How is Lady Macbeth presented as a disturbed character in Machbeth?
“How is Lady Macbeth presented as a disturbed character?” In the Shakespeare play Macbeth, his wife Lady Macbeth is presented in many ways, mainly a controlling, cold, crazy lady.
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Here are a few examples of her peculiar behaviour and why she may have behaved this way: Lady Macbeth could be presented as a disturbed character quite early on in the book. In Act One, Scene 5 when she has received the letter from Macbeth she immediately starts to plan and take matters into her own hands. She knows immediately that the only way for her to achieve her goal of being queen is to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth then says something quite witchy, she invites evil spirits to enter her.
“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”. This comment shows that Lady Macbeth wants to dedicate herself entirely to her evil ambition. Lady Macbeth is willing and determined to steel herself and make herself into an evil, cold person. She knows that the murder will need evil power within her, which is not naturally in her.
Lady Macbeth is ready to go to extreme lengths just to make sure her plan works and gets what she wants, and will get rid of anyone who is in her way. In Act One, Scene 7 Lady Macbeth is portrayed more disturbed than you could ever imagine when she talks about sacrificing her child! “I have given suck; and know how tender tis’ to love the babe that milks me – I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums , and have dashed the brans out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.”
Lady Macbeth shows a very cold, callous side her as she creates such a violent, inhumane image here; all so Macbeth stops doubting and still goes along with her plan. Even if she was scared that Macbeth wouldn’t follow through with her plan, did she really have to go to an extreme measure like that? Not a pretty picture, and certainly not the product of a stable mind.
The manner in which it was said was so casual; Lady Macbeth really defines emotionless in this scene. In Act 5, Scene 1, Lady Macbeth starts sleepwalking, she gets scared and seems to believe that blood is all over her hands, metaphorically. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say! What, will these hands, ne’er be clean?”. Lady Macbeth seems to think her evil-doing has come to haunt her and punish her, and even thinks that the blood from the killing of Duncan. This here suggests that Lady Macbeth is disturbed from what she did, and is rather guilty as she is still picturing blood on her hands.
“Out damned spot” could be suggesting that the blood is refusing to come off of her hands; ‘damned” is a swear word, which is showing her strong feelings, and how bad she wants the blood to come off so the feeling of guilt goes away. Lady Macbeth loses touch of controlling her husband, and the bond/connection she had with him.
She notices she does not have the power of controlling him anymore or being able to lure him into what she wants to do and tries to do everything she can to have him back. For example during the sleepwalking scene, she’s talking to Macbeth (in her dream) and says to him repeatedly “Come, come, come, come, give me your hand…
To bed, to bed, to bed.”, she seems obsessed with talking to him – and her way of doing that is taking him to the intimacy of the marital bed. She uses repetition suggests sensual seduction, obsession or maybe even desperation. This shows how needy Lady Macbeth is and how she is losing her sense of masculinity, which she used to have the bond she had with her husband, and the way she thinks she can get those things back or at least try is by luring him to bed.
Lady Macbeth always instinctively saw herself as part of a couple. Macbeth has gradually broken away from her, leaving her totally isolated in her chamber. She desperately wants their former closeness. Lastly, she feels suddenly alone and scared by Macbeth’s words and actions. In Act 2 Scene, their relationship has changed in an odd way. Macbeth has become more like his wife. He’s much more stern and dominant now.
For example: “Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep, in the affliction of these terrible dreams”. Macbeth also tends to be quite patronising towards her, “So I shall, love.”, here Macbeth is talking to her like a child, which is odd as he used to call her his ‘partner of greatness”. Macbeth may have been directing some of his angry words at her. His fury and menace really frightens her as well as surprises, especially as earlier in the play she thought he was too afraid to kill the king in the first place.
A lot has changed, including the way he sees her which scares her as well as saddens her. In conclusion, I think that Lady Macbeth has been presented as a disturbed character due to the fact of her trying to reach her goal, which is to be queen. She is a very strong character, for better or for worse, and is the one to both manipulate Macbeth and console him. During the process of that she has had to go through extreme measures which have ended negatively, one of those being losing her connection with her husband, endless guilt and of course – madness, which eventually leads her to killing herself.