Lady Macbeth Character Profile

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Lady Macbeth Character Profile by Mind Map: Lady Macbeth Character Profile

1. Shakespeare introduces Lady M w this soliloquy

1.1. We see her nastiness and her sheer ability to manipulate

1.1.1. Jacobean audience= shocked as she breaks the mould of the subservient and submissive women at the time M also addresses her as "my dearest partner of greatness" this contradicts the inequality between men and women at the time

2. Manipulative

2.1. She manipulates M into committing regicide by questioning his masculinity

2.1.1. "When you durst do it then you're a man"

3. Willpower/determined

3.1. She does not give up until her husband committed the murder; she drives him to do this as he is determined to prove himself as manly

3.2. Her determination to become Queen is seen instantly when she reads out M's letter

3.2.1. "Come ye spirits... unsex me here"

4. Overcome by guilt in the end of the play

4.1. So much so she kills herself offstage. This is a complete contrast to her early attitude: "a little water clears us off this dead"

5. Pre murder #1

5.1. She wants her husband to be king , but is concerned his is too kind to commit such a deed as murder/regicide; questioning his nature.

5.1.1. "too full o'th' milk of human kindness"

5.2. Macbeth writes her a letter merely explaining his experience with the Witches and the prophecies they told him; he has no intentions of a plan to become king.

5.2.1. "Glamis thou art and Cawdor..." Mirrors witches language; in the language she chooses and what she says. This is because she is eally moved by the witches predictions in terms of ambition (she wants to be queen and M to be king). Could argue alternatively that she is possessed by the supernatural powers of the witches.

5.3. "Thou wouldst be great, art not without ambition; but without the illness that should attend it"

5.3.1. Illustrates Macbeth would love to be king, but he doesn't want to do nasty deeds to get them. Wouldn't like to cheat.

5.4. Evilness is a sickness/disease

5.4.1. Lexical field of "catch" "illness" "attend" are all references to being sick. Evilness is a sickness required to catch and nurture; questions M as if he is present: "Do you not have any ambition?"

5.5. More language that mirrors the witches

5.5.1. "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; And chastise with the valour of my tongue" Evokes to the audience that Lady Macbeth is going to try and remove/talk all the goodness in her husband and try to convince him into committing regicide "spirits" alludes to the impression that evil spirits are going to help her in her quest

5.6. Irony= Act 5,1 her ambition (hamartia) makes her ill

5.7. When the king is announced as visiting them she says ;"Thou'rt mad to say it"

5.7.1. Reference to madness provides further irony'foreshadowing

5.8. The 2nd soliloquy shows her selfishness and power when speaking to audience

5.8.1. "Raven" shows further evilness which she has, and connotes to death foreshadowing what she wants to do to Duncan. "Croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan" Antithesis (contrasting words/double meanings)

5.8.2. Wants to be masculine "Come ye spirits... unsex me here" she wants to be masculine to be ambitious and independent to commit this sin "fill me with direst cruelty"

5.8.3. Alliteration of "croaks" "come" "crown" and "compunctious" - harsh sounding "C"

5.8.4. "stop up the access and passage to remorse" Metaphorical, asking not to make her feel guilty as that may distract her from doing her ultimate ambition -murder

5.8.5. "fell" means evil. Gives the impression further she doesn't want to feel guilty. Important as it's guilt that ultimately drives her insane and leads to her death/downfall

5.8.6. "Come to woman's breasts and take my milk for gall" She wants her feminine features to be removed so she can have the ability to feel no remorse for actions "gall" is bile "You murdering ministers" Gives further impression that she is calling out from the witches , almost as if she craves/needs them to help her trying to deny weakness

5.8.7. "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" asking supernatural to help the murder go unnoticed and do it without being caught at all "heaven" suggests that she wants it to be so dark that not even God can see them This would shock the Jacobean audience in itself and make them feel disgusted at committing such acts against God and humanity, by turning to evil Constant darkness references gives audience connotations to evil Links to when she sees Duncan's body as she didn't want to see the "wound it makes, however she does She wants the darkness to hide it from her and everyone, yet it doesn't so she faints Personification of night Personification of heaven. She knows plan is wrong that's why she asks 2 times for it to be hidden. Ask darkness to hide her thoughts/hide the truth - clothing imagery

5.8.8. Repetition of imperative "come" suggests a sense of urgency about her claims and that she needs these things immediately

5.8.9. Recurring image of venom and poison running thru play. What does this suggest about Scotland? War? Conflict? Also references to dangerous creatures like scorpions and snakes

6. Pre murder #2

6.1. expectation vs reality

6.1.1. "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under''t" "Serpent" links to evil, poisonous deeds that are done in the play Warning M that he must hide his true thoughts under kindness, therefore he must become better at deceiving people

6.2. Double meanings

6.2.1. "Must be provided for" Killing the king

6.2.2. "the night's great business" killing Duncan

6.2.3. "dispatch" Get rid of him

6.2.4. used as a tool for manipulation

6.2.5. tells him to kill the king, without explicitly saying so

6.2.6. avoiding responsibility by speaking this way

6.3. Could argue that despite the fact she is ambitious and wants to kill Duncan, subconsciously she has a conflict in her mind as she knows its wrong

6.3.1. Her ambition is highlighted further through her assurance of "leave the rest to me", as she is telling him he merely has to kill Duncan and that she'll do everything else

6.4. "We will speak further" shows M still has no intention of killing the king

7. Language

7.1. Antithesis (opposites) "heaven" "hell" "sun" "night"

7.1.1. shows that her character on the surface, she appears bold, brave and ruthless links nicely to theme: Appearance VS Reality

7.1.2. The reality is that she is a troubled character who is mentally unstable

7.2. Iambic Pentameter: she speaks in verse, like all powerful main characters in Shakespeare's tragedies. This is fitting for the dominant presence of LM in her opening scenes. However, the confidence is short lived.

