The Power Of Power In Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth And Cleopatra
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Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra Analysis
Power can be achieved in many ways: coercion, lust, fear, and hope. The women in Shakespeare’s plays portray power struggles in their ultimate quest for such status. This essay aims to compare and contrast two monologues from Shakespeare's tragedies and their leading ladies. The focus will center itself on 1.5 from Macbeth and 4.15 from Antony and Cleopatra. With a brief summary of each play and in-depth text analysis of each woman’s monologue, I hope to highlight the how their power is directly correlated with their femininity, and how each woman’s language set them apart.
Macbeth centers around Macbeth and his eventual madness in his pursuit of the kingdom. Aided by his wife and the prophecy of the witches,…show more content… She calls into question the powers above her and the powers she has herself. That it isn’t enough, and that she is defeated, which is represented by throwing in her ruling scepter, which could be understood as waving a flag of defeat. Each woman speaks of milk and draws a parallel to their desired roles. Cleopatra claims she has been reduced to a milkmaid, nothing more than a servant. While Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to make her milk poison. While each woman speaks for a different reason, we can infer Shakespeare intended that milk is seen as nurturing and subservient and that both women wanted to renounce those qualities in pursuit of powers. While Cleopatra’s monologue comes near the ending of her story and Lady Macbeth’s at the beginning they mirror each other that their nurturing life is not the life either…show more content… She marches toward death with great nobility and pride. She says: “Let’s do it after high Roman fashion and make death proud to take us.” (4.15.89-90.) The end of her monologue ends with a rhyme, which almost makes her march toward her suicide a happy ending. Her language indicates that she greets death with open arms and accepts that ending her life is the greatest resolution she can achieve. It has iambic pentameter and slowly marches toward a musical ending.
In contrast with Cleopatra’s monologues in 1.4 Lady Macbeth greets a new evil future into her heart and home. The future is felt in an instant after she has called upon the spirits to make her more than a woman. Both women are moving toward something, but Lady Macbeth’s monologue expresses a sense of urgency to usher in change. It offers no rhyme and keeps to long-winded sentences with minor stops to break. Lady Macbeth’s language is common and speaks directly to what she