The Characterisation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5

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The Characterisation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5

The Macbeth scenes are generally intended to express tragedy in the

play. Much of the scene in Act 1 Scene 5 is concentrated on Lady

Macbeth, because she has dominance over her husband. The scene

commences with Lady Macbeth in solitary. She had received a letter

from Macbeth that he had been announced Thane of Cawdor after a

victorious battle. Macbeth had also written that the witches predict

he will replace Duncan as King. After reading the letter, Lady Macbeth

had been informed that the King will come and stay at her place. She

immediately draws spirits to elude out her femininity and sympathy.

She later encourages Macbeth of how he should plan his murder of King


In the first scene, Shakespeare had informed the audience of “thunder

and lightning”, this gives a stereotypical view of something evil and

sinister. This fits in with the conventions of tragedy, because we see

that evil has immense power conveyed by the weather. Even more

sinister, appears “three witches” – this is a traditional number of

witches appearing at once as it resembles powerfulness, linking it in

to the supernatural world of sinful spells.

Lady Macbeth seems more committed to the murder of King Duncan than

Macbeth, because she is wholehearted in her actions and Macbeth very

much doubts the murder. He asks “If we should fail”, and she responds

“we fail?”- this is an indication of her devotion to the murder and

attempts to convince Macbeth it is inevitable. These quotes also tell

us that Lady Macbeth has fated Macbeth to become a sinful murderer.

There is other evidence that Lady Macbeth is po...

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...ess” is a weakness, which explains her condemnation of


Macbeth is a dramatic melodrama play, which is famously known for its

conventions of tragedy. We see it greatly in the eyes of Lady Macbeth,

because her ambitions for her husband to kill the King for the throne

were a doomed fate that was inevitable. We feel sympathy for King

Duncan for his undeserved death, and this leads on to the downfall of

a great person. As the King could do nothing, this play can tell us

that evil fate is indestructible.

Lady Macbeth is the sinful icon that crystallises her character

development, which improves the Macbeth story to keep us focused. Her

association with witchcraft had made her more powerful and energetic

for her intentions. She had demonstrated her manipulation of Macbeth

and shown that evil prevails.
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