This explains how the character of Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play starting from encouraging Macbeth to kill Duncan till the end of the play when she supposedly kills herself.
Upon meeting Lady Macbeth for the first time, the audience recognises her ability to deceive and manipulate.
In Act 1, Scene 5 she says “The raven himself is hoarse that crooks the fatal entrance of Duncan.” This demonstrates her desire to kill Duncan, thus opening the way for Macbeth to be king. To achieve this she will need to deceive Duncan and the rest of the nobility, while convincing Macbeth of this plan. This shows the audience how Lady Macbeth is a significant and powerful character who will drive the action forward though deceiving and manipulating others for her personal gain.
Further on in Act 1, scene 5 she shows the audience her ability to commit evil and supernatural acts upon people, thus showing she is a witch like figure and in the 1600’s people were frightened of witches. Where Lady Macbeth shouts out, “Unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty?” This demonstrates that Lady Macbeth wishes to have the ability to harm and murder people in a cruel and super natural witch-like way. The audience would also react on the character Lady Macbeth plays as she is the leader and Macbeth is inferior to her even though he is a war hero this supported by the quote “For thy undaunted mettle should compose Nothing but males. Will it not be reciev’d, When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two of his own chamber, and us’d their very daggers, that we have done’t?”
In the 1600’s women were meant to be housewives and mothers, and on average had a baby every two years, and child bearing was meant to be an honour.
Children were seen to be a blessing from god. This shows that Lady Macbeth is the opposite to Elizabethan women as she wants to be ‘unsexed’ so therefore could not care or give birth to a child showing she is a cruel character and deceives people for her own gain for example persuading Macbeth into killing Duncan makes Macbeth become king but the she becomes queen. The audience would not have liked her as she is different to Elizabethan women and is evil. The audience would not have felt sympathy for her and the audience would have disliked Lady Macbeth immediately because of her cruel and evil ways towards Duncan and Macbeth.
The audience witnesses a change of Lady Macbeth’s character towards the end of the play in Act 5, Scene 1 She has become a weak and scared character, where at the beginning of the play she was a strong character who drove Macbeth and the play on until Macbeth kills Duncan. In Act 5, Scene 1 Lady Macbeth admits in her sleep that she helped kill Duncan by saying “Out, damned spot! Out I say! One, two” This meaning her hands were stained with blood thus meaning she has killed someone that being Duncan. This quote shows that Lady Macbeth’s character has had a vast change since as she wanted the murder to take place were now she is regretting it as well as having nightmares over it. And no sleep means as it is stated throughout the play that sleep is for the innocent. The audience starts to feel sorry for Lady Macbeth as Macbeth does not seem to comfort her unlike she did when Macbeth was going to kill Duncan at the beginning of the play.
The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth has changed from the beginning of the play as when Lady Macbeth and Macbeth where plotting to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth was the character who enforced the plan and kept Macbeth from telling everyone and becoming mentally unstable. Were now the roles have changed over where Macbeth is the stronger character and Lady Macbeth is the weaker character. But unlike Lady Macbeth looked after Macbeth, he does not help Lady Macbeth who is sleep walking as well as mentally breaking down, as she sleep walks she confesses to the Doctor and the gentle woman that she has helped to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth keeps saying “Yet here’s a spot”. But when she says a spot, she is referring to blood on her hands. Lady Macbeth feels that she cannot wash her hands of this evil deed. Once again, in her sleep, she admits the death of Banquo and Duncan. The Doctor is scared of what she had said and says “un-natural deeds” this means to kill a king is un-natural because according to the divine right of kings, god chooses kings, so to kill Duncan, who was the king of Scotland, was against God’s will. The Doctor then goes to Macbeth where he says to the Doctor “how does your patient, doctor?” This means that Macbeth does not see her as his wife anymore and no longer needs Lady Macbeth to comfort and plot for him. Towards the end of the play Sayton says to Macbeth “The queen my lord is dead”. Macbeth then says he has no time by saying “she should have died hereafter; there would have been time for such a word. This meaning that he has no time for the one he used to call “My love” even when she is dead.
Lady Macbeth would have shocked the audience in Shakespeare’s time, as women did not act the way Lady Macbeth did in Shakespeare’s times
At the beginning Lady Macbeth does not suit the stereo typical Elizabethan women but towards the end Lady Macbeth becomes to fit the typical Elizabethan women and eventually kills herself because she cannot live with what she has done.
Lady Macbeth is responsible for the death of Duncan and Banquo as well as Mac duffs family. For the death of Duncan Lady Macbeth is definitely responsible as she drove Macbeth to kill him. Where the other murders she did not drive Macbeth to do, but because she got him to kill Duncan, Macbeth then got blood thirsty and killed, Banquo and Macduff’s family. But this is still to do with Lady Macbeth convincing him to kill Duncan in the first place.
I think the audience would be able to develop sympathy for Lady Macbeth at the end of ‘Macbeth’ as she has became mentally ill which is quite shocking and upsetting towards the audience.