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flopsypopsy1
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Was wondering is anyone would mind giving me a little bit of feedback on this Critical Essay? I've tried to keep it loose and adaptable for the final exam, and I'm learning the quotes just in case there isn't a character question. Sometimes my imagination runs away and i stray from what is actually IN the book, so I hope im not taking too many artistic liberties? I'm at Nat5 Level, writing about Macbeth.

Thanks to anyone with the patience to read this essay!

In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the only character more crucial to the play than Macbeth himself is Lady Macbeth. In this essay I will discuss Lady Macbeths character and how it links to the various themes throughout the play. Lady Macbeth is the catalyst to almost all the action and is the direct influencer of her husband's decline from a brave warrior to a psychotic murderer. She herself spirals, from inspiring her husband's ambition due to her own ruthless desire, to realising she has aided in setting a power-hungry monster free. While Shakespeare keeps Lady Macbeth’s character cold to the end, he also shows a complete character arc within her conscience and personal ideals.

At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is immediately established as a dominant character over her husband. A mutual partnership is perceived when Macbeth addresses her as his ‘dearest partner of greatness’, but to the audience of the time that would have established her as a dominant character, as partnerships were a rarity in a marriage between a man and woman. However, regardless of the time period, those four words immediately establish her as a very present part of the relationship. An interesting addition to her character is when she states Macbeth ‘art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.’ This begins to build her cruel ambition to the audience, but also reveals that she is conscious of her own ‘illness’, her own evil nature. She is not mindlessly cruel and ambitious; she is aware of her ruthlessness and even values it.

Shakespeare then cements this aspect of her character when Lady Macbeth cries to ‘you spirit that tend on mortal thoughts’. This is no ordinary prayer, Shakespeare uses vivid, malicious imagery to display that this is an evil act. ‘And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers’, with this Lady Macbeth is demanding that all aspects of natural femininity be stripped from her, milk is used to symbolise not only femininity, but nurture and care. It can also be tied back to ‘th’milk of human kindness’ that she was so disdainful of Macbeth for having, but nevertheless, the meaning of this quote is clear; she does not want any kindness or femininity left in her. The entire soliloquy is Lady Macbeth preparing herself for murder, steeling her heart for the crimes she is about to commit, and removing any sympathy she has left.

Then Lady Macbeth’s manipulative side is revealed to us. Now that she has made the sacrifices to become Queen of Scotland, she is determined that her husband will do the same. Now that she has cast aside her kindness and femininity, she demands her husband does the same. Macbeth is tempted by ambition but rejects her plan due to his conscience. Again, Shakespeare uses violent imagery within Lady Macbeths lines, having her claim that she would have ‘dashed the brains out’ of her child if she had made such a promise. This again shows how far Lady Macbeth has come from her natural womanhood, and how ruthlessly determined she is. Lady Macbeth links masculinity and violence and uses this connection to coerce Macbeth into the murder of Duncan. She enhances the themes of femininity meaning gentleness and masculinity meaning violence. When Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth, ‘When you durst do it, then you were a man.’ She is attacking his masculinity, making him lesser to her and weaker. She uses comparisons to put Macbeth down and build herself up, and it’s this method of persuasion that finally convinces Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth is the driving force behind the plot of the play, being the direct catalyst of the action. This is until Macbeth’s ambition and paranoia overshadows her own, and she realises that her power has not brought her happiness. She muses over this to herself; ‘Nought’s has, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content’ The line shows that Lady Macbeth is becoming aware that peace of mind is more important than power. The line ‘Naught’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content’ acts as a turning point in Lady Macbeths character arc and signals the beginning of her destruction as a character. The scene itself reveals cracks in Lady Macbeth’s ruthless shell. We see from Lady Macbeth’s language she is uneasy about yet another murder, ‘You must leave this,’ and mentions that life doesn’t last forever, and that Fleance and Banquo will die eventually.

As Lady Macbeth begins to feel the pinch of her conscience, her husband has begun to fall further and further to violence to achieve his aims. Lady Macbeth is shows repeatedly throughout the play to have a conscience. From the beginning and her own acknowledgement of brutality as an ‘illness’ to even amid murder, when she could not murder a man that looked so much like her father, to now, when she is shocked by her husbands unprompted violence. By showing her to become unnaturally masculine and brutal, through prayer to evil, Shakespeare doomed Lady Macbeth to fail. Lady Macbeth begins her journey into madness through the realisation that all the murder and violence committed was all worth nothing, as she is now tortured by her own conscience.

