The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

opinion Essay
1549 words
1549 words

The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

The Task: Discuss Shakespeare’s presentation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1

Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 of ‘Macbeth.’ Account for the changes and

differences you notice and suggest how a contemporary as well as a

modern audience might respond to these scenes.

Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth tells the story

of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy from a

trio of sinister witches that one day he will become king of Scotland.

Consumed with ambitious thoughts and urged to action by his wife,

Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself. He

begins his reign wracked with guilt and fear and soon becomes a

dictatorial ruler, as he is forced to commit more and more murders to

protect him from hate and suspicion. The bloodbath swiftly propels

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to arrogance, madness, and death.

Macbeth’s wife is a deeply ambitious woman who desires for power and

position. Early in the play she seems to be the stronger and more

ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill Duncan and seize

the crown. After the bloodshed begins, however, Lady Macbeth falls

victim to guilt and madness to an even greater degree than her

husband. Her conscience affects her to such an extent that she

eventually commits suicide. Interestingly, she and Macbeth are

presented as being deeply in love, and many of Lady Macbeth’s speeches

imply that her influence over her husband is primarily sexual. Their

joint disaffection from the world, occasioned by their partnership in

crime, seems to strengthen the attachment that they feel to each


... middle of paper ...

... with her eyes wide open. Shakespeare

uses constant reference to act 1 in act 5. As Lady Macbeth washes

away an imperceptible spot, this signifies to the audience what

happened in act 1 when she tells Macbeth to wash as bloodstain.

Additionally Lady Macbeth is thought to be the more corrupting

character through the play as she is confident to murder the king, but

as the play ends she is identified to be more ruined than Macbeth and

is driven into insanity. Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth to portray a

strong message to the audience. Lady Macbeth is exposed as a manly

character, who wishes to have masculine features. She was driven to

kill herself by guilt and we think that she executes herself by

suicide. The play reveals many moral and religious issues; there is

comparison and reference to biblical stories.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that it is too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest.
  • Analyzes how she uses her poetic skill to make the spell flow.
  • Opines that at one point, she wishes she were not a woman so that she could.
  • Analyzes how in act 1 scene 7 we see that macbeth is still two minded in killing.
  • Opines that guilt is never easy, but she has found out the hard way.
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