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Lady Macbeth 2 Essay, Research Paper

- The woman’s role in Shakespeare

Macbeth is the story of a man, who’s greedy ambition to socially to absolute power, drives him to a total downfall. Macbeth is not the only one responsible for his degrading end. Lady Macbeth plays an extremely important role in this play as she is partially responsible for his evil thoughtless actions and stands by him through their destructive Kreuzug. Lady Macbeth helps push Macbeth into the evil path he decides to take. She starts of conciousless and thirsty for power. She primarily persuades Macbeth to kill Duncan.

“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor ; and shalt be

What thou art promised let do I fear thou nature

It is to full o’ the milk of human kindness

To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,

Art not without ambition, but without

The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst


That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,

And yet wouldst wrongly win; thou dost have great


(Act one scene five 15-24)

When she hears that her husband has been awarded with a new title she immediately knows what she wants. At this point Lady Macbeth is very strong and very powerful, she is stronger in her ambition than her husband and she fears he is not capable of such an unmoral act. This passage shows quite well what she expects her husband to do, and how she fears he is not evil enough to cooperate.

“He brings great news. The raven

himself is hoarse

That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

And fill me, from the crown to the toe, to fill

Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood,

Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse;

That no compunctions visiting of nature

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

Th’ effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,

And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances

You wait on natures mischief! Come, think night,

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of dark

To cry, “Hold, hold”"

(Act one scene five 38-55)

She calls the spirits of darkness upon herself, as she wants to make herself strong and unfeminine for the future. At this time she is very authoritative towards her husband. She prepares and plans what he must do and how he must act. (Macbeth still feels guilt about the matter)

“O! never

Shall sun that morrow see!

Your face, my thane, is a book, where men

May read strange matters. To beguile the time,

Look like the time, bear would come in you eye,

Your hand, your tongue: look like innocent


But be the serpent under’t. He that’s coming

Must be provided for: and you shall put

This night’s great business into my despatch;

Which shall to all our nights and days to come

Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.”

(Act 1 Scene 5 60-70)

Later as Macbeth’s character becomes more powerful and negative. She can no longer support her husband in she is partially responsible for. As Macbeth no longer feels remorse she commits suicide under the stress of guilt madness.

Macbeth:” Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”

Lady Macbeth:” A little water clears of this deed.”

This is ironic since she later goes mad and becomes obsessed with the imaginary blood that stains her hands. She cannot live with the guilt any longer.

“Out, damned spot! Out I say Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?”

“Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! Oh! Oh!”

Shakespeare made Lady Macbeth a very powerful and interesting character. Although she is full of evil and initiates devilish crusade one does have sympathy as she does not turn out to be as conciousless as her husband. This is obviously what leads to the deterioration of her sanity as she can no longer cope with her guilt and the terrible consequences of her husbands doings which she partially initiated. The extreme guilt that overcomes Lady Macbeth is far stronger than her greed for power. She realises that everything she wanted (to be queen) is falling apart and that ambition far further reign is senseless as what they are fighting against is far to powerful. The fact that their deeds, which led to their power, were so evil, and that there is no way out of their situation, drives her into total madness. She detaches herself from reality, her husband and his terrible doings and tries to clear herself from her guilt. This obviously in vain as her madness finally leads to her death.

As one looks at the play more deeply five main scenes, which characterize Lady Macbeth from the point where she is driving Macbeth to kill Duncan to the point, where she loses touch with Macbeth completely. (Act 1 Scene 5)

Lady Macbeth reaction when she reads her husbands letter stating his “promotion” is powerful and dramatic. As soon as she has decided she will make sure Macbeth is living.

” This have I thought good to deliver thee,

my dearest partner of greatness, that thou might’st

not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of

what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart,

and farewell.”

(Act 1 Scene 5 10-15)

It seems as if she and her husband are thinking the same thing. While her husband is still doubtful of the matter she does not hesitate for a moment. Lady Macbeth invites the spirits of evil to enter. She knows she has to steel herself and that there is not enough evil power within her and for this ruthless murder she will need it. What Lady Macbeth knows immediately that murdering Duncan is the quickest way of achieving her goal. When Macbeth delights her with further news that Duncan actually planning to spend that might at their residence. It becomes her clear role to seize the moment and facilitate her husbands’ rise to kingship.

Act 1 scene 7

Lady Macbeth uses different methods to prepare and persuade her husband to erase Duncan, when Macbeth still had great doubts about this evil deed. First of all she implies that it was Macbeth anyway. She points this out in her opening live that it was Macbeth who raise the devilish idea and that there is no point in turning back. An important part of her approach is that she taunts Macbeth masculinity by calling him a coward, and saying he is not a man.


Obviously as his rank and fame depend on courage and bravery he is not very delighted by this and this awakens the ambition in him to gain power and prove his manly hood. She drives him further by saying he cannot love her as he does not fulfil his duty. As their relationship is very intense this has a great impact on Macbeth and she applies her tactics very appropriately. Lady Macbeth carries on by using even more shocking methods. She says she would smash her baby to the floor rather than not fulfil something she has promised.


