In this essay we will be comparing two female characters from different texts and different time periods. We will be looking in depth at Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth', and Sheila from J.B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls'. We will be looking at their roles in their respective plays, and how their characters develop over time.
It is clear that both ladies are in strong relationships, but how they act within these relationships is vastly different.
In Lady Macbeth's relationship it seems that she manipulates Macbeth through emotional blackmail to get what she wants. This is best shown in the quote 'When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more the man. ...view middle of the document...
It creates the impression that she is a non-dominant character. This can be seen in the (a) line' last summer, when you never came near me' which referred to her relationship with Gerald. This indicated that Gerald was in complete control of the relationship, including how often they saw each other. Furthermore, although she half-accepts his justification of his absence, she does not challenge him fully. Yet, she quips ' Yes, that's what you say' which indicates she has her own mind.
Lady Macbeth and Sheila both hold positions in society, but occupy different ranks and exercise different power over their partners; for example at the beginning Sheila didn't have much power over her fiancѐ, whilst Lady Macbeth rapidly gains power. Lady Macbeth has high aspirations. This is exemplified in the quote 'Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead are but as pictures: tis the eye of childhood. That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, For it must seem their guilt.' This statement shows Lady Macbeth is willing to do anything if she wants power in return; she is grasping for power and becomes power-hungry.The key word in the quote is “Give me the daggers” because it shows she is determined to carry out the task, in exchange for gaining power.The phrase 'I’ll gild the faces of the grooms' show that she is taking control over Macbeth by finishing Macbeth's work. The whole phrase links to her greed for power, and makes her manipulate her husband to kill the King. However, Macbeth takes control when he needs it. He replies to challenge her “ To know my deed, ‘twere best not know myself.”
Sheila is a lady of leisure, and does not want for anything because she is wealthy and engaged to a rich fiance. This is demonstrated in the quote 'Oh - it's wonderful! Look mummy, isn't it a beauty? Oh darling [...] I think it's perfect. Wow, I really feel engaged.' This shows that Sheila is getting everything that she wants from her fiancé, so she doesn't need to be greedy for power or wealth. The words 'I really feel engaged' show that she doesn't mind waiting because she knows she'll get what she wants in the end. It also shows that she does not (doesn't) need to manipulate anyone to get her own way. This is because she is from a rich family and is used to a certain lifestyle. Priestley shows Sheila's lifestyle does not give her a reason to cause any harm or problems for anybody, making Sheila an innocent character. This makes the audience believe that she is content and that she is naive and harmless.
However Sheila becomes more confident expressing her feelings and opinions to Gerald. She commented to Mrs. Birling who stated Sheila needed to get used to her husband spending all his time on his businesses 'I don't believe I will'. This shows Sheila's growing defiance and rebelliousness. Sheila turns to Gerald and warns him in a playful manner 'So you be careful.' This also suggests that Sheila learns to take back...