The Ladies in Macbeth

2877 Words12 Pages
The Ladies in Macbeth The audience finds in Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth the appearance of two natural women, and one of those only very briefly. Therefore this paper will present enlightenment of the role of Lady Macbeth mainly, and on the witches only briefly. L.C. Knights in the essay "Macbeth" describes the unnaturalness in the thoughts and words of the plays dominant female force, Lady Macbeth: Thus the sense of the unnaturalness of evil is evoked not only be repeated explicit references ("nature's mischief," "nature seems dead," " 'Tis unnatural, even like the deed that's done," and so on) but by the expression of unnatural sentiments and an unnatural violence of tone in such things as Lady Macbeth's invocation of the "spirits" who will "unsex" her, and her affirmation that she would murder the babe at her breast if she had sworn to do it. (95) In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye shows that a lady is the actual driving force in the play: That Macbeth is being hurried into a premature act by his wife is a point unlikely to escape the most listless member of the audience, but Macbeth comes to regret the instant of fatal delay in murdering Macduff, and draws the moral that The flighty purpose never is o'ertook Unless the deed go with it. From this moment The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand. That is, in future he will try to attain the successful ruler's spontaneous rhythm of action. (91) Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare contradict the impression that the female protagonist is all strength: Lady Macbeth is of a fi... ... middle of paper ... ... Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997. Kermode, Frank. "Macbeth." The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972. Knights, L.C. "Macbeth." Shakespeare: The Tragedies. A Collectiion of Critical Essays. Alfred Harbage, ed. Englewwod Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. http://chemicool.com/Shakespeare/macbeth/full.html, no lin. Siddons, Sarah. "Memoranda: Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth." The Life of Mrs. Siddons. Thomas Campbell. London: Effingham Wilson, 1834. Rpt. in Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997. Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.

More about The Ladies in Macbeth

Open Document