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With Particular Reference to Acts I and II, Explain why Lady Macbeth would be such a Horrific Character for Shakespeare's Audience.

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Introduction

With Particular Reference to Acts I and II, Explain why Lady Macbeth would be such a Horrific Character for Shakespeare's Audience. When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in 1606 the audience would have reacted disapprovingly towards Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they were committing sacrilege by killing the king and putting Macbeth on the throne. However, the audience would have looked especially negatively of Lady Macbeth as she went against the Jacobean idea of women. The first time we hear of Macbeth is by the witches in (act 1, scene 1, line 8). This shows that Macbeth has a link with the supernatural, which was frowned upon in the Jacobean times. The first impression we get of Lady Macbeth is when she is reading Macbeth's letter, Macbeth calls her "his dearest partner of greatness" this shows us that Macbeth loves his wife at this point in the play. After Lady Macbeth has read the letter she considers her husbands character and she says that he lacks ruthlessness while she claims that she has enough ambition for the both of them, "pour my spirits in thy ears" (act 1, scene 5, line 25), and she showers Macbeth in negative praise. ...read more.

Middle

After the banquet Macbeth begins to have doubts about his plans to kill Duncan because he knows that this would be the wrong thing to do and his conscience would be in turmoil. Lady Macbeth however with her ruthless ambition convinces him to do it and she says that if she made a promise and went against it she would pluck her baby from her nipple and "dash'd the brains out" (act 1, scene 7, line 57). This goes against her maternal instinct again and it also shows that the supernatural forces are listening to her and taking away her femininity. Also in this scene Lady Macbeth challenges her husband's manhood, which would have been a great insult to any man of the time. To alter favour ever is to fear". Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is saying that if you change your mind, you had better watch out! In Act 2 Scene 2 Lady Macbeth has prepared for the murder and waits for Macbeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

She makes Macbeth feel that they are both equal to blame for the murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth is trying to straighten out Macbeth although he is still quite fearful. Lady Macbeth does not reappear until Act 2 Scene 3. In this scene Macduff is appalled by Duncan's death Lady Macbeth is told of Duncan's death but says "What, in our house?" She seems puzzled but not at all shocked. She does not show feelings of what a natural woman would do. The only other woman we have to compare to Lady Macbeth is Lady Macduff in act 4, scene 2. In this scene lady Macduff is talking to her son in a motherly way that one would expect from a mother unlike lady Macbeth who talks of bashing her baby's brains out. In Act 5 Scene 1, we see Lady Macbeth again, but this time she has been through different moods. Lady Macbeth's waiting gentlewoman has called in a doctor to view Lady Macbeth's actions in her sleepwalking. ...read more.

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