The Character of Lady Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Character of Lady Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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The Character of Lady Macbeth by William Shakespeare


We are introduced to the character of Lady Macbeth in Act.1 scene 5,
after she reads the letter from Macbeth, and from the start you can
see that she is going to be evil. (Act.1 scene.5), " Yet do I fear thy
nature, It is too full o'th' milk of human kindness". You can see
already she is determined to do something about this problem, of
Macbeth being to kind and innocent to kill another person for him
self. "Hie thee hither….pour my spirits". So she can get him home and
change him into the man that could kill the king, by manipulating him,
"in thine ear". And changing his mind into being more like hers, more
ruthless, "The illness should attend it", more ambitious and
convictions. "Shalt be, What thou art promised". Here this is spoken
with power.

"Thou wouldst be great". At this point she is more determined and
motivated then him.

I can almost see that, if she were a man, that she could kill the king
without any remorse and guilt. "Unsex me here…Stop…remorse". And she
would be able to do it without showing any pity for the king. "That no
compunctions …Th' effect and it". And so no barriers should come
between her and her fulfilment of Macbeth becoming king, which shows
she loves him very much.

Throughout this scene I can see Lady Macbeth psyching herself up.

(Act.1 scene.5), "Come you spirits", so the evil spirits could take
over her.

"Come to my woman's beasts, And take my milk for gall". And so she
could be filled with rage and malice.

"Come thick night". So she can cover up her tracks in the night when
she goes to kill the king. And all this preparation of killing King
Duncan happens before she even meets Macbeth.

Once they do get together, she is still as evil-minded as before and
now becomes even more sinister and manipulative. (Act.1 scene.5), "My
dearest love, Duncan comes here tonight".

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Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth
in a hesitant way, while savouring each word. And she responds by
saying in a shape way,

"When goes hence". In an ominously way, with a stress on the words
"goes hence". Which I think has a double meaning of

1. When will Duncan leave to go back to his castle?

2. When will he leave to go to his grave?

To which Macbeth replies in a cheeky way. "Tomorrow, as he purpose".
And in a shocking response she says. "O never, Shall sun that morrow
see". So she has already decided to kill the king while the
opportunity's there that night. To which Macbeth feels a little
shocked. "Your face, my Thane is as a book". Where anyone can read
what you are going to or about to do implies Lady Macbeth. So she
tells him to, "Look" and "Bear welcome in your eyes, Your hand, your
tongue".

And so do and say all the right things to make him feel welcomed, "He
that's coming must be provided for". But, "Look like th' innocent
flower, But be the serpent under't". So that Macbeth could deceive
everyone at the party and then kill Duncan.

And through the whole of Act.1 scene 7 Macbeth is divided weather he
should kill the king or not but then finally decides not to. To which
Lady Macbeth is not happy, (Act.1 scene.7), "We will proceed no
further in this business". Macbeth says to her and to which she has to
think fast of how to change his mind back to killing Duncan. So at
first she insults his love for her, "Such I account thy love". What
she means by saying this was if you (Macbeth) could change your mind
so quick about the killing of the king then you can change you
feelings about me (Lady Macbeth) just as quick. And when that never
worked she, then she insulted his bravery.

"Art thou afeard….as thou art in desire", taunting him and calling him
a coward. "And live a coward in thine own esteem". And when that never
worked, then she insulted his man hood. "When you durst do it, then
you were a man". And then she goes on to say that when they had just
ideas he was willing to kill Duncan but now that they have got time
and place he has changed his mind. "Nor time nor place, Did then
adhere, and yet you would make both". And then finally she turns him
by saying if she had sworn to kill the king to him then, she would
have gone though with it "How tender 'tis to love the babe………had I so
sworn you". But the way she said it to Macbeth made him think that she
was really loyal to him and so he changed his mind back to killing the
king. "If we should fail?" said Macbeth. And she replyies with a
passionate remark, "we fail!".

