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

What kind of Woman is Lady Macbeth? How does Shakespeare present her character?

Extracts from this document...


Abigail Kaye What kind of Woman is Lady Macbeth? How does Shakespeare present her character? Throughout Macbeth, we are introduced to several interesting characters that influence events for good or bad. Perhaps the most complete character of all could be argued to be Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth often takes centre stage and reveals her emotions to the audience through several soliloquies. Because she is such a complex character, the audience has to make their own conclusions about her personality and drive behind her actions. To me, she appears at first to be loving but ambitious. By the end of the play, Lady Macbeth is revealed to be cruel but loyal, aggressive, ruthless and neurotic. The fact that she kills herself shows how mentally unstable she becomes. Lady Macbeth plays a crucial part in the key events surrounding Macbeth. Throughout the play we see her determination build to a point where she pushes Macbeth and herself over the edge. We see that as soon as Lady Macbeth reads her husband's letter telling her of the witches' predictions she instantly starts to plan the murder of King Duncan. As soon as Macbeth returns home, she quickly plants seeds of ruthless ambition into his mind and we watch her guide him along the treacherous path of murder and deceit. When Macbeth starts to have doubts, she rapidly persuades him to go ahead with the King's murder. ...read more.


This shows that he already is beginning to break. He is imagining things will eventually contribute to his downfall. Lady Macbeth dismisses this as ramblings of a man just having done a terrible deed and leads him to bed. She calms him by telling him to "go, get some water", almost like he has just cut his hand or some other minor incident. We see that she has no concern for the fact that a murder has taken place when she goes to take the daggers back. She is more frustrated that Macbeth has evidence of the crime with him than the fact that the King is dead. "Why did you bring these daggers from the place?" is proof of her desperation that they not be discovered. She is willing to take the risk in taking the daggers back to the guards and covering them with the blood (to make the blame fall on them) rather than have them on her person if she is caught. The next morning Macbeth makes the mistake of killing the guards. Although he does it as if in a rage about the King's death, afterwards when explaining his deeds to the King's Men, he starts to babble. Lady Macbeth conveniently faints to distract the guards from Macbeth's gibberish. Here we see that she is aware of her feminine charms and uses them to protect her husband. ...read more.


Shakespeare presents a more realistic representation of men and women. Another central aspect to the play is the fact that throughout it Shakespeare hints that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth had lost a child. Macbeth kills MacDuff's family perhaps out of spite and MacDuff's response is that he cannot get proper revenge, as Macbeth doesn't have a family. Perhaps the lack of children explains why Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are so ruthless, value status so highly and put so much energy into achieving the status that they crave so much. I think that Lady Macbeth probably resented being stuck in a castle all the time. By this I mean it would be hard not to have as much freedom as she would have done before she was married. Married women often felt constricted by their husbands and so she put all of her energy into herself and ambitions. This in itself wasn't wrong but she did it in such a way that she ended up taking the wrong path and pursuing the wrong kind of ambitions. She allowed herself to follow the route that led to murder and self-destruction whilst also leading Macbeth too. It is often down to the actor to interpret their character's actions and so Lady Macbeth is often portrayed in many different ways when performed. I believe Shakespeare intended Lady Macbeth to be a strong resolute woman eventually brought down by the pressure of experiencing ultimate power and then being eaten up by it. ...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. Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play

    Throughout this scene Lady Macbeth uses a very patronising and disgusted tone to emphasise what she thinks of Macbeth at this point in the play. By the manner in which she takes control of this situation it is clear that although Macbeth is a strong and brave soldier, he seems unable to stand up to his wife.

  2. Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

    At that moment her whole body would be overcome with tiredness and fatigue and her head would slump forward while she continues her soliloquy only looking up when softly saying the lines "Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell" in which she would make a welcoming gesture with her hands towards the window.

  1. Hat kind of woman is Lady Macbeth? How influential is she in the play.

    This tells me that she must have truly believed that she had a large part to do with the murder of Duncan. This also gives me the impression that she might have been neurotic or unstable, possibly depressed of a loss of a child.

  2. How does Shakespeare present the character of Lady Macbeth in 'Macbeth'?

    Lady Macbeth is first unleashed upon the audience in Act 1, Scene 5 where she is reading aloud the letter that her husband has just sent her. In the letter, he tells her of the prophecy from the witches that he is to become the Thane of Cawdor.

  1. After studying the Banquet Scene in Macbeth, what evidence do you find of Shakespeare's ...

    has really contrasted two different sides of Macbeth and has shown the audience just how quickly his personality can change by not having anyone speaking between 'The table round' and 'There's blood upon thy face'. When Macbeth first speaks to the murderer, Shakespeare uses short sentences to play up the tension and anxiety that Macbeth is feeling.

  2. What is your opinion of Lady Macbeth as a wife and as a woman?

    When most women would have only dreamed, she actually planned and worked for Macbeth to be king and herself to be queen. When we next see Lady Macbeth, it is in act one scene seven. It starts with Macbeth talking to himself, trying to contemplate the murder of the king.

  1. What are your views on the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth from your ...

    Although Lady Macbeth is set on going through with the deed Macbeth starts to have second thoughts. He is worried what would happen if something went wrong 'If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.'

  2. The Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth forms a central concern in the play.

    Clearly their words have touched a nerve for Macbeth. After hearing of his new title he becomes immediately curious and challenges the witches, "Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more." Macbeth absorbed in thought considering how his kingship might be achieved, reveals his secret ambition and the idea of regicide is planted.

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