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

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Introduction

Christopher Adams 10H1 What impression do the audience get of Lady Macbeth's Character at the end of Act 1? Our first impression of Lady Macbeth is given in Act one scene five, in which she is reading a letter from Macbeth, containing the witch's predictions. She instantly links herself with the witches, as she is exited by the predictions, and is keen to make him succeed, disregarding the consequences, both for herself and Macbeth. The audience, especially in Elizabethan times believed in supernatural powers and witchcraft, making this scene extremely effective by highlighting Lady Macbeth's wicked nature, and eagerness to force Macbeth to fulfil the prediction. She knows that Macbeth is ambitious, and she is also ambitious, but she has a more wicked quality, much more so than Macbeth. Lady Macbeth knows that she will have to be the main force behind Macbeth, as he will not do it on his own. She knows that she will have to seduce and influence Macbeth to make him fulfil the witch's predictions. Intelligence is one of her attributes and she is always sure of getting her own way. Lady Macbeth wants the spirits to help her and to change Macbeth's mind. 'That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, And chastise with the valour of my tongue all the impedes thee from the golden round.' Lady Macbeth urges the evil spirits of the witches to come and influence Macbeth. You can see how sure of herself she is as she is predicting what Macbeth's reaction will be even before she has discussed anything with him, indicating her power over him and how intimately she knows her husband, so much that she can foresee what he will, and will not want to do. She is extremely confidant that she can change Macbeth's mind, she boasts of the 'valour' of her tongue, and is a good example of how devious, manipulative and self confidant Lady Macbeth can be. ...read more.

Middle

'Conduct me to mine host, we love him highly, And shall continue our graces towards him.' He says that he will continue to give him good things, to keep Macbeth on his side, as he would be a powerful enemy. Macbeth is a leader of the army and probably commands the loyalty of the army, which would be a powerful tool if he were ever to disagree with the king. The king is trying to avoid a situation like that by hinting that he is going to do more things for him, so that Macbeth will wait and see what he does before taking matters into his own hands. Duncan also thinks that Macbeth loves him and would only do something like that as a last resort, showing his naivety again of Macbeth's character, and especially him underestimation of lady Macbeth. In a soliloquy, Macbeth begins to agree with Lady Macbeth, and begins to think about the practicalities, showing his real intent to go through with it. 'If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well if it were done quickly,' Here Macbeth admits that he does want to kill Duncan, but also realises that he must take his chances while he can to avoid getting caught, or him missing his opportunity and never getting the chance to become king. He says this, so that the audience know that he is going to do it that night, so it builds the suspense. He still uses the word 'if' indicating that Lady Macbeth has persuaded him to do it. Lady Macbeth was confidant that she could persuade him earlier in scene six, and now the audience would see that it has worked, and it would reinforce their view of how devious, and manipulative she is. Macbeth tries to lessen what he is planning to do, and justify it to himself, in an effort to make himself feel less guilty about plotting such an evil deed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth is clearly the driving force behind the whole plan and the audience would see that clearly and hate her much more than Macbeth. She repeats her metaphor from three lines before, and turns it on him, showing her quick thinking and ability to make him feel bad. She says also that he looks green and pale, hinting that he looks weak, which would be an insult to him as he is a top soldier, and that would offend him, and Lady Macbeth knows that. She uses the metaphor of being drunk, saying that he was drunk on hope, and pretends that she doesn't see why he wants to back out, just that he has lost his nerve. Lady Macbeth then attacks him where it would really make him want to prove her otherwise, his courage. 'And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,' Like the poor cat I' th' adage?' Here she accuses him of being a coward in her eyes, and saying that he is restricting himself by his own cowardice. Earlier in the play a soldier tells of how brave and valiant Macbeth is and how he courageously fought in a battle, so the audience know that this is not true, and Lady Macbeth also knows that isn't true, but she only does it to try and make him kill Duncan. She accuses him of not loving her, and of being a coward in the hope that he will prove his courage and love by killing Duncan, then she would be happy to be proved wrong because she has exactly what she wants. She also refers to a story of a cat, who wanted some fish, but was to stubborn to wet her paws, that she never got any. It is ironic that she says that some of Macbeth's qualities that are good, are bad, and she uses his courage and valour against him, and turns it around to use it for evil, giving the audience another reason to hate her. ...read more.

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