Macbeth 3 Essay, Research Paper
Question: Explain the ways in which Lady Macbeth changes through-out the play, looking particularly at her attitude towards the murder of King Duncan.
There are many ways in which Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play. Throughout the play we see a gradual change in her attitude towards the murder of King Duncan. We see that Lady Macbeth changes from an attitude of wanting to be callously cruel to one of firm resolve and finally to one of overwhelming guilt, which eventually leads to her insanity.
At the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth s attitude towards King Duncan is one of disrespect. This is evident when we see how pleased she is to learn that Duncan is coming to her castle, saying that the messenger brings great news and saying that this is the fatal entrance of Duncan . From her words we can see her intentions to kill Duncan. This is reflected in her reference to the raven croaking, ravens being associated with death and murder. The depth of bitterness in her attitude towards Duncan becomes even clearer in her speech when she calls on the spirits to unsex me here to make thick my blood as she prepares for the murdering of Duncan. Her attitude of evil intent is further illustrated by her request for Night to cover her deeds, as when she says come, thick Night, and pall thee in the dunnest some of hell.
After the murder has been carried out, Lady Macbeth is calm, steady and resourceful, but there is a subtle shift in her attitude towards the murder, but she has not started to regret in what she has done. Lady Macbeth s calmness is represented when she says, A little water clears us of this deed which shows us that she is not worried with what she has done. But this paraphrase has another meaning to it, which shows that she is very controlled and calm, concentrating on the practical elements, and that she has also repressed all feelings. At this moment Lady Macbeth does not regret in what she has done, this is evident when she says, My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white. Lady Macbeth is saying that she has also helped murder Duncan but she would be embarrassed to wear a cowardice heart like her husband Macbeth.
After a long period of time Lady Macbeth s attitude towards the murder changed from one of evil to one of guilt and regret. At this time Lady Macbeth is now regretting what she has done. She is now frightful and distressed because in the passage the gentlewoman said, she has light by her continually , before the murder she called on darkness to conceal her deeds, now she needs the light to defend her from what she herself may see in the darkness.
While Lady Macbeth was being taken care of, the doctor and the gentlewoman notice that her eyes are open and she appears awake, but she is not consciously aware of her actions or words, for they say You see her eyes are open. Ay, but their senses are shut. During Lady Macbeth s insanity she constantly washes her hands Yet here s a spot, Out damned spot! Out, I say! During this time she washes her hands to remove the blood only she can see. She is also preoccupied with the thought that some small spot of blood may remain, making her guilty.
There are many ways in which Lady Macbeth changed throughout the play. Throughout the play we see a gradual change in her attitude towards the murder of King Duncan. She was first excited about the plan to kill Duncan for she said, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan. After the murder was done she did not feel any shame because she said My hands are of your colour: but I shame to wear a heart so white. During her insanity Lady Macbeth now regrets for what she has done and feels overpowering guilt.