Character Analysis Of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'

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Choose a play in which a central character is slow to understand fully the seriousness of his or her situation. Explain how this situation has developed and discuss how the character’s behaviour influences your overall assessment of him or her.

‘Macbeth’ is a tragedy written by the English playwright, William Shakespeare and includes a central character that is slow to understand fully the seriousness of her situation. Lady Macbeth is the ambitious and amoral wife of Macbeth, who encourages, and aids him in committing regicide and as a result loses everything she had. The situation escalates very quickly from hosting Duncan in their castle to killing him mercilessly. By the end it is clear that she did not fully understand the severity of
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She is only heard off stage and is an indicator of the physical decline of the Macbeth family, as Lady Macbeth snow no longer in control. Shakespeare reveals how ordinary people react as they discover the enormity of the crimes committed by the Macbeths. In addition Shakespeare brilliantly depicts the psychological ‘truth’ of a mental breakdown: mental torture, the guilt and obsession with the past. Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth’s condition as very sorrowful, but also clearly as the result of her own choices. During Lady Macbeth’s sleep walking scene she reveals every aspect of the regicide and indirectly confesses to the murder, in the presence of the priest and waiting-gentlewoman. They both hear her reveal her guilt and watch her futile attempts to remove the blood from her hands. She exclaims: “out damned spot!” this shows how she fails to shift her emotional guilt and remorse after numerous attempts to forget the deed. This is said in contrast to her earlier statement about how a little water will relieve them of their culpability. The physical symptoms of washing her hands reminds us also of Macbeth’s insight upon actually committing the murder that “Will all great Neptune’s oceans was this blood/ Clean from my hands? No”. The subject of dramatic irony is made apparent here and is used to reveal Lady Macbeth’s guilt. Shakespeare has Lady Macbeth say, “what’s done is done”, thus suggesting that it would no longer be of concern. Here, despite all her courage, ambition and strength of purpose, all that has been ‘done’ is not past, but present - and ever present - in her mind. She herself refers to her earlier words when she says, ‘What’s done cannot be
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