Macbeth

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