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Ambitious Lady Macbeth

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Topics: Macbeth
How do the writers present the narrator of the poem, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as being disturbed?

1. It also mentions the beauty of the poisons and the death and how the narrator wants to see the woman painfully die in front of her husband. This links to Macbeth as they find the preparation of the persons death as well as the final act of killing them, a big thrill. The idea of pain and terror excites them and they feel that what they are doing is for the 'greater good' of themselves so to say. In both texts, they are thinking of death as a way to seek revenge and achieve their own dreams, by getting rid of the people who have the power and/or opportunity to stop them. They think of death as a bit of game-easy to commit but they do not think of the consequences that will occur from their actions, they are driven by jealousy and greed. They are desperate for attention and simply want to grab what they believe to be theirs. Lady Macbeths mention of the supernatural shows how desperate she is for her desire as she craves to posses characteristics of a man, desire for power, but the lengths she is willing go to achieve it.

2. Starting, Robert Browning emits a paranoid persona in the lady using repetition. He uses 'they' abundantly in the second stanza to show she is obsessed with what others [they] think of her. She can't think about anything else and is in rapt with other people's perceptions of her life. She then says they 'laugh laugh' at her, again suggesting a paranoid persona who will interpret anything around her as negative attitudes towards her. She believes she is being mocked by 'they' and everyone else around her. She has no trust whatsoever and utter embarrassment is forced upon her and consequently she is forced to act

3. She has fulfilled her desire (Macbeth is king), but the fulfillment has brought no contentment. She's figuratively spent herself, but achieved nothing for her efforts. Any joy she feels is contaminated.
4. When she says that Macbeth is "too full o' th' milk of human kindness" and that she must work on him to make him strong and ruthless enough to do what he needs to do to fulfill the prophecy and his ambition, she doesn't foresee that she will lose him in the process. As he grows accustomed to being the kind of person she wants at that moment to turn him into, he will grow apart from her and stop confiding in her. when he arranges alone to have Banquo killed
5. Once the adrenaline high of the moment has passed, the natural feminine gentleness that she regarded as weakness returns to make her afraid of the monster she has made of the man she loves. Just look at the sleepwalking scene!
6. She knows her fortunes are now linked with his, and that with his increasing power her own will rise proportionately, owing to her influence over him.
7. Lady Macbeth’s character contradicts with the roles of women in the Elizabethan Era as they were regarded as their husband’s possessions and weren’t entitled to an opinion. A stereotypical Elizabethan woman was expected to be innocent, gentle and dutiful as they were inferior to men
8. Irony within Lady Macbeth’s character as she says that she wants everything that helps her goals to be “crown’d withal”, however later in the play eventually she succumbs to guilt and takes her own life.
9. Manipulation is again shown through dialogue, as she wants to make sure that “that no compunctious visitings of nature/ shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between/ the effect and it” (1.5.48-50). In other words, she doesn’t want her natural, or feminine, character to get in the way of her goal, which is the murder of King Duncan.
10. USE OF IRONY
11. It's true that she is perfectly willing to goad her husband to commit murder; it's true she dispassionately both sets up and stages the crime scene; and it's true she is right behind Macbeth in these evil deeds, prodding him to action and telling him a little water will wash away their guilt.
12. Soon after, though, Macbeth must sense some softening in his wife, for he fails to confide his next murderous plans to her. He plans and executes the murder of Banquo and the assassination of MacDuff and his family without telling her. His resolve grows as hers, apparently wanes.
13.
14. she finally succumbs to her guilty conscience, unsuccessfully attempting wash her hands clean of Duncan's blood.

