Comparison of Miss Havisham and Lady Macbeth

Topics: King Duncan, Macbeth, Great Expectations Pages: 4 (1344 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Throughout both ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Macbeth’ surroundings are used to influence and define Miss Havisham’s and Lady Macbeth’s characteristics. These surroundings are not only physical, but also psychological; found in their relationships and trauma from past events. Although both women are presented in different forms

Lady Macbeth is also strongly influenced by her physical surroundings. Like Miss Havisham, her home is metaphorical of her characteristics. She lives in a great castle from which we never see her leave. Like the castle she first comes across as strong, powerful and intimidating with strong walls, yet we later see these crumble and leave her as nothing but a wreck of what she used to be. The castle also lures King Duncan into a false sense of security the same way Lady Macbeth does, this can be seen when he describes her as ‘Fair and noble hostess’ and states ‘This castle hath a pleasant seat’ showing that he feels comfortable and unsuspecting of both. This is ironic because later that very same night he is murdered, highlighting his naivety. This shows how like Lady Macbeth the castle can also conceal the evil within.

Pathetic fallacy is often used in Macbeth to emphasise the atmosphere of the events occurring. For example on the night of Duncan’s murder, when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are in a state of paranoia, ‘someone knocks at the gate’ .This makes them feel as though they have been discovered by someone and there is almost knocking on their conscience, ultimately leading to Lady Macbeths loss of sanity. The next morning we learn that ‘The night has been unruly’ and ‘some say the earth/ Was feverous and did shake’ reflecting the earth shaking events of the night prior, and further impressing the guilt on Lady Macbeth, influencing her mental state.

Another influence on Lady Macbeth appears to be the witches. When we are first introduced to her character she appears to be speaking in incantation which mirrors that of the...
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