Lady Macbeth Key Quotations and Analysis

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Act 1 Scene 5

AO1

"too full o'th' milk of human kindness"

AO2

  • The metaphor suggests Macbeth's goodness that is preventing his ambition from doing evil deeds to get what he wants.
  • Symbolism of 'milk' has connotations of maternal and of caringness towards children and this allows Macbeth to seem weak and unmanly.
  • 'human kindness' provides a morality and religiousness to the expected bahaviour of mankind causing foreshadowment of guilt later in the play

A03

Men in that era were meant to be brave, strong and ruthless who have power over women particularly. Macbeth is an exception to this, almost allowing the audience to sympathise with him and giving Lady Macbeth a power over their relationship.

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Act 1 Scene 5 Soliloquay

AO1

"unsex me here" ... "take my milk for gall"

AO2

  • Use for declarative sentences shows her complete desire to be evil and masculine not caring about stereotypes.
  • Use of symbolism of her belief feminity is weak and causes maternal innocence is shown with her need to be a man and get rid of the stereotypes.
  • Juxtaposition of "milk" and "gall"  show a complete seperation from normality in her evil desires and cause her to seem murderous and threatening.
  • She references "spirits" making her seem even more unnaturalistic and out of the laws of nature.

AO3

Females were completely inferior to men and were to obey their orders. They were not to step out of line.

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Act 1 Scene 5

A01

"my dearest partner of greatness"

AO2

  • The use of superlative "dearest" shows their close and intense strong relationship that Macbeth admires making Lady Macbeth's first impression seem one of innocence and love
  • The noun "partner" reinforces this bond cohesively almost seeming equal wihtout using the stereotypes and gender roles of that era.
  • "greatness" causes her character to seem fierce and strong

AO3

Men and women had different gender roles with men being completely pocessive over wives and superior.

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Act 1 Scene 5

AO1

"look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under't"

AO2

  • The biblical reference "serpent" reminds the audience of the seprent of doom and manipulation that caused foreshadowing the maliciousness and theme of appearance vs reality
  • Use of juxtaposition of a "flower" which has connatations of innocence and prettiness to the sly "snake"
  • Lady Macbeth's use of declarative expressions/imperative voice gives her the voice of power and control over Macbeth who has greater ambition.

AO3

Religion would disagree with immoral choices like this and we would see macbeth's mindset later when he visions a dagger to show his battle over short term gain of the crown and long term hell as a consquence later on.

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Act 1 Scene 6

AO1

"Fair and noble hostess"

  • Theme of appearance vs reality as Duncan describes her murderous character as inncocent and caring (following the stereotypical woman's role) causing dramatic irony as we have just previously seen her in her soliloquay calling out to spirits.

AO3

Women were meant to be kind and gentle. Lady Macbeth is only a woman in a world full of male dominance.

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Act 1 Scene 7

AO1

"Such i account thy love"

AO2

  • Lady Macbeth is using her emotional threats to manipulate Macbeth and weakening him into doing the deed for her sake.
  • Emotive language make us envy Lady Macbeth's power and hyperbole allows the audience to have sympathy for Macbeth as he is manipulated.

AO3

Lady Macbeth is subverting the stereotypically acceptable gender roles, creating more emphasised duality between the two characters.

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Act 1 Scene 7

AO1

"When you durst do it, then you were a man"

AO2

  • Lady Macbeth uses the emotive language "durst" to potray her character as malicious and manuipulative as she bullies him into believing his weakness.
  • The use of imperative also shows her control in the relationship.
  • Her symbolosim of masculinity being ruthless and violent shows her desire to be male and causes enhanced guilt in her emotional threat.
  • She also treats him like a child seeming in a patronizing tone.

AO3

The stereotypical man is seen as stong dominant and violent which is conpletely opposite to women.

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Act 1 Scene 7

AO1

"dash'd the brains out"

AO2

  • Use of violent imagey causes her character to seem ruthless and uncaring like a man, highlighting her power.
  • The use of dynamic very "dash'd" also adds to her violence as a woman.
  • This would cause Macbeth to be shocked and scared at her reactions.

AO3

The stereotypical women had no power, only against a dominance of men with no say.

