeth beginning to become paranoid. She says at the start of the scene, "Alack, I am afraid they have awakened". She is beginning to doubt whether her husband has completed the murderous 'deed.' But she is still in control of the situation and is driven towards completing 'the deed'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is evident when we look back to earlier in the play when Lady Macbeth says, "A little water clears us of this deed." She is very confident and believes she will get away with the murder. But later in the play she says, "What, will these hands ne'er be clean?" This shows she has gone back on her earlier statement and now thinks they may be caught for the murders. Both Macbeths got so wound up in the witch's predictions; they hung on to them right to the very end and believed that they would all come true. Many times during the play, Shakespeare uses 'asides' to full effect as we; the audience can hear what the characters are thinking without the rest of the characters knowing. This is used to full effect when Macbeth tells us of his desire to murder, to get his way to the top after hearing the witch's predictions. Looking back on the play, I realise many things can be learned from it. Lady Macbeth could be regarded as one of the early pioneers of feminism; trying to show that women are equal to men in many ways. It also teaches us the lessons of unchecked ambition. We realise that we have to think of all the results when we try to better ourselves. Jack Brown. ...read more.

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