Introduction
In this essay, I will be analysing and comparing three main protagonists in Macbeth by William Shakespeare and The Laboratory by Robert Browning, reflecting on the poetic and dramatic techniques used by both writers that effectively portray how these characters are disturbed, and how each action they do leads to the corruption of their mental state of mind. In Macbeth, both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth succumb to insanity as a result of their guilty conscience. In The Laboratory, the woman demonstrates signs of instability much like Lady Macbeth, as she becomes obsessed with poison, power and the possibilities of death that comes with it.
Part 1
Macbeth is shown to be disturbed in act 2, scene 2. Macbeth’s conscience is contaminated, having just murdered King Duncan. Murdering a king in the 16th century opposed the ‘divine right of kings’. This was the belief that God gave direct power to Kings, and any opposition to the King was seen as defying God. It was therefore considered a sin, guaranteeing doom. To add, Macbeth was not granted the Divine Right of Kings. He steals power to become King, using actions of manipulation and murder. He was not granted the Divine Right of Kings, reinforcing the idea that he goes against God, and the natural order of the universe. It is shown that he can’t handle psychological consequences, as he believes he is hearing things, asking his wife if she heard a noise, she replying with less panic than him. Additionally, their plot is in danger as he has brought back the daggers with him - evidence of their murder. The quick dialogue in line 15 and fragmented line structure give a sense of urgency in both characters.
Act 5, scene 1 is a powerful part in the play which depicts Lady Macbeth’s disturbance. She sleepwalks through Macbeth’s castle, with the delusion that her hands are blood stained as a symbol of guilt and recalling the events of the murders she has committed. As she talks about them, her language is fragmented, a sign that she has been destroyed by her own power. Her being destroyed links to she seems weaker and feminine than before. She appears weak and fragile nearing the end of the play, due from being tormented by guilt, whereas in contrast to previously, she was the superior partner with the role of having strength and power, and controlling Macbeth. She went against all the stereotypes of an Elizabethan woman, which was to be submissive, weak and powerless. Likewise to The Laboratory, the narrator is also an ambitious woman, willing to resort to murder to accomplish her goals, and neither has any moral problems with it. This poem was written in the 18th century, during which men had dominance over women, linking to how both Lady Macbeth and the narrator of The Laboratory want dominance because both lived in a time when men ruled over women.
Part 2
Shakespeare uses language techniques to show that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are disturbed. “Wherein you dress’d yourself? Hath it slept since?...At what it did so freely?” Lady Macbeth uses rhetorical questions to attack Macbeth’s masculinity, without giving him the chance to reply to persuade and manipulate Macbeth. There is continuous use of animal imagery through the play. Lady Macbeth tells her husband to “Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under’t”, snakes represent evil in the Bible, and she associates the snake with the evil she tells Macbeth to perform. Shakespeare uses symbolism of snakes to reveal the malevolence of characters.
The imperative verb “shalt be” in the sentence “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be” shows her strong intentions. She also says “Come to my women's breasts and take my milk for gall”, the imperatives ‘come, take’ gives the impression of urgency and determination. This is similar to The Laboratory, in which Browning uses imperative violent verbs to describe how the narrator wishes for the poison to be “grind” and “mashed”, showing her enthusiasm as the poison progresses, excited by the thought of the death it may bring. It portrays her strong ambitions to kill her husbands mistresses, similarly as to how ambitious Lady Macbeth is to become Queen.
In act 1 scene 5 during Lady Macbeths soliloquy, she says, “Stop up the access and passage to remorse.” The use of sibilance here sounds similar to a snakes hissing, emphasising the words making them more sinister. Shakespeare is again making the link to the symbolism of snakes to support the imagery of evil.
Part 3
Shakespeare uses form to show how disturbed Lady Macbeth is, by using soliloquies that allow the audience to hear her innermost thoughts, which are filled with imagery of death and destruction. After reading Macbeth’s letter in act 1 scene 5, she expresses fears that Macbeth is too “kind” to take the necessary steps towards becoming King. This is shown in the quote, “I fear thy nature; it is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness, to catch the nearest way”. She believes that her husband’s character is not ruthless enough to fulfil his ambitions, that his character contains too much gentleness, which may become an obstacle to attain the quickest way of gaining power. Therefore her solution is to “pour my spirits in thine ear” and “chastise with the valour of my tongue”. She wishes to empower Macbeth with evil words, demonstrating that her personality already contains the strength of criminality, as well as showing the dominance she has over him. In the Elizabethan times, women were seen as incapable of taking the initiative and being subservient to men. However Macbeth is easily manipulated by his wife. Witchcraft accusations were very common in the past, believing that witches could influence the mind and body, which may ultimately lead audiences at the time to question if the actress playing Lady Macbeth was a witch, as it supports these beliefs.
Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits and asks them to fill her from head to toe with cruelty. She says, “take my milk for gall”, asking to exchange her maternal, motherly instincts to bitterness, signifying the transition of her femininity to masculinity, her feminine character to become a cruel one. She asks to “Make thick my blood / stop the passage to remorse”, as she does not want to feel natural feelings of pity or guilt which run along her veins and stop her from her actions, going against all ordinary emotions. Her thoughts are shown to be grotesque and frightening, with unnatural imagery.
Browning presents the disturbance of the narrator in ‘The Laboratory’ by using enjambments rather than soliloquies as it is a poem. Enjambments are used to show her unsteady dialogue and state of mind. “..and Elise, with her head / And her breast and her arms and her hands, / should drop dead!” creates an uneven pace, linking to her mental disposition. The repetition of the word ‘and’ makes you pause when reading the sentence, creating a sense of the narrator’s thoughts that are disjointed. Browning has created a contrast between this and the sinister language within the poem, with the calm, controlled structure of the poem. It has 12 stanzas and a regular ABAB rhyme scheme, so even if the narrator is talking about something evil, the lines continue to flow rhythmically along, making the poem more ominous.
(FORESHADOWING)
Part 4
Blood symbolizes the guilt that sits like a permanent stain on the consciences of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Part 5 the characteristics of Macbeth change from a battle-hardened, honourable and combat-decorated warrior to an emotionally unstable, cowardly individual who is susceptible to other peoples' coercive measures, namely his wife; Lady Macbeth
Setting up Lady Macbeth and Macbeth as strong and weak at the beginning of the play makes for comparisons later on in the play when Lady Macbeth becomes the weak and suicidal one, whereas Macbeth begins taking the initiative, planning Banquo’s murder without confiding in his wife.
Earlier in the play, she had a stronger sense of purpose and was the force behind each of their murderous plots. She had told Macbeth that “A little water clears us of this deed” when his hands were covered in blood, whereas she now sees too much blood. She has descended into madness. This is also reflected from the fact that she is not speaking in verse.
In act 5, scene 1, her speech has become broken. (examples and the language technique). The domineering wife has been reduced to someone whose speech makes little sense. There are no logical connections between her memories or sentences.
Conclusion
“which character you believe to be the most disturbed and why”
When Macbeth was crowned King, he questioned why such happy news caused his “heart knock at my ribs / Against the use of nature”. This may be an indirect sign that Macbeth knows he will have to murder in order to fulfil the second prophecy. He shows hesitance and has a tendency to waver with the thought of murdering, whereas in contrast with Lady Macbeth, she is solid and final on the deed, showing that her intentions are dark and sinister.
A soliloquy creates a better audience-character bond and increases the emotional attachment felt by the audience for the character.
The language of Lady Macbeth suggests an overwhelming sense of fierce determination for her husband to possess the ruthlessness of her character. However, the evil persona she adopts fails to shadow the insecurities of her conscience, conflicting with her strong will to murder the king.

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