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What does Lady Macbeth represent? How is she portrayed?

Essay By: geegeemaggs

It's my english essay

Submitted:Oct 11, 2010    Reads: 20,633    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   

What does Lady Macbeth represent? How is she portrayed?
In 'Macbeth' I will talk about these themes
· Misogynist
· Power
· Masculinity
· And guilt
Lady Macbeth is strong and a powerful women in 'Macbeth' because she is more controlling than her husband Macbeth. "Look like th' innocent flower but be the serpent under it." This quote shows that she is controlling Macbeth even though in the time the play was based men would be more superior towards women and men would act more like Lady Macbeth and also has a Biblical reference when the serpent was actually Stan tempting Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, this is kind of similar to what Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are doing because they are doing something forbidden. I think that this quote shows Lady Macbeth is a more dominant and powerful behaviour because she is convincing Macbeth to kill King Duncan, if Macbeth was caught he would be killed for "murder and treason" which was risky, but Macbeth said "we'd jump the life to come, but in these cases we'd still have judgement." This quote suggests that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth would risk killing Duncan even though they may be judged by God and may not go into Heaven. In 'Macbeth' it does refer to Religion a few times in the play. This quote was spoken by Macbeth, this quote links to Lady Macbeth's because they both have involvement. In my essay I will prove what Lady Macbeth represents and how she is represented referring to the plan of killing King Duncan. original play 'Macbeth' and referring to 'Roman Polanski's Macbeth'.
'Macbeth' was a play written especially for King James I who was obsessed with witchcraft and wrote a book about witches, Shakespeare took this into account and added the three witches as characters and made up spells and potions especially for the three witches in the play.
What is a misogynist- Hate or distrust of women in 'Macbeth' most female characters were proven they were not to be trusted or they would have nasty personalities e.g. the three witches were proved that they were not to be by others because they withheld information from Macbeth "stay you imperfect speakers tell me more... I know I am Thane of Glamis, but how of Cawdor?" This quote shows that even though Macbeth is asking for information none of the witches will give him any, 'Macbeth' may want to show women as hateful and distrustful because the time 'Macbeth' was based most people were anti-feminist. I think this quote shows that men had more power because of the tone Macbeth is speaking in when he is addressing the witches, even though the witches may be more powerful that him in a supernatural way they choose not to give him information because they may feel that he should make his own decision and make sure it is the right one.
Lady Macbeth is a hateful character because she tells Macbeth that she wants him to kill King Duncan so she tells Macbeth what to do. "Put this night's great business into my dispatch". This quote shows that Lady Macbeth is taking care of killing Duncan because she desperately wants to become queen because it may give her respect and make more people care about her because she is only cared about by herself and her husband Macbeth. I think that shows Lady Macbeth in a more powerful and organised character because she has planned how she is going to kill him and even though that the witches told Macbeth that he would be king, Lady Macbeth wants to take charge for once in her life because most people saw women as weak and fragile.
What is power- Control and influence over other people and their actions. In 'Macbeth' Lady Macbeth is a powerful character towards her relationship with Macbeth but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth switch roles when Macbeth had taken advantage of his power and used it out of selfish reasons e.g. when the three witches told Macbeth that Banquo's son will be king after Macbeth because Macbeth has no heir "it should not stand in thy posterity." This is a quote from Banquo when he suggested that Macbeth killed Duncan foully because he knows that Macbeth would be the next king of Scotland after the two heirs Malcolm and Donaldbain flee to protect their lives because they did not want to be killed like their father Duncan. I think this quote shows the only thing Macbeth did not think about clearly when he killed Duncan because the three witches proclaimed that Fleance would be the next heir. In the Roman Polanski Production of 'Macbeth' when Macbeth is asleep it shows Fleance wearing his crown and killing in his sleep. This is different to what was going to happen because Macbeth tried to stop Fleance being the next heir but it did not work.
