Macbeth controlled assessment draft Intro: Lady Macbeth, Miss Havisham and the persona in the laboratory are all perfect examples of disturbed women, whose minds and thoughts have been flung out of reality, warped and twisted by the psychotic ambitions and desires they hold. Their psychoses, how ever, manifest themselves in different ways. In the play ‘Macbeth’, Lady Macbeth degenerates from a sturdy, supreme character that influences her husband, Macbeth, into doing wicked deeds, into a deteriorating delusional woman who lacks self-control and bleeds guilt right out of her hands.
Miss Havisham reflects lady Macbeths deranged behavior, as she is a woman whose heart has been fractured by love, whose mind is tragically stuck in the past. The persona in the laboratory exhibits the same ruthless and confident behaviors as Lady Macbeth did at the start of the play. Nevertheless these three characters all display ideas about disturbed women. In this piece I will proceed to analyze and compare the different ways disturbed women are presented, linking the three texts therefore creating a deeper understanding of how disturbed women are conveyed.
Act 1 scene 5 : In the play ‘Macbeth, Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as being a disturbed woman, whose insane ambitions and desires to advance in life overwhelm her morality. We see Lady Macbeth as the paramount and dominant figure in her relationship with Macbeth, which dismisses the understanding of women in the patriarchal society they live: who sees females as a feeble and defenseless gender that should be subservient to their male dominance. Lady Macbeth is presented to be the fueling behind Macbeth’s wicked and later on very foolish behavior.
This is particularly noticeable in act 1 scene 5 where Lady Macbeth is first glimpsed, reading a letter from Macbeth telling her about the witches prophecy, that he will ascend to the throne, Lady Macbeth at once implores the spirits to take away her weakness (her femininity), and to inject her full of ruthlessness ensuring the witches prophecy gets fulfilled. For instance, she asks:’ come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me crown to toe top full of direst cruelty!
Lady Macbeth is desperate to gain masculinity, so she can be capable of committing wicked deeds in the name of her ambitions and desires, therefore loosing all sense of regret and conscience. Shakespeare uses the imperative verb ‘come’ to show her sense of command, this instantly conveys how much she craves to latch onto these cruel characteristics. Lady Macbeth is also seen making absurd, supernatural requests to ‘spirits’, making the reader start to debate on weather Lady Macbeth has really lost touch with her good, feminine side, it also starts to emphasize that Lady Macbeth is a rather dark and evil character, exposing her motives.
Her plea for the spirits to’ unsex’ her manifests the way she wants to be completely stripped of her femininity, almost as if she wants to be defeminised and re-formed. Lady Macbeth also reveals she wants to be filled ‘crown to toe top full/of direst cruelty. ’ Shakespeare uses the word ‘crown’ to reflect her strong, unhealthy desire for the crown; the use of the words ‘direst cruelty’ accentuates the way she wants to become completely merciless and without feeling. Lady Macbeth is overall a perfect example of a disturbed female.
She willingly demolishes expectations of her gender, and she sees a life shrouded with darkness and full of evil as the preferable option. In act 1 scene 7, It is the night before king Duncan’s murder and Macbeth starts to have second thoughts on following through with Lady Macbeths dangerous plan. Here Lady Macbeth is trying to manipulate and convince Macbeth to go through with the murder, by questioning his manhood making, she also uses explicit, violent imagery to show Macbeth her faithfulness to him. Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to his’’. She tries to show her reliability to Macbeth but does so using violence. The phrase ‘ dash’d the brains out’ Act 2 scene 2: Act 2 scene 2 is the most violent and intense part of Macbeth although we do no actually witness the murder of King Duncan. It is also the most crucial part of the play; it is the first of many murders. This scene takes place at night; the darkness represents what is unnatural, cruel and evil.
Everything that happens within the play appears to revolve around this particular scene. Not only is this important because it contains the murderous act, it also conveys to the audience the rapid disintegration of the relationship between the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The tension increases dramatically when we see Lady Macbeth pacing about in a nervous but excited state, awaiting Macbeth’s return increases the tension dramatically. We get a peek at Lady Macbeth’s softer side.
She says that she would have killed Duncan herself, but the old man looked too much like her father. As she waits she decides that she heard a screech owl, and she takes that as a good omen, because the screech owl is nature’s own ‘fatal bellman’. Although Macbeth performed the actual killing, it is Lady Macbeth that orchestrates all the details. Macbeth simply stands there lamenting the horrors he has just seen. Even though he committed the murders, he does not associate himself with the action.
This exchange between them also highlights the masculinity of Lady Macbeth. Previously Lady Macbeth had emphasized how she would tear an infant from her breast and kill it in order to get what she wants. This image presents Lady Macbeth as strong and domineering. While Macbeth shows remorse for what he’s done immediately, Lady Macbeth shows none and simply gives him instructions on how to act. There seems to be a gender role reversal for the couple; Macbeth seems feminine in his worrying and outward showing of guilt while Lady Macbeth remains detached and cool.
Act 5 scene 1: In Act 5, scene 1, Lady Macbeth’s troubles have surfaced and prevent her from sleeping. Her gentlewoman has called in the doctor to help her lady, but the doctor, after watching her erratic behaviour the Doctor realises that Lady Macbeth’s ‘disease is beyond (his) help and admits that she is more in need of ‘the divine’ than his skills as a ‘physician’ Lady Macbeth’s language in this scene betrays her troubled mind in many ways. Her speech in previous acts has been eloquent and smooth. In Act 1 Scene 4, she makes a speech to Duncan.
In this speech, her syntax is complex but the rhythm of her speech remains smooth and flowing, in the iambic pentameter used by noble characters in Shakespearean plays. There is stark contrast when she talks in her sleep in Act 5. This speech, Lady Macbeth’s language is choppy, jumping from idea to idea as her state of mind changes. Her sentences are short and unpolished, reflecting a mind too disturbed to speak eloquently. Although she spoke in iambic pentameter before, she now speaks in prose—thus falling from the noble to the prosaic. She is a pale reflection of her former self. havisham quote’. The fact that ‘’tis her command’ that she ‘has light by her continually’, Suggests her fear of God and damnation. According to the Bible, God is Light and because of her involvement in Duncan’s murder, God’s anointed ruler, she has caused the Natural Order to become broken, resulting in her falling out of God’s light and favour. The Doctor acknowledges this when he states ‘more need she the divine than the physician’, meaning her madness has gone beyond the knowledge of a mere physician and she is in the hands of God for he is the only one who can help her now.
However, the light she now sees by is one of her own creation. Instead of Confessing what she has done, seeking forgiveness and accepting the Consequences of her actions, she has internalised her guilt and allowed it to fester and sicken her mind. Lady Macbeth’s dissolution is swift. As Macbeth’s power grows, indeed, Lady Macbeth’s has decreased. She began the play as a remorseless, influential voice capable of sweet-talking Duncan and of making Macbeth do her bidding. She has now dwindled to a mumbling sleepwalker, capable only of a mad and rambling speech.
Cite this Duncan I of Scotland and Lady Macbeth
Duncan I of Scotland and Lady Macbeth. (2016, Oct 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/duncan-i-of-scotland-and-lady-macbeth/