Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth '

Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth '

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Choose a play in which a central character is slow to understand fully the seriousness of his or her situation. Explain how this situation has developed and discuss how the character’s behaviour influences your overall assessment of him or her.

‘Macbeth’ is a tragedy written by the English playwright, William Shakespeare and includes a central character that is slow to understand fully the seriousness of her situation. Lady Macbeth is the ambitious and amoral wife of Macbeth, who encourages, and aids him in committing regicide and as a result loses everything she had. The situation escalates very quickly from hosting Duncan in their castle to killing him mercilessly. By the end it is clear that she did not fully understand the severity of her deed.

Lady Macbeth is a very complex character who is emotionally stronger, more ruthless and more ambitious than her husband. Shakespeare does not present Lady Macbeth in the same light as her husband, Macbeth. She is not portrayed as his equal but her role, however, is crucial and also supplementary to the work of the witches: Macbeth is tempted to do evil and Lady Macbeth is the key human agent - the one Macbeth trust and loves - who ensures his temptation is thorough and complete. Despite her initial overpowering presence she is a heroine herself. This is shown during her emotional collapse once Macbeth withdraws his confidence from her. Her actions and thoughts are inexorable and the words used agains Macbeth in his times of weakness are gratuitous to say the least. Through the cornucopia of mixed emotions and thought the reader can see that her behaviour reflects how complex she really is.

Lady Macbeth first shows ambition when she reads the letter from her husband before welcomi...


... middle of paper ...


...’s done is done”, thus suggesting that it would no longer be of concern. Here, despite all her courage, ambition and strength of purpose, all that has been ‘done’ is not past, but present - and ever present - in her mind. She herself refers to her earlier words when she says, ‘What’s done cannot be undone’

Ultimately, Lady Macbeth is a central character that has been slow to understand the severity of her actions. She had a well respected position in society as the wife of a Lord and lost all of what she used to have and lost herself respect along the way. She suffered from paranoia and suppressed remorse but when the bottled-up emotions started to leak she had a complete descent into emotional turmoil. Her complex and amoral behaviour contributes to our overall assessment of her and helps us to understand that she was not as strong as she made herself out to be.

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