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Act 2 Scene 2

AO1

"had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had don't"

AO2

  • Symbolism of sleep througout as innocence (especially with Duncan's murder)
  • Her first sign of weakness revealed showing she isnt as mascuilne as she appears to be using Theme of Appearance vs Reality

AO3

She is adopting the stereotypical view of women in this era, being weak and caring.

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Act 2 Scene 2

AO1

"A little water clears us of this dead"

"My hands are of your colour but I shame to wear a heart so white"

AO2

  • The symbolism of cleanliness shows guilt or innocence with the blood staining Macbeth's hands representing his extreme horror at the deed. Lady Macbeth lacks to feel bad yet.
  • This is foreshadowment to later where Lady Macbeth is stained.

AO3

This could be a curse of the spirits making Macbeth pay for his immoral sins. Treason is punishable by death.

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Act 3, Scene 2 Soliloquay

AO1

"Nought's had, all's spent, where our desire is got without content"

AO2

  • Use of ryhme is adopted from witches' language showing her evilness and unhuman actions now making her feel guilt.
  • The use of small short phrases in a list causes a breathless slow pace emphasising her first sign of guilt and regret - they haven't won the luxury of the throne.

AO3

The King's power was strong and demanding but the power she feels is now prevented by the guilt of the immoral deed they completed. There actions would be strongly frowned upon and punishable in Jacobean era.

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Act 3 Scene 2

AO1

"Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck"

AO2

  • The partonizing noun "chuck" is a child associated word showing her lack of masculinity and power of man over women in that era. He reasserts his authority.
  • Their relationship has transformed (due to the guilt tearing it apart) so Macbeth no longer tells his "partner" any of the plans he makes, ensuring she feels alone and isolated.
  • This foreshadows the downfall of the king and Lady Macbeth's suicide.

AO3

Women should be isolated in the relationship with men being decisive and powerful in the relationship.

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Act 3 Scene 4

AO1

"Are you a man?"

AO2

  • She is using the interrogative sentence reasserting her power to threaten Macbeth to stop acting guilty and revealing their secret. This is dramatic irony and the audience can sense panic at this point.
  • The use of emotional threats seem to not affect Macbeth this time showing the transformation in his character also.
  • Lady Macbeth is the support of the frame of the murder which she is covering up Macbeth's actions to prevent their downfall.

AO3

Madness was found in visioning things and seeming to talk to oneself.

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Act 4

She is absent during all of act 4 as they prepare war plans and the focus is on Macbeth's attempt to save himself as he isolates Lady Macbeth completely.

This allows the audience to be aware of her weakness and the contextaul information that women had no say in desicions in that era, especially not violent ones.

It also prepares the audience for the shocking foreshadowment of her last scene before she commits suicide in regret in Act 5.

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Act 5 Scene 1

AO1

"Out damned spot"

"Will these hands ne'er be clean"

AO2

  • Her symbolism of cleanliness from Act2 has transformed to Macbeth's reaction as she feels entirely guilty and regretful.
  • She is sleepwalking representing her maddness and complete trauma almost gaining sympathy from the audience.
  • She is in innocence and showing her weakness entirely to highlight her lack of masculinity and her weaknesses.

AO3

Sleepwalking was seen to be maddness or a curse in Jacobean audience.

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Act 5 Scene 1

AO1

"all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand"

AO2

  • The use of blood causes vivid imagery and a metaphor of her guilt staining her manipulative nature. She is completely traumatised and her strange calls seem weird and threatening. She seems to be calling to spirits again.
  • The use of her language is in strange mixed prose, linking to the witches' language used.
  • She is being contrasted to Macbeth's weakness here too.

AO3

Women are meant to be innocent and not involved in these deeds. Maddness was associated with sleepwalking showing her troubled state of mind.

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Act 5 Scene 1

AO1

"to bed, to bed, to bed."

AO2

  • The use of repetition highlights her guilt as she struggles to make sense in her prose styled language of the witches'. This causes confusion to the audience as her confidence and dominance is replaced by weakness and fragility.

AO3

The use of sleepwalking would trouble the audience, foreshadowing her soon death in her last scene on stage.

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