This is solidified a few scenes onward, when we see the full effects of guilt of Lady Macbeths mind. The aggressive, strong character at the start has now been reduced to an anxious, disturbed invalid. We see Shakespeare use irony to further enhance the point he’s trying to make, with the Gentlewoman saying, ‘I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body’. Now, even others can see how much better it is to be clear of conscious, even if it means to not have so much power. Blood is again used, but this time not to symbolise violence or masculinity, but guilt.

In conclusion Lady Macbeth is a powerful, strong character that is in turn overcome by ambition, then guilt. She is a key character and influencer of action in the play, and many of her actions not only affect other characters, but enhance the themes of guilt, ambition and violence throughout the play.
Last edited by flopsypopsy1; 2 weeks ago
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(Original post by flopsypopsy1)
Was wondering is anyone would mind giving me a little bit of feedback on this Critical Essay? I've tried to keep it loose and adaptable for the final exam, and I'm learning the quotes just in case there isn't a character question. Sometimes my imagination runs away and i stray from what is actually IN the book, so I hope im not taking too many artistic liberties? I'm at Nat5 Level, writing about Macbeth.

Thanks to anyone with the patience to read this essay!

In Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the only character more crucial to the play than Macbeth himself is Lady Macbeth. In this essay I will discuss Lady Macbeths character and how it links to the various themes throughout the play. Lady Macbeth is the catalyst to almost all the action and is the direct influencer of her husband's decline from a brave warrior to a psychotic murderer. She herself spirals, from inspiring her husband's ambition due to her own ruthless desire, to realising she has aided in setting a power-hungry monster free. While Shakespeare keeps Lady Macbeth’s character cold to the end, he also shows a complete character arc within her conscience and personal ideals.

At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is immediately established as a dominant character over her husband. A mutual partnership is perceived when Macbeth addresses her as his ‘dearest partner of greatness’, but to the audience of the time that would have established her as a dominant character, as partnerships were a rarity in a marriage between a man and woman. However, regardless of the time period, those four words immediately establish her as a very present part of the relationship. An interesting addition to her character is when she states Macbeth ‘art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.’ This begins to build her cruel ambition to the audience, but also reveals that she is conscious of her own ‘illness’, her own evil nature. She is not mindlessly cruel and ambitious; she is aware of her ruthlessness and even values it.

Shakespeare then cements this aspect of her character when Lady Macbeth cries to ‘you spirit that tend on mortal thoughts’. This is no ordinary prayer, Shakespeare uses vivid, malicious imagery to display that this is an evil act. ‘And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers’, with this Lady Macbeth is demanding that all aspects of natural femininity be stripped from her, milk is used to symbolise not only femininity, but nurture and care. It can also be tied back to ‘th’milk of human kindness’ that she was so disdainful of Macbeth for having, but nevertheless, the meaning of this quote is clear; she does not want any kindness or femininity left in her. The entire soliloquy is Lady Macbeth preparing herself for murder, steeling her heart for the crimes she is about to commit, and removing any sympathy she has left.

Then Lady Macbeth’s manipulative side is revealed to us. Now that she has made the sacrifices to become Queen of Scotland, she is determined that her husband will do the same. Now that she has cast aside her kindness and femininity, she demands her husband does the same. Macbeth is tempted by ambition but rejects her plan due to his conscience. Again, Shakespeare uses violent imagery within Lady Macbeths lines, having her claim that she would have ‘dashed the brains out’ of her child if she had made such a promise. This again shows how far Lady Macbeth has come from her natural womanhood, and how ruthlessly determined she is. Lady Macbeth links masculinity and violence and uses this connection to coerce Macbeth into the murder of Duncan. She enhances the themes of femininity meaning gentleness and masculinity meaning violence. When Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth, ‘When you durst do it, then you were a man.’ She is attacking his masculinity, making him lesser to her and weaker. She uses comparisons to put Macbeth down and build herself up, and it’s this method of persuasion that finally convinces Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth is the driving force behind the plot of the play, being the direct catalyst of the action. This is until Macbeth’s ambition and paranoia overshadows her own, and she realises that her power has not brought her happiness. She muses over this to herself; ‘Nought’s has, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content’ The line shows that Lady Macbeth is becoming aware that peace of mind is more important than power. The line ‘Naught’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content’ acts as a turning point in Lady Macbeths character arc and signals the beginning of her destruction as a character. The scene itself reveals cracks in Lady Macbeth’s ruthless shell. We see from Lady Macbeth’s language she is uneasy about yet another murder, ‘You must leave this,’ and mentions that life doesn’t last forever, and that Fleance and Banquo will die eventually.

