Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lady Macbeth

              Lady Macbeth is the leading female character in this play. She lusts for power and her position as Queen . She is much more of a stronger character in the beginning of the play. She has more power over Macbeth.
             Lady Macbeth proves she has nerves of steel after evoking the spirits, to push Macbeth to commit the stabbing of Duncan. She tells him "screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail."(1.7. 60) After He kills the king, His mental state starts to fall apart. Lady Macbeth insists on keeping a calm face, before Banquo and the others. even as Macbeth is asking if all of Neptune's ocean would not wash the blood clean from his hands, she replies "a little water clears us of this deed."(2.2.65)  Its only later on the guilt begins to erode her sanity that she also starts to hallucinate.
           Lady Macbeth cannot sleep, she walks the castle halls all night murmuring to herself in her despair and guilty conscience shown by her saying "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." (5.1.42) She becomes frail and unstable. Sleep deprivation exacts its revenge. The Doctor who is called to see about her, comments on her strange actions of wringing or the imitation of washing her hands. He comments "More needs she the divine than the physician."  (5.1.64)        
          In the end, Macbeth is strong and lady Macbeth is mad. Macbeth tells the doctor to minister to her "diseased mind" and cleanse her thoughts. He is more concerned with the oncoming battle with Malcolm and Macduff. While Macbeth is pre-occupied Lady Macbeth commits suicide.  


Erika Pumilia said...

Hannah- I just read another post about Lady Macbeth and that student pointed out how she is a strong character, and yet we find her in a weak state at the end. I found this interesting because I was relating this to the other female characters we have come across and I feel that a few more of them fit into this idea as well. Desdemona for example is strong enough to marry the moor despite her father and in the end is too weak to withstand her husbands strength physically. Titania is strong in the beginning and stands her ground in regards to the boy, but loses him eventually. What are your thoughts on this?

Barbara Gallagher said...

Lady Macbeth has developed obsessive-compulsive disorder as a result of her participation in the murders. Although she seems strong in the beginning of the play, it may just be the madness that lurks in her mind that propels her to her murderous deeds. She is a character, to be sure, but I never found her to be a strong character, merely a weak one who, like her husband, was willing to kill for power and prestige.

Cyrus Mulready said...

This post offers some nice observations about Lady M, who is both a fascinating and frustrating character for the reasons detailed here. She begins powerful and controlling, and yet, as Erika points out nicely, she is ground down in the end by her circumstances. Why do we have so many female roles in Shakespeare that don't seem capable of making it to the end of the play??