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The Breakdown Of Lady Macbeth In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1664 words - 7 pages

The Breakdown of Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Throughout the play of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth goes through several
drastic personality changes, which finally leads her to breakdown. In
some ways I feel the breakdown and collapse of lady Macbeth is quite
unexpected, but on the other end of the scale it could be seen to be
inevitable. I will cover the points for and against, how the collapse
could be seen to be surprising and how it could have been expected.

When we first meet Lady Macbeth, in the play, she has just read the
letter from Macbeth, in which Macbeth speaks of… " What greatness is
promised" … and of the witches predicting him to be… "King
hereafter"…But Lady Macbeth, in her soliloquy, asks of whether Macbeth
is worthy of the position as the king as she expresses him as … " too
full o' the milk of human kindness"…as if he doesn't make the grade
and that Macbeth has the … "ambition"… but not the …"illness"… that
makes a successful King. But instead of criticizing her husband's
idea, Lady Macbeth decides that she will help to provide Macbeth, the
necessary determination he needs. This gives an indication of the love
she has for him, and that their relationship is healthy. Immediately
after a messenger tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan intends on
staying at their castle she conjures a plan and sees this as an
opportunity to kill Duncan. A sinister side to Lady Macbeth's
personality is revealed as she calls up the spirits of darkness and
pleads with them to …"unsex"…her insisting to take away all that makes
her a woman. She asks to be made insensitive so that she may carry out
her scheme; she wishes to be enchanted by the…"direst cruelty"…. This
shows that her character is strong and she is sure that she can get
Macbeth the throne. She seems to welcome evil, whereas at first
Macbeth seems hesitant and even fears of what she has conjured.

The scene right before the death of Lady Macbeth is a key scene, as it
portrays of how the guilt, of murdering Macbeth, has broken her down
mentally. By then, the relationship between her and Macbeth, had lost
all meaning, and even Macbeth admits this to himself. Macbeth is
quoted to have referred to Lady Macbeth as … " your patient"…to the
doctor taking care of her. During this scene she is sleepwalking, and
is in a state of shock. She quotes…"What, will these hands never be
clean?"…Referring to the blood, which she claims to 'see' on her
hands. This echoes one of her earlier phrases, after the murder of
Duncan… " A little water clears us of this deed"…A clear contrast is
seen between, the once commanding and composed Lady Macbeth and the
now remorseful and unstable queen.

At first Lady Macbeth is a key figure in her husbands plans, and helps
him greatly in the acquirement of the...

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