It is very clever of her to say this as she is showing Macbeth what an ultimate sacrifice she would make just to have him king. She implies that her love is so great that she would give up the joy of being a mother for her husband. She uses terrible imagery as tool to shock because she knows that extreme measures must be taken to make Macbeth overcome his doubts and to make him act quickly.

Act 2 Scene 3

In this scene Lady Macbeth suddenly faints and it is difficult to decide what her motive for this action is. One possibility is that she faints to distract as she cries.

“Help me hence, ho!”

She could be trying to avoid the blame of Duncan murder falling on her and her husband. Another option is that she is actually shocked about her husbands words and actions. She believed that they were going through this together and that only one murder was necessary. Maybe she was not prepared for more death and was getting the notion of things getting out of control. She might also feel quite astonished to her husbands reaction – she was the one who thought Macbeth was to mild to kill a king and now he has taken to more lives without hesitation.

Act 3 Scene 4

This scene is a turning point in the play because it shows clearly Lady Macbeth detachment from Macbeth. Her persuasion has no longer effect on him, she cannot clam him anymore. She does not see Banquo’s ghost that appears to Macbeth. She cannot understand the strange irrational way Macbeth is acting, or his faith in the supernatural. It seems that she is even embarrassed of him.

” Are you a man?”

“What! Quite unmanned in folly”

“Fie! for shame!”

She explains her husbands behaviour with lack of sleep and tries to excuse his behaviour to the guests. She is worried that the guests not their growing separation as they are only strong together as King and Queen.

Act 5 Scene 1

This scene portrays clearly that Lady Macbeth is losing her mind and that she has begun to sleepwalk and is struggling with severe guilt. She wants to be cleansed from the heavy guilt that lies upon her.

She is haunted by Duncans blood . I believe what drives her mad is is the fact that she does not try to blame anyone but herself for the murder. As she reruns her part in the evil act to try cope with her guilt this just drives further into insecurity when she remembers her own terrible words. Another thing she cannot bare is Macbeth development she has totally lost touch with him and is devastated by his continued killing. The slaughter of Lady Macduff and her children horrifies her and she cannot come to terms with husbands growing brutality.

The downfall of these characters is very different, Macbeth conscious strikes in the middle of a banquet and after this scene he loses any sense of guilt completely or at least manages to suppress it he becomes more and more brutal and kills of f everything that stands in his way. Lady Macbeth experiences quite a different (one could even say more elegant) downfall. Lady Macbeth thought it would be sufficient to kill Duncan and after this power would rest with them. She gained strength by inviting supernatural beings which possessed her and then left powerless. She becomes totally isolated in her chamber and cant handle the withdrawal of her husband. She feels the lack of closeness and love. They are both going down but not together which is quit a contrast to before, as they seemed to belong together.

Juliet’s role in “Romeo and Juliet”

Juliet is very young (14) and very independent. She does not have a great relationship with her parents. Lady Capulet, her mother is rather unimportant in Juliets life as she only tells her what she does and they never had a very personal relationship. Lady Capulet is convinced that Juliet should marry Paris as she is the right age and she assumes Paris would be the perfect match. She is not interested in how Juliet feels about this agreement. Juliet tries to explain to her mother that she does not want to marry Paris. Lady Capulet does not sympathise in any way; she actually disappoints Juliet greatly. Lord Capulet interrupts them angrily and tells her that she is obliged to marry Paris even if it is necessary to drag her to the altar. She begs her mother to delay the marriage but Lady Capulet responds harshly.

“Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word.

Do as thou wilt , for I have done with thee.”

The only person Juliet can confide in is her nurse. She is like a confidante, friend and even like a mother. Throughout the play the nurse aids Juliet in all her needs.

When Juliet meets Romeo she falls in love with him instantly. She has never had any relationship slightly similar to the one she has with Romeo. He becomes the most important person in her life. She is convinced of marring Romeo even though she knows there is a terrible feud between the Montegues (Romeos family) and the Capulets and the two families hate each other deeply she realizes how unrealistic her dream is and that such a marriage would never be accepted. Still her instant infatuation for him exceeds any rational thought her heart wins over her mind and she marries him secretly. She is prepared to die rather than to be separated from Romeo.

“I’ll to the Friar to know his remedy.

If all else fail, myself have power to die”

Even Romeo killing her cousin does not decrease her love for him although it shocks her greatly. Juliets character develops very much throughout the play. She becomes more and more independent. She even grows confident enough to stand up against her parents which she was not brave and mature enough to do at first.

“I will not marry yet, when I do I swear,

It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,

Rather than Paris. This are news indeed!”

Juliet even rebels against the nurse as she tells her it would be best to marry Romeo. This spurts Juliet into anger and she looses faith even in her only friend. At the end of the play Juliet awakes next to her dead loved Romeo. She commits suicide (by stabbing herself) as she cannot imagine life without her only great love Romeo. This is a very dramatic ending which shows the amazing power for their love for each other; and Juliets outstanding braveness.

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