But then she encourages and motivates him. "But screw your courage to
the sticking-place, And we'll not fail". And then she comes with all
the plans of how and when they should kill the king. (Act.1 scene.7),
"Whereto the rather shall his day……Th' unguarded Duncan". And she
plans then to palm the whole murder on the drunken guards. "His spongy
officers, who shall bear the guilt, Of our great quell?". And Macbeth
enthusiastic says, "Bring forth men-children only", for she can only
have boys with her kind of heart. And after they have killed Duncan
they will act as in deep remorse. "As we shall make our griefs and
clamour roar, Upon his death". And Macbeth can only reply by saying,
"False face must hide…. false heart doth know".

Even when it comes to the murder scene she is not as strong as she
made out to be. (Act.2 scene.2), "That which hath made them drunk hath
made me bold".

This implies that she has to have some drink to make her go through
with it.

"What hath quenched them hath given me fire". And that she is a little
nervous so that's why she had to have some drink. And she even says
that, "Had he not resembled, My father as he slept, I had done't".
Which shows that she had some guilt and loyalty to her father and that
she is not as evil as she made out to be at the start and would not
have been able to kill him.

And after she finds out that Macbeth has killed him, there is a lot of
tensions in the language between her and Macbeth. And as Macbeth
starts to think about what he has done, he starts to feel guilty and
sorry for doing it, but she quickly gets rid of those feelings. "A
foolish thought, to say a sorry sight". And she tells him not to think
so much, and so hard about it too. "Consider it not so deeply". And
that he will go mad if he lets this take over him. "These deeds must
not be thought……it will makes us mad". And when Macbeth is telling her
that, he could never get rid of the blood on his hands, "Go get some
water", is her responds to him, as if all his sins and thoughts will
be washed away with the blood. "A little water clears us of this
deed", is what she tells him when she gets some blood on her hands, so
we know she will not be having the same trouble of getting over it
like Macbeth does.

She is also very calm for someone who has just help to commit a
murder. "They must lie there…grooms with blood". Is what she tells
Macbeth after he comes back with the daggers. And after she comes back
from putting the daggers back in the chamber of the guards, she almost
accepts the fact that she is now a murder herself. "But I shame to
wear a heart so white". And even when they hear somebody knocking at
their door she still has time to stay calm and think of what to do
next. "Retire we to our chambers" and "get on your nightgown", she
tells Macbeth, and then she almost pleads and urges Macbeth not to be
so lost in his thoughts of the murdered. "Be not lost, So poorly in
your thoughts". So that they can go back to their rooms and hide until
they hear about the murder of the King

My conclusion is that Lady Macbeth is diffidently the main driving
force be hide the murder of King Duncan. Because from the start she
was the determined one, who planed and thought ahead about Macbeth
being King. (Act.1 scene.5) "And shalt be, What thou art promised".
"Thou wouldst be great". She is absolutely convinced that he has to
become King.

And she is the one who thought of how and when to kill King Duncan.

(Act.1 scene.7), "When Duncan is asleep…What cannot you and I perform
on the unguarded Duncan". So she very evil minded but gets the job
done.

And she was the one who took control of most of the situation.

(Act.1 scene.5), "To beguile the time……And you shall put, this nights
business into my dispatch". And "Leave all the rest to me". Here she
takes full control of the problems of when Duncan is coming over.

(Act.1 scene.7), "As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar, Upon
his death". Here she tells him how to act sad and troubled after
killing Duncan.

(Act.2 scene.2), "They must lie there". "Give me the daggers". And
here she takes the daggers back to the chambers where the drunken
guards were.

And she is also the one who comforts and helps Macbeth when he is
really upset and sad. (Act.2 scene.2), "A foolish thought". She says
to help him, to get over killing Duncan. "Consider it not so deeply".
She says to make him stop thinking about it. "Give me the daggers".
She asks him because he can't bear going back into the room with the
dead Duncan.

And so I think that if Lady Macbeth weren't the person she is then
Macbeth would have never become King.
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