Lady Macbeth Essay - 'The raven himself is hoarse' (Grade 9 @ GCSE)


At this point in the play, Lady Macbeth is speaking. She has just received the news that King Duncan will be spending the night at her castle.

Starting with this speech, explain how you think Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as a powerful woman.

Refer to:

·      how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in this speech

·      how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in the play as a whole

Lady Macbeth is presented as a powerful woman in this speech as she appears to have a connection with the supernatural. At the beginning of the speech, a sinister theme is apparent as ‘the raven’ is spoken of. A raven is often referred to as a portent of death, connoting that a murder may occur soon. Lady Macbeth refers to the raven croaking ‘the fatal entrance of Duncan’, signifying the end of his life that will come promptly. There is an apparent suggestion of wickedness and the supernatural, as Lady Macbeth appears to be talking to ‘spirits’, similar to the witches from earlier in the play. Around the time that the play was written, women were often thought of as witches, and were to be avoided, which is emphasised by this speech. She commands the ‘spirits that tend on mortal thoughts’ to ‘unsex [her] here’, by removing her humanity and gender and ‘fill [her] ……


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