MrLemonMan
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Report Thread starter 4 months ago
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Hi! So I'm currently working on the question "How is Lady Macbeth presented in Macbeth?" It's a 30 mark question and I have to use Act 1 Scene 5. I'm not sure if this paragraph is decent and I don't know what else to mention about the quote I'm using. If someone could give me some advice that would be great! Thanks

In Act 1 Scene 5, Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as cunning and manipulative. Lady Macbeth advises Macbeth that in order to fool the king, he must "look like the innocent flower, but be the snake under’t." This is a metaphor for how Macbeth must look normal whilst harbouring ulterior motives. Shakespeare employs the animal "serpent" to symbolise cunning nature but also has theological connotations. In the tale of Adam and Eve, Eve is tricked by a serpent into taking Adam from Paradise by eating the forbidden fruit. This draws parallels between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. She manipulates Macbeth into committing the most immoral act of murdering the king, ultimately leading to both their demise. This is a reference the Elizabethan audience would have recognised and therefore create a bigger impact as Elizabethan society was highly religious. Lady Macbeth is clearly the driving force in the relationship and encourages Macbeth. She guides Macbeth, making her appear as highly capable and scheming as she is confident in her words. This would have subverted expectations of the audience because women were expected to be submissive and follow their husband. Lady Macbeth does the exact opposite and instead has to drive Macbeth to be powerful and ambitious.

I'm also wondering how the serpent and lower links to the medal issued to commemorate the failed assassination of King James I. How does this link to Lady Macbeth's manipulation or what connotations does this allusion have??
Last edited by MrLemonMan; 4 months ago
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snowball_cat
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I’m not sure about James I (he believed in witchcraft so doing the play was definitely getting in his good books) but the snake is often described as cunning (like in the Bible when it tricks Eve) and women are sometimes described as cunning, using their words instead of getting physical which is Lady Macbeth’s weapon, using her words to get what she wants. The term “serpent tongued” is also used for people who are smart mouthed.
Last edited by snowball_cat; 3 months ago
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