Macbeth - Lady Macbeth

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Macbeth – Scene Analysis

“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised; yet do I fear thy nature,
It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst strongly win. Thou’dst have, great
Glamis,
That which cries, ‘Thus who must do’ if thou have it; And that which rather thou dost fear to do.
Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have crowned thee withal.”

-Lady Macbeth, Act 1 Sc5, Lines 13 – 28

Amongst the most essential of characters in the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare is Lady Macbeth. Upon the introduction of Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth is brought into the plot of the play. In this soliloquy, Lady Macbeth comments on her thoughts after having read a letter from her husband, Macbeth, informing her about the witches’ prophecies on the possibility of Kingship. A variety of outstanding topics are explored, including the revelation of the true traits of characters such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Her first thoughts are based on the reaction of the realism of Macbeth being Thane of Glamis, and possibly Cawdor as the witches predicted. This is expressed through the words “What thou art promised”. The idea of having soliloquy interacting with the witches’ predictions creates a sense of spirituality. This being Lady Macbeth’s first appearance in the play is effective as it allows the reader to associate this sense of spirituality and evil with her character, that has yet to have any substance to allow the reader to interpret her role by. She continues by expressing her fear over not being able to “catch the nearest way” due to Macbeth’s overly kind character. This is demonstrated through a variety of techniques. For example, Lady Macbeth explains how her husband would ‘not play false’ nor would he ‘wrongly win’. This suggests a fair person with a kindness too powerful for him to be a false king, through murder. The extent of Macbeth’s kind character is described as “too full o’th’milk of human kindness”. This is extremely significant as “milk”, similar to a mother’s breast milk, is filled with the vital pureness and nutrition that a baby needs in order to grow. This can be used to mirror Macbeth’s kind character to the importance of a mother’s breast milk in the eyes of a newly born baby. In addition, Lady Macbeth’s envy for her husband is shown through the compilation of words such as ‘great’, ‘highly’ and ‘holiliy’. These words create imagery of religion and heavens to support her feelings towards Macbeth. The presence of the thought of heavens being the place of good after death can be used to mirror the extent of Macbeth’s kind character. Lady Macbeth describes the action of murdering King Duncan through the words “to catch the nearest way”. The use of this euphemism to describe the action of killing Duncan can be seen as though she is trying to hide the harsh imagery of blood and violence in the action of murder. This is an example of Lady Macbeth’s diminishing sense of honesty. Throughout the course of the soliloquy, the developing theme of evilness continues to show through words such as “spirits” and “metaphysical” which produce an authoritative feeling of negativity. This form of negativity is extremely effective as it relates to the topic of the supernatural and unknown that...
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