During Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', Lady Macbeth shows herself to be a
controversial figure, battling with her will and conscience. The first
we see of Lady Macbeth is in the opening of Act 1, Scene 5, where she
is reading a letter from her husband, Macbeth, out loud. The letter
from Macbeth reveals what has happened, but he has chosen to mainly
write about the prophesy of the weird sisters, and the possibility of
him seizing the throne in the near future. 'I have learned by the
perfect'st report, they have more in them than mortal knowledge',
shows that Macbeth thinks that what the weird sisters had told him
were true, as 'perfect'st report' means most reliable information.
Macbeth refers to his wife as his 'dearest partner in greatness', that
shows affection and kind regard for Lady Macbeth. 'Greatness is
Having the letter read out loud is a theatrical convention as it tells
the audience about events that they may not have knowledge of, or
revealing relevant information, and can describe the writer's
The idea of the weird sisters, who are mentioned in the letter, is
maybe a theatrical tradition of Shakespeare's time, as the audience
have an interest and belief in the supernatural.
Macbeth tells her she 'mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing' because
she will be queen. However, Lady Macbeth does not rejoice and instead
starts to consider her husbands character. Although she knows that her
husband is ambitious, she tells us in a soliloquy that she believes he
'is too full o' th' milk of human kindness'. She plans to push him
into killing Duncan to gain the crown and to ...
... middle of paper ...
...be a metaphor of this.
We do not hear of Lady Macbeth again until the news of her suicide.
This brings the message that her conscience got the better of her. She
ends a very different character to the Lady Macbeth we saw at the
start of the play in Act 1, Scene 5. At one time she had nothing but
ambition and had nothing but the will for Macbeth to become king.
However, as time goes on, Lady Macbeth shows the first signs of her
conscience, and there is a sudden dramatic change. She was fighting
with her conscience, and blocked it out completely with her will. The
last time we see her, she is a nervous wreck, who has troubled dreams
and thoughts, thus the battle between her conscience and will are
over. What seemed to be a woman full of cruelty and bitterness turned
out to give way under the pressure of her conscience.
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