Macbeth and Highly Regarded Masculinity

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Interior Monologue


This monologue of Lady Macbeth, which takes place in Act 5, Scene 1, (the events leading up to her suicide.) Lady Macbeth while sleep walking and speaking to herself, reveals the guilt and remorse she has over the murder of King Duncan. The ideologies foregrounded are that power must be taken at all costs, and the resistance to the ideology of femininity. The discourses lady Macbeth operates under were those of power, femininity and morality. The following text is an alternate reading.


[Lady Macbeth enters the room carrying a candle]
My thoughts of pride and an overwhelming sense of achievement, an accomplishment due to great ambition, are slowly becoming those of guilt and confusion. My conscience, which I once thought clear, begins to fill with thoughts of guilt and remorse. Slowly the unforgotten memories from that merciless night overcome me and I succumb to the horrific images, the bloody daggers, and a lifeless corpse of the King. [Lady Macbeth walks over to a table and puts the candle down] I wash, I scrub, and I tear at the flesh on my hands, trying desperately to cleanse myself of this blood. But alas, the smell of the blood remains, all the perfume in Arabia could never sweeten the scent of these hands again. [She rubs her hands together as if washing them]

[Lady Macbeth reminisces over past events]
So I ask myself, was it such a crime to have wanted the best for your husband? Is it such a terrible deed, to lust after power and status? The victory, my status, my position, my power has fast become a reality, a reality which was being threatened by the existence of Banquo. It had to be done, a knife to his throat; it seemed the only way, his murder being the saviour of my triumph. But I now see the error in my ways, the corruption of my mind. The guilt of Duncan's blood was almost unbearable, the guilt of Banquo's is inescapable, growing, and it is becoming vicious like a wolf tearing into the...
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