Comparing act 1 scene 5 with act 5 scene 1 of Macbeth

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James Robertson 10S

Comparing act 1 scene 5 with act 5 scene 1 of Macbeth

There are many similarities and differences between the two scenes of Macbeth. One of the main differences is the ambition of the two main characters. As soon as Lady Macbeth reads the letter, in act 1 scene 5, her ambition shows, “thus thou must do if thou have it”. Her ambition grows stronger when she finds out that king Duncan is coming to stay overnight, she prepares herself for evil with the “unsex me” speech, this shows that she is willing remove her weakness of being a woman for, “direst cruelty”. This dramatic speech (which is quite early on in the play) gets the audience interested in the play, the speech is made dramatic by Shakespeare’s use of vile language, “make thick my blood”. In this scene macbeth is not as ambitious as his wife and does not get much chance to speak because Lady Macbeth is dominating and is in control of the relationship.

In act 5 scene 1 there are many changes. Lady Macbeth who was so powerful and ambitious is now neither of these but a guilty woman in the middle of a mental breakdown, “will these hands ne’er be clean?”. This surprises the audience that she could change so much which also interests the audience. This scene does not have to be as dramatic as act 1 scene 5 because Shakespeare already has the audience’s attention. By this scene Macbeth’s ambitions have grown a lot but Lady Macbeth no longer has any ambition, and Macbeth is the dominating character of the relationship unlike in act 1 scene 5, it is as if the two characters have reversed roles. In act 1 scene 5 Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were very trusting and loving of each other, “my dearest partner of greatness” but now their relationship has nearly fallen to pieces.

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        Ambition is the fundamental theme of the play because it is the driving force of Macbeth’s life. In act 1 scene 5 there was also themes of loyalty and treachery because they are plotting to murder the king which also involves the theme of life and death. Lady Macbeth’s “unsex me” speech was clearly a theme of evil and the supernatural.

        In act 5 scene 1 the main theme is the guilt that lady Macbeth feels. The ambition from act 1 scene 5 led to evil to treason to death and now to guilt. The fact that Lady Macbeth ...

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