The Letter in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1609 Words Jun 15th, 2018 7 Pages
The Letter in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Lady Macbeth's reaction when she reads her husband's letter is powerful and dramatic.

· As soon as she's finished reading, she has decided she will make sure Macbeth is king

It's as if she and her husband are thinking exactly the same thing. She does not hesitate for a moment.

· Lady Macbeth invites the spirits of evil to enter her

She knows she has to steel herself, that the murder will need evil power, and evil is not naturally within her.

· She knows immediately that murdering Duncan is the only way of quickly achieving her goal

When Macbeth brings further news that Duncan is actually coming to spend that night with them, it
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She doesn't really know what's wrong - she can't see the ghost.

· She cannot understand Macbeth's faith in the supernatural

She always looks for natural ways of putting things right. While he prepares for more killing, she looks for simple, natural ways of coping - a little water, sleep.

· Lady Macbeth is still concerned that they act, and cope, as a couple

This is important. Remember she can only really have power through her husband. She has no power of her own. So her main worry is that the guests see them as man and wife, king and queen.

The sleepwalking scene (Act 5, Scene 1)

Why does Lady Macbeth begin to walk and talk in her sleep? Understanding why Lady Macbeth has begun to sleepwalk will help you to understand her character.

· She needs to be cleansed

Lady Macbeth never saw the evil of the murder lasting in this way. The blood of Duncan haunts her.

· She re-runs her own part in the murder to come to terms with her guilt

An important point. She does not try to blame anyone but herself. Her words come back to haunt her.

· Lady Macbeth is horrified by Macbeth's continued killing

She was devastated by the slaughter of Lady Macduff and her children.

What does the scene tell us about her part in the play?

· As a woman, Lady Macbeth never had the power to control things
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