Shakespeare sees ambitious dominant women as evil, unnatural and destructive as many other men in the 16th and 17th century.
He feels they must be punished and this is what we see throughout this play. Today we see ambitious dominant women as normal human beings. They are respected just as other people are and even respected more because people feel that once women have their heart set on something they long for it, like Lady Macbeth and her ambition to become Queen. Some men find powerful and dominant women pleasurable in this modern world.There are definitely many reasons why Lady Macbeth is the most interesting and disturbed character in this play.
The first time we meet Lady Macbeth’s disturbing personality is in Act 1 Scene 5. For most of this scene Lady Macbeth is alone in a room, first reading a letter then speaking in soliloquy. In her first monologue she is basically saying that her husband, Macbeth, is not strong enough inside to murder King Duncan. She feels that her husband cannot commit the crime and expresses this to herself: “.
.. I do fear thy nature, / It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness ..
. This means that he is too full of loyalty and kindness inside.The milk that he got from his mother’s breast is still inside of him and he is not a man but rather a woman. Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth should stay quiet and above suspicion while she plans out the murder herself, he should ‘…
th’innocent flower’ meaning that he should stay innocent until he commits the immoral act to make him become king. Throughout the scene she keeps referring to the fact that Macbeth is too fearful to perform the crime. ‘… hou dost fear to do,’ the murder, Lady Macbeth says to intimidate Macbeth.
She is not confident that Macbeth can kill the King Duncan.This is interesting, seeing that Macbeth is one of the strongest on the battlefield and Lady Macbeth might not know what he is fully capable of because she is not among the people that he fights with. In this scene we find out many disturbing things about Lady Macbeth’s personality, she wants to become more of a man and we see how she controls Macbeth so easily. She is ruthless in pursuing her aim of murdering Duncan and will not allow anything to get in her way.She has the whole murder process planned out in her head and is waiting for the right moment in the King’s stay to commit the murder. Another fact about Lady Macbeth that shows us how interesting and disturbing she is, is the fact that throughout the play, from when she agreed with Macbeth that they were going to commit the murder, she had been very determined and strong.
In Act 2 Scene 2 she is very much on the edge. Earlier she seemed able to carry out the most terrible deeds, now she explains that she could not carry out the murder herself because the sleeping Duncan reminded her of her father.This is a sign of Lady Macbeth’s
conscience, feelings of guilt and how she is disturbed. She, too, seems to realise the wrongness of the murder, yet not long ago she felt that the murder had to occur in order for the couple to have a good life what ever the consequences such as eternal damnation.
We also know that Lady Macbeth is disturbed by what happens in Act 1 Scene 7. In this scene Macbeth keeps changing his mind about killing the king. He is finally persuaded to go ahead by the determination of Lady Macbeth. This important scene takes place in a room in Macbeth’s castle.It comes in tense contrast to the relaxed atmosphere of the previous scene at the castle gate.
Lady Macbeth hurls insults at him. Lady Macbeth takes up the clothing image when she asks whether the hope in which he had “dress’d” himself had been drunk; she says that he is acting as if he were drunk when he clothed himself in his hopes to be king. She accuses him of being a “coward”, and declares that he is like “the poor cat “i’th’adage” that wants to eat fish but won’t get it’s feet wet. She then suggests that the “enterprise” was Macbeth’s.This is not true but because Macbeth is not thinking straight she takes advantage by what she says later.
In a powerful speech she explains how far she would be prepared to go to get what she wanted. She tells him that if she had sworn to do something, before she would go back on her word, she would pluck her own baby sucking milk at her nipple and she would dash “the brains out” of the baby. Lady Macbeth seems to have joined the forces of evil. She has seen a chance to make her husband king and is determined not to let it slip away.As soon as Macbeth waivers in his resolve to go no further, and says, “If we should fail? , she seizes her advantage and she demands that they will not fail.
She spells out how they will commit the murder. By the end of the scene, Macbeth is convinced. In Act 2 Scene 3 Lennox says that it appears that Duncan’s guards have done the murder. Macbeth says he was so angry when he saw Duncan’s body that he killed the guards. This was a tricky moment for Macbeth. The others would have wanted to questions the guards, after all the king’s army has only recently fought off an invasions from abroad which was helped by traitors within Scotland.
The guards might have been working for another enemy of Scotland and Macduff wonders why Macbeth should have destroyed the only way of finding out. Macbeth knew that the guards would have denied the murder because they were innocent and there was a risk that they might have been believed. Interestingly Lady Macbeth faints just at the right moment to distract attention away from her husband and the question he poses. This shows that Lady Macbeth has a quick thinking intelligence which is kept unknown to all other than Macbeth.
Act 5 Scene 1 takes
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