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What important developments and changes can be seen in the character of Lady Macbeth in the course of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'?

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Introduction

What important developments and changes can be seen in the character of Lady Macbeth in the course of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'? In the course of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', Lady Macbeth is a loving, caring wife. She is confident, determined and positive. Lady Macbeth is a great partner to Macbeth; Lady Macbeth does for her husband what he cannot do for himself. She encourages him to take chances, to further his ambitions at any cost, to do things no other man would dare. And he follows, spurred on by her sheer enthusiasm and daring. In the early scenes we see her in action. She is always in charge. She takes control. She acts in a practical manner when Macbeth expresses doubts about murdering the king, organizing and planning the deed with precision. She appears to be absolutely secure in her belief in her husband's claim to the throne and her own position as his side as queen. So she supports him and, when he can do no more, she herself gilds the faces of the grooms with blood. ...read more.

Middle

Almost inevitably, once they find themselves so caught up in evil that they cannot escape, the relationship begins to break up. Macbeth no longer relies on his wife. The strength she once showed has been passed on to him. He is now in control. Her support is no longer necessary. In a sense, she has fulfilled her role and is in danger of being left behind, lonely and neglected, while her husband goes about the business of making war and defending his position. Lady Macbeth does not appear until later on we see her as an isolated, broken and mentally disturbed woman, no longer a great partner to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth seems totally devoted to evil. She calls upon the forces of evil to unsex her, taking away the very compassion that is usually associated with the female sex. There is a dreadful destructiveness in her words, a fervor and commitment that is truly frightening. There is only one aim in life, to achieve the goal of kingship for Macbeth, with her at his side. ...read more.

Conclusion

You might remember that earlier in the play Lady Macbeth was unable to kill the king herself, claiming he looked too much like her father. Not much later she advises her husband. ' These deeds must not be thought/ after these ways: so, it will make us mad'. Now this is exactly what we see at the end of the play, a woman driven to madness and eventually self-destruction by her guilt and despair, yet still unwilling to accept reality and her own weakness. There is a marked frailty and vulnerability about her final appearance in the play. We see a woman out of control. Filled with guilt and fear she re-enacts past happenings, her mind wandering from one event to another. Yet we are moved to pity Lady Macbeth at the end of the play - or is she also too far steeped in blood for us o feel compassion? Whatever the reason being, I agree this remains a complex and fascinating portrait of a strong and powerful woman, with the ability to motivate herself and others. She creates her own selfish world of evil. She at once fascinates and repels me. Wong Hui Chyn 11I English Literature Coursework: 'Macbeth' ...read more.

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