Act 1 Scene 5
Act 1, Scene 5 is a soliloquy spoken by Lady Macbeth after she has read her husbands letter, and when she knows from the messenger that the king will be arriving that night. The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th' effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry, Hold, Hold!'
In this passage Lady Macbeth is trying to conjure up evil spirits. The entire passage is full of morbid thoughts and intentions, to help plot against the murder of Duncan, while and the same time blocking her ability to feel remorse. She needs to arm herself against all normal, natural human emotions, because she knows that the murder of king Duncan, who is ruling by divine right, is not only morally wrong, but is also a crime against God. The speech holds many images and implications that not only apply to Lady Macbeth, but to the entire play, as the reversal of what is natural is a predominant theme in the play.
A raven is often associated with death, as it is dark and ominous. In the first line, the reference to a raven is quite significant as it foreshadows the violence to come. The raven is also mentioned to be hoarse, this shows that its powers are impaired, and it is being silenced as to not attract attention to the horrors that come. Duncan's entrace is said to be fatal' Shakespear used this as a play on words...