7.2.1. Act 1,5&7

7.2.2. The up and down nature of the rhythm could arguably reflect Lady M's mental/emotional state which is consistently changes

7.3. Act 5,1 when she is vulnerable and no longer important she speaks in prose.

7.4. Double meanings

7.4.1. Shows her avoidance of responsibility and her powers of manipulation Alternatively, could portray her as in denial of who she truly is

7.5. Poignant Imagery

7.5.1. Blood, death & nature

7.6. Mirroring witches language to show her connections with evil and the supernatural

7.7. Presence of the word "sleep" in Act 1,7 is irony as the sleepwalking scene of Act 5,1 is what makes her downfall

8. Act 1,7

8.1. Begins with M refusing to kill the king due to all he has done for him

8.2. She is deceitful/manipulative as she challenges his refusal by making him look as though he promised he'd follow through with the plan when he didn't

8.2.1. "Was hope drunk wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since? And wakes it now to look so green and pale at what it did freely? Bombardment for M with all these rhetorical questions

8.2.2. Emotional bllackmail "from this time such I account thy love" alludes she is trying to convince him that if he doesn't kill Duncan he doesn't truly love her; questions his loyalty to her

8.2.3. Makes M look weak and cowardly "Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art in desire?" "And live a coward in thine own esteem" Insulting his manhood again "like the poor cat i'the adage" the story being told here is about a cat who wanted to get the fish in water but didn't want to get it's feet wet. She is using M as a metaphor for this cat, questioning his ruthlessness and drive to get what he desires at all costs

8.3. "What beast was't that make you break this enterprise to me?"

8.3.1. Almost making M try to feel responsible for breaking a promise he never truly made to her "I know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me" despite this she said she would've "pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums & dashed his brains out" if she had promised to do it to him, like he did about murdering Duncan Trying to question his love for her and make him feel so guilty that he goes through with her deed Show her true ruthlessness Violent imagery Her true power is shown in how quickly M changes his mind after she says this speech to him As he says "if we should fail?" which entirely contrasts his previous stance of "we will speak no further"

8.4. Implies that the deed will make him more of a man

8.4.1. "When you durst do it, then you are a man.... you would be so much more the man"

8.5. Repetitive use of pronouns "I and me" are used by her as a part of her master manipulation skills

8.6. Confident

8.6.1. "And we'll not fail"

8.6.2. In control she fully planned everything out

8.7. Macbeth is very convinced by her words come the end of the scene.

8.7.1. He says "false face must hide what the false heart doth know" Mirrors LM's earlier quote of appearing a flower, but acting like a serpent; hiding one's true feelings to commit the deed

9. Act 2,2

9.1. On edge/nervous/panic as she is waiting for M to return

9.1.1. "Hark!... Didst thou not hare a noise?"

9.1.2. less confident than Act 1,5 & 7

9.1.3. "I am afraid they have awaked" She is scared the guards have woken up and the murder has not occurred

9.2. She gives her reason for why she didn't do it herself

9.2.1. "Had he not resembled my father... I had done't" Could link to why she fainted

9.3. Here her character goes on a downward spiral

9.4. Macbeth returns panicked from the deed "I could not pronounce Amen"

9.4.1. she assures him there is nothing to be concerned/worried about "these deeds mustn't be thought after... it will make us mad" Ironic, foreshadows her downfall due to the guilt of the deed "A little water clears us of this deed" More irony! "be not lost so poorly in your thoughts"

9.5. "Wash this filthy witness from your hands"

9.5.1. Again, irony as she is the one that cannot get her hands clean of guilt come the end of the play

9.6. She is annoyed that he returned w the daggers and commands him to return them

9.6.1. "They must lie there. Go carry them and smear the sleeping grooms with blood" He refuses her; "I'll go no more" "I am afraid to think what I have done"

9.6.2. "Give me the daggers!" and "Infirm of purpose!" short, snappy responses that clearly reflect her now panicked and in a rush character

9.7. She questions M's manhood again, calling him weak for feeling guilty

9.7.1. "My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white"

10. Act 5,1

10.1. Speaks in prose as she has lost her power

10.2. sleepwalking around the castle, trying to wash metaphorical blood (guilt) but she can't

10.2.1. "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!" very short snappy sentence, heavy repetition of punctuation such as commas to show her manic mental state

10.3. "Will these hands ne'er be clean?"

10.3.1. contrasts the language she used w Macbeth earlier; little water clears us of this deed

10.4. "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this hand. O,o,o"

10.4.1. Connotes further to sense of disequilibrium she is feeling

10.5. "Wash your hands... look not so pale"

10.5.1. more language associated with death/illness

10.6. "Come, come, come, come" is said also at this point as well as at the beginning

10.7. "To bed, to bed, to bed"

10.7.1. references to her death/suspected suicide

10.7.2. shows how unimportant she has become; don't even get to see her death

10.8. "The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now?"

10.8.1. mumbling, revealing everything that has happened, loss of control and power

10.9. Doctor says "this disease is beyond my practice"

10.9.1. Links to and juxtaposes how she was suggesting that evilness is a disease that needs to be caught; guilt is a product of the evil deeds she's done