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How does Shakespeare present Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 1?

By momo121 Jan 08, 2014 848 Words
In Act 1 scene 2 we find out that Macbeth is a brave and great soldier "noble Macbeth", who is ready to die for Duncan. Nevertheless, the prophecies of the witches have an influential effect on him - which shows that he is easily persuaded and believes all the good things about his future that he is told whether or not it is true, especially when he learns the first prophecy had in fact actually come true, when he becomes the Thane of Cawdor. After Macbeth became the Thane of Cawdor he beings to think more and more about being king and how wonderful that would be, and he is quite easily persuaded by Lady Macbeth to murder Duncan and to frame the guards. However, he often comes across as weak minded – as if he is pressured into doing everything and that he can’t think for himself - he cannot even make a decision by himself and never really seems sure of himself and that he thinks that he’s incapable of doing anything for himself. For instance, Lady Macbeth told him to kill Duncan because he was so ambitious to be king and Lady Macbeth didn’t want him to miss the chance when they had it as after that it would be hard for them to kill Duncan - it was now or never – and because of that lady Macbeth took away all his doubt. Lady Macbeth on the other hand is almost completely different to Macbeth – I guess opposites attract – but they have a couple of similarities for example she talks about the future just like Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is as not as gentle and caring as your stereotypical Jacobean woman but instead she looks like “the innocent flower” when in reality she is “The serpent under it” who is ready to attack. Lady Macbeth is more collected than Macbeth, she remains in control under pressure and she does not panic and she knows what she’s talking about she doesn’t seem to have any morality she has a way with her words, she is extremely persuasive so she uses that to her advantage and makes Macbeth do everything she says to do. Shakespeare also presents Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to have a very strong relationship and Shakespeare shows us several interactions between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in act 1 which gives us an idea of their relationship. We first see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth together for the first time so far in Act 1 scene 4. The first interaction between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the play is at the start of scene two. Lady Macbeth reads aloud the letter that Macbeth had written to her about meeting the witches: “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor and shalt be, What thou art promised”. Lady Macbeth acknowledges Macbeth’s predicament; she knows that his desire is to become king. But Lady Macbeth sees Macbeth as a coward who is too afraid to grasp what he wants when the opportunity is presented to him. Therefore, Lady Macbeth feels she must encourage Macbeth to seize the crown. She says “Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness”. Which I interpret to mean that in her opinion Macbeth ‘too full of human kindness’. All the way through Act 1, Lady Macbeth appears to be the more dominant person in the relationship. Especially when she says “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the top, top-full of direst cruelty”. When she calls for the spirits I believe that she is asking them to help her commit this crime and help her make a plan to get away with it. Fill her head to toe with deadly cruelty so she’ll fell no remorse. This really reveals what Lady Macbeth is a psychopath anyone that calls on spirits can’t be sane. Here is another example of Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth what to do, she is taking control of the situation and acting as if she knows what she’s doing when truly she doesn’t know what she’s doing or getting herself into, she’s improvising so Macbeth would stop being so doubtful. Later on in the play at Macbeth’s castle both husband and wife start talking again about murdering Duncan. Macbeth resists his wife’s persuasion by adding: “we will proceed no further in this business”. At this point lady Macbeth is becoming restless with him and she had to ensure him that everything will be okay and she explains her plan to Macbeth. Overall I think Macbeth being brave and noble is just a façade he portrays when in reality he is a fumble, weak coward who cannot speak for himself and relies purely on his wife who isn’t sane, yes she has his desire at her heart, as her reason for doing all of this but they should just wait for Duncan to die naturally instead of killing him which would be the more moral thing to do.

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