Macbeth Character Revision

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  • Macbeth Key Characters
    • Lady Macbeth
      • "Look like th'innocent flower, but be the serpent under't' (1,5)
        • The simile highlights Lady Macbeth as the brains behind the murder; LM embodies 'original sin' in Garden of Eden, tempting Adam; if Macbeth had stopped to consider his parable, he may have realised he was heading towards his own demise. Links to theme of appearance vs reality as the Macbeths adopt a veneer of hospitality, generousness and false innocence
      • "art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it" (1,5)
      • "pall the in the dunnest smoke of hell" (1,5)
        • Superlative form of "dunnest" compounds the images of obscurity which abound in the passage: 'dark', 'sighless', 'thick night', 'pall', 'smoke' - links to theme of appearance vs reality as she expresses her desire the night shade to obfuscate (disguise) her evil intentions from prying eyes. These images serve as a counterpart to Macbeth's transparency, his open face where 'men can read strange matters' without any difficulty
      • "pluck'd my nibble from his boneless gums and dash'd the brains out" (1,7)
      • "A little water clears us of this deed" (2,2)
      • "Out, damned spot! Out, I say" [...] Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"
        • Her loss of control theatrically manifests in her guilt-ridden somnambulism as she confesses her sins. She enacts an obsessive-compulsive ritual of hand-washing. Madness, curiously, forces her back into her stereotypical femininty that her transgressive yearning for imperial power has repudiated
        • Repetition of 'Out', exclamatory language, rhetorical question revealing self-confession. 'Spot' represents the motif of blood which has been dyed into her conscience; futile attempt at using physical action to root out psychological demon
      • "Here's the smell of the blood still; all of the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O." (5,1)
        • Grandiose metaphor echoing Macbeth's earlier reference to 'Neptune's ocean',  Hyperbolic statement emphasizes depth of her regret - salvation and repentance is not possible; guilt is so powerful that she smell of blood has become immersed into her skin. Repetition of 'O' shows her derangement as a gibbering, confused woman
    • Macbeth
      • "horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs" (1,3)
      • "Stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires" (1,4
      • "I have no spur to ***** the sides of my intent...only vaulting ambition, which o'er leaps itself and falls on the other" (1.7)
      • About Macbeth: "like valour's minino, carv'd out his passage[...] unseam'd him from the nave to th'chaps (1,2)
      • "I have supp'd full with horrors" (5,5)
      • "I am afraid to think what I have done. Look on't again, I dare not" (2,2)
      • "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" (2,2)
      • "vaulting ambition"
        • language analysis
    • Banquo
    • The Witches
    • Duncan

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