Lady Macbeth

  • Created by: Megan.jd
  • Created on: 06-05-18 19:13
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  • Lady Macbeth
    • Cruel and ruthless
      • Important because of her influence over M, especially at the start. she is ambitious and doesn't mind committing terrible crimes to get what she wants
      • Changes over the course of the play. At the start she is dominant and confident and persuades M to kill Duncan
        • But once M had committed murder, Lady M is slowly driven mad by guilt. M distances himself from her and she kills herself because she can't live with what they have done
    • She is very Ambitious
      • Just as ambitious as M when she gets his letter she immediately assumes they need to kill Duncan -she  is more ruthless
        • Lady m says M is "too full o'th'milk of human kindnes" she thinks that his goodness make shim a "coward" and stops him from achieving him ambition
      • She knows that no ordinary woman would plan this murder. That's why she appeals to the spirit world to "unsex" her and fill her with "direst cruelty"
      • Knows her huspands weak spots. She uses his ambition and fear of being seen as a coward to manipulate him into killing Duncan
        • Lady M links masculinity to strength and violence, but Shakespeare shows that women can be just as ruthless and cold-hearted as men
    • She is clever and quick witted
      • Comes up with the cunning plot to drug Duncan's servants and frame them for the murder. This shows she is clever as well as cruel and heartless
      • When Duncan's murder is discovered she faints. This could be pretense which draws attention away from M's unconvincing speech. Lady M also covers up M's strange behavior when he thinks he sees Banquo's ghost. She is the one in control of the situation
        • If she pretends to faint she is taking advantage of the fact that she is a woman - she appears upset and emotional when in reality she is cold hearted and cruel
    • Shakespeare uses her to explore gender and power
      • Women tradionally seen as kinder and weaker then men but Shakespeare uses Lady M to show that this isn't always true.
        • She said she would kill her own baby if she'd sworn to do it, S contrasts her with Lady Macduff who is  caraing mother
          • Her power lies in manipulating people. This shows that non-violent "female" traits are just as powerful as violent 'male' ones
        • Lady M thinks women are made weak by their maternal instincts she tells the spirits to "come to my woman's breasts/ And take my milk for gall" and "unsex me here" she wants to lose her femininity
      • Lady M does have a softer side. She said that she couldn't kill Duncan herself because he reminded her of her father. This shows she isn't as cold hearted as she appears
      • Macbeth is set in a violent, male dominated society, so Lady M can only achieve her ambitions though M
    • She goes mad with guilt and kills herself
      • At first it is M who struggles with the guilt but by the end Lady M is driven mad with guilt
      • She starts sleepwalking. The doctor calls this a "great perturbation in nature" because her mind is so disturbed that it has affected her ability to sleep soundlessly
        • The way Lady M speaks refelects her state od mind, at the start she speaks confidently in verse by the end her speech is made up of mad ramblings and repetition "come come come come give me your hand" it shows that she has lost all self control
      • In he sleep she keeps washing her hands in the hope that she can wash her feelings of guilt just as easily as the blood after Duncan's murder "out, damned spot"
        • Guilt and isolation affect her so much that she kills herself - she can't live with what she has done
        • Sleepwaling was thought of as unnatural in S's time - sleep is the "balm of hurt minds" so  the fact that she can't sleep peacefully emphasizes her madness
    • Macbeths' marriage is intense
      • Their relationship changes, at the beginning their marriage seems loving and passionate- M calls Lady M "my dearest  partner of greatness"
        • As the play develops it becomes clear that Lady M dominated M, she manipulates him into killing Duncan and cover his strange behavior when he sees Banquo's ghost
      • As M reveals less about his plans to his wife, Lady M becomes increasingly anxious and alone. Even though she is domineering at the beginning she cannot cope without her husband
  • Lady Macbeth is CRUEL "And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull/Of direst cruelty" CUNNING "Look like th'innocent flower/ But be the serpent under 't" DISTURBED "She is troubled with thick coming fancies"


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