As Lady Macbeth begins to feel the pinch of her conscience, her husband has begun to fall further and further to violence to achieve his aims. Lady Macbeth is shows repeatedly throughout the play to have a conscience. From the beginning and her own acknowledgement of brutality as an ‘illness’ to even amid murder, when she could not murder a man that looked so much like her father, to now, when she is shocked by her husbands unprompted violence. By showing her to become unnaturally masculine and brutal, through prayer to evil, Shakespeare doomed Lady Macbeth to fail. Lady Macbeth begins her journey into madness through the realisation that all the murder and violence committed was all worth nothing, as she is now tortured by her own conscience.

This is solidified a few scenes onward, when we see the full effects of guilt of Lady Macbeths mind. The aggressive, strong character at the start has now been reduced to an anxious, disturbed invalid. We see Shakespeare use irony to further enhance the point he’s trying to make, with the Gentlewoman saying, ‘I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body’. Now, even others can see how much better it is to be clear of conscious, even if it means to not have so much power. Blood is again used, but this time not to symbolise violence or masculinity, but guilt.

In conclusion Lady Macbeth is a powerful, strong character that is in turn overcome by ambition, then guilt. She is a key character and influencer of action in the play, and many of her actions not only affect other characters, but enhance the themes of guilt, ambition and violence throughout the play.
Generally, very well written essay. I have 3 points for you:

1 - In your introduction, name the themes. What are they?

2 - Your conclusion is a little weak. In your introduction you said 'I will discuss Lady Macbeths character and how it links to the various themes throughout the play'. In your conclusion, you should tell us what thematic messages Shakespeare is trying to convey through the character of Lady Macbeth.

3 - Try to use more linking words:

  • As a result / Consequently / As a consequence
  • However
  • Even so / That said
  • Furthermore / Moreover / In addition


Good luck!
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flopsypopsy1
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Considering that the exam is literally like 12 hours away and i still dont know it off by heart i'd say so too
(Original post by I am Herpies)
You should start looking for a job at maccies fam
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flopsypopsy1
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Thank you so much! I dont think its a good idea to word for word repeat it in the exam, so when i have an actual question im hoping my conclusion will be stronger! I'll defos try and stick more linking words in too, its a bit stop-and-starting. Thanks again for reading it!
(Original post by Quick-use)
Generally, very well written essay. I have 3 points for you:

1 - In your introduction, name the themes. What are they?

2 - Your conclusion is a little weak. In your introduction you said 'I will discuss Lady Macbeths character and how it links to the various themes throughout the play'. In your conclusion, you should tell us what thematic messages Shakespeare is trying to convey through the character of Lady Macbeth.

3 - Try to use more linking words:

  • As a result / Consequently / As a consequence
  • However
  • Even so / That said
  • Furthermore / Moreover / In addition


Good luck!
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Quick-use
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Also, the first time you mention the author use the full name (which you've done) and every single time after just remember to the author by their surname.
(Original post by flopsypopsy1)
Thank you so much! I dont think its a good idea to word for word repeat it in the exam, so when i have an actual question im hoping my conclusion will be stronger! I'll defos try and stick more linking words in too, its a bit stop-and-starting. Thanks again for reading it!
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Saliak
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I think this was really good and includes a lot of explanation and changes of lady Macbeth however at the end I think you could’ve added a few more quotes of how she developed into going mad and started hallucinating. Before that you could’ve also referred to how people suggest she’s like the 4th witch.
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