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

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Introduction

What impressions of Lady Macbeth do we get in Act 5 Scene 1? In this scene Lady Macbeth is observed sleepwalking but a doctor and a nurse. The guilt of Lady Macbeth is evident during this scene as she reveals her true colours whilst unaware of her surroundings. Things are slipping out of hand for Lady Macbeth; this is most evident in her figurative yet fragmented language, as she talks about the murder of Duncan. Throughout the scene Lady Macbeth is revealing her past- her lies. She shows what has been hiding behind the mask all this time all in one night, every night, as we know she is not pretending as she is sleeping. Lady Macbeth is filled with guilt. However, this guilt was put aside when controlling Macbeth, as when she was controlling Macbeth she felt as though she was controlling her guilt. But, now when Macbeth can no longer be controlled neither can her guilt, it is almost as if it has been displaced. When she was controlling Macbeth, when they were together, there guilt was being shared, but know when she is isolated there is no one to shear the guilt with. The guilt has started to drive her mad as she can no longer control it as it has started to control her. ...read more.

Middle

We know Macbeth has adopted a new policy which seems to be working for him at the moment, 'the first thing of my heart, shall be the first thing of my hand' this also shows that he feels he no longer needs to discus his ideas to gain reassurance. Lady Macbeth is very alone when she had the power Macbeth stayed by her side yet when it is lost so is he. Lady Macbeth is conveyed as very vulnerable, she is a women asleep, on her own, and weakened. Duncan was vulnerable when he was asleep, this also help support the argument that Lady Macbeth is vulnerable. Sleep is one aspect of life which helps it work. Macbeth on the other hand can not sleep this is bad and was also predicted in the prophecy 'Macbeth shall sleep no more'. Where Lady Macbeth can sleep it haunt her and she'd rather not. When Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were together they were strong with each others support, now that there apart they are weak. During her sleep Lady Macbeth is giving the game away to both the General women and Doctor. This means she can no longer 'look like the flower, but be the serpent underneath it' as their secrecy was there security. Lady Macbeth seems to be living a lie; this will lead to further questions being raised by those who know the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

To a certain extent irony plays a large role in Act 5 Scene 1, as the physical symptoms of Lady Macbeth's guilt include hopelessly trying to clean her hands. We can link this to both her statement 'a little water clears us of this deed', and Macbeths insight upon actually committing the murder that 'will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood... clean from my hand?' Although they share a common aim (ambition), their beliefs are different; ultimately, however all their beliefs are proved hollow. Lady Macbeth however can be shown as the victim as she didn't think through the 'plan' to its full extent as she didn't acknowledge all the aspects and outcomes. She is almost a victim of her own wrong doing. Lady Macbeth has given Macbeth so much- she is to a certain extent the person who gave him his power. Yet Macbeth has just left Lady Macbeth by herself. Where she gave him ambition she has suffered as now he's got ambition he no longer need Lady Macbeth. Macbeth has decided to put ambition before family, this may be a reason for why he found it easy to slaughter Macduff's family and attempted to do the same to Fleance. However, unlike the other victims in the play Lady Macbeth is not a victim of murder but a victim of her own guilt which is eating her away and will eventually leave here dead inside. ...read more.

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