• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Through close analysis of Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1, examine the transformation in Lady Macbeth’s character

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Rosanna Moss 11H G1 MACBETH COURSEWORK: Through close analysis of Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1, examine the transformation in Lady Macbeth's character Lady Macbeth is one of the most complex and interesting characters created by Shakespeare, and her part plays a crucial role in one of his most popular plays; "Macbeth." At the beginning of the play, she is a highly respected member of the Scottish nobility, has a loving and loyal relationship with her warrior husband, and a quick, logical mind. By the end, she is a despised, mad, suicidal soul, tortured by guilt. By studying Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1, I hope to investigate the ways in which Lady Macbeth alters, and the methods Shakespeare uses to portray these changes. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband informing her about the witches' prophecy that he will be king. In the letter to his wife, Macbeth calls her his "dearest partner of greatness," a comment which shows us the close nature of their marriage and how Macbeth considers his wife to be an equal. (Perhaps an unusual situation in 15th century Scotland!) Shakespeare clearly wants to show Lady Macbeth as a strong woman who has earned the respect of her husband. The readiness of Macbeth to share the witches' astonishing news with Lady Macbeth so quickly and honestly also highlights the trust the pair must place in each other. ...read more.

Middle

In short, she thinks she is a killer, but there is a part of her that wants to close its eyes to what she wants to do. At this point in the play, the other characters consider Lady Macbeth to be a gracious woman, and Duncan calls her "Fair and noble hostess" (Act 1 Scene 6). Her actions in Scene 5 show us this is not the case, but that she is, in fact, cleverly deceptive and good at manipulating others. She instructs Macbeth in this scene to "look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't." These 'false appearances' will be vital if Macbeth and Lady Macbeth want to win the throne without others suspecting them of foul play. Outwardly, Lady Macbeth is the perfect gentlewoman, but inside she is a calculating, cold woman. She seizes the first opportunity to get the throne by planning Duncan's murder for that night, when he is coming to stay; "O never shall sun that morrow see!" Lady Macbeth obviously wants to be heavily involved with the murder, and tells Macbeth to "put this night's great business into my dispatch" and "leave all the rest to me." She wants a sense of power and control over their destiny. For Lady Macbeth's speeches in Act 1 Scene 5, Shakespeare uses verseform. This is done to show Lady Macbeth's thoughts are structured and logical. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her words in Act 5 Scene 1 flow as in a 'train of thought,' and phrases are repeated many times, to emphasise her madness; "Come, come, come, come, give me your hand." Sentences are left unfinished and often make no sense; "One; two: why, then 'tis time to do 't." The doctor makes a very apt comment at the end of this scene; "Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than physician." In other words, Lady Macbeth's invocation of the supernatural ("unnatural") spirits, and her husband's evil actions, have caused her to go mad ("infected minds"). The doctor admits he cannot help. At the beginning, Lady Macbeth finds strength from the supernatural to entice Macbeth to murder Duncan and to go through with the murder herself. As time advances though, her pretended strength diminishes as she fights the torments of her conscience. Lady Macbeth's attempts to suppress her conscience fail, and blame engulfs and destabilizes her. In the end, she chooses death because she can no longer bear the torments of her guilt. The dramatic transformation of such a pivotal character adds suspense to the play, and also delivers a moral message to the audience (which included King James I, who had a personal interest in witchcraft); that the pursuit of witchcraft, murder and evildoing can only lead to downfall. It also reveals a slightly different view of the "fiend-like queen", showing us that she feels remorse, and is vulnerable to it, like any other person. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 1 ...

    Moreover how she controls Macbeth in the use of language 'art thou afeard' shows that Lady Macbeth is questioning Macbeth's masculinity. Additionally she is extremely unmaternal and quite independent especially towards the end of the play. Lady Macbeth is an exceptionally complex character possessing both feminine and masculine traits, this

  2. EXPLORE SHAKESPEARES PRESENTATION OF LADY MACBETH IN ACT 1 SCENES 5 AND 7

    Lady Macbeth thinks evil but Macbeth does evil. But did Macbeth really have to be the one doing the killing?

  1. What impression do the audience get of Lady Macbeth's Character at the end of ...

    evil spirits, he uses the simile of him being such a good king that his 'virtues will plead like angels,' saying that people will not readily accept that someone killed Duncan because they didn't like him, or because they thought that he was a bad king.

  2. Macbeth Act 1, scene 5 Analysis.

    Lady Macbeth sees "remorse" and "peace" as feminine virtues, and in order to void herself of such compassion she must be "unsexed." That she sees femininity as soft and kind is evident in the fact that she calls the waffling Macbeth womanish, telling him that only when he has murdered Duncan will he be a man.

  1. Macbeth - Act 1, Scene 5, Act 1, Scene 7 and Act 5, Scene ...

    She is not heartless, and so must lose her sense of guilt in order to carry out the evil plan. The spirits will mask her innocence and enable Lady Macbeth to take part in the regicide. In Shakespeare's time, it would have been accepted that these evil spirits existed, and

  2. How does Lady Macbeth's language in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene ...

    One key factor we must take under consideration is why did she end up going mad? We know that the whole ignominy was due to stress, but how did this increase of stress overcome her? We contemplate thinking 'Is this the result of her once the use of her body by the witches?'

  1. What impressions of Lady Macbeth do we get in Act 5 Scene 1?

    Were in places it has been a battle between good and evil her for Lady Macbeth is having to battle between conscience and re-assurance. Earlier in the play certain acts lead us to question whether Lady Macbeth had a conscience, well her it is shown that in actual fact she does despite any previous events.

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    It could also be warning readers of Macbeth and his deceptive personality, as well as not to take appearances and people?s personalities for granted as nothing is what it seems to be. Hence, the recurrent theme throughout this scene is the perversion of moral values and the disruption of all

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work