Lady Macbeth has become powerless since Macbeth was king because he makes the decisions without her e.g. the assassination of Banquo. "you must leave this." This is a quote from Lady Macbeth after Macbeth told her that he will get someone to kill Banquo and Fleance so that Macbeth will stay king forever and also Macbeth envies Banquo for having generations of children and Macbeth does not have any 'Fruitless crown'. I think this quote is different to when Lady Macbeth was more assertive in the beginning of the play because she is not being listened to any no one cares about what she thinks which is how Macbeth felt in the beginning of 'Macbeth' because Lady Macbeth had more courage inside of her when she married a soldier instead of when she married Macbeth as a King because Macbeth was on top of the hierarchy setting.
Masculinity- those qualities conventionally supposed to belong to a man such as physical strength and courage. In 'Macbeth' masculinity plays an important scene because some characters were more masculine that the others e.g. Lady Macbeth was more masculine that Macbeth but wants to be a full man. "come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here." This quote shows that Lady Macbeth is telling 'spirits' to remove her feminine feelings so that she would be less caring like a man and feel no guilt of killing the King. When she says spirits she could be talking to any spirit like God or Satan. I think this quote shows that Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a women who does not care about a lot except for herself at the beginning of 'Macbeth' but she feels guilt when Macbeth plans to kill innocent other people who he may of seen as a threat.
In the scene when Macbeth hallucinates by seeing the ghost of Banquo which shows that he is not acting like a man because he is scared of the ghost because it shows that he is afraid and he is not acting like a man "are you a man?" This quote shows that Lady Macbeth is feeling dominant again whenever Macbeth is weak Lady Macbeth has the confidence to stand up again her husband. I think this quote is important because it shows that Lady Macbeth quickly changes roles.
Guilt- an awareness of having done wrong or committed a crime, accompanied by feelings of shame and regret. By one of Lady Macbeth's final speeches she hallucinates by seeing blood "yet here's a spot." This quote shows that Lady Macbeth has blood still on her hands because of her husband Macbeth because of all the people Macbeth killed other than the King e.g. Banquo, Lady Macduff's blood are on their hands. I think this quote portrays Lady Macbeth as crazy and mentally ill even though she is in the scene, her attitudes in the scene affect her speech which shows her character in a different way because she is submissive since the beginning of when Macbeth rose to power.
She also feels that her hands will never be clear from King Duncan's blood "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand"thisquote shows that Lady Macbeth feels that she may never be 'sweet' again because she killed the King and that makes her more like a man which is what she wanted when she first wanted to kill the King because she would not feel guilty for what she is about to do. I think that this quote shows Lady Macbeth as a vulnerable woman because she knows that she has paid a price and nothing even 'perfumes or Arabia' will remove her from the dirty deed that she and Macbeth had committed out of jealously and manipulation.
In conclusion, Lady Macbeth starts to represent the total opposite of what women were like then but she has a close interpretation of what some modern are like now e.g. some present women are more powerful than their boyfriend or their husband. Lady Macbeth is portrayed in a dominant character in the beginning of the play but by the middle she is often just what like the average women would be like, which was not listened too much. But by the end she is weak, fragile and ends up dying of guilt.
"Look like th' innocent flower but be the serpent under it." (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 63)
"we'd jump the life to come, but in these cases we'd still have judgement."(Act 1, Scene 7, Line 9)
"stay you imperfect speakers tell me more... I know I am Thane of Glamis, but how of Cawdor?"( Act 1, Scene 3 Line 68)
"it should not stand in thy posterity(Act 3, Scene 1, Link 4)
"you must leave this." (Act 3, Scene 2, Line 35)
"Put this night's great business into my dispatch"( Act 1, Scene 5, Line 67)
"come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here."(Act 1, Scene 5, Line 39)
"are you a man?" (Act 3, Scene 4, Line 58)
"yet here's a spot." (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 27)
"all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand"( Act 5, Scene 1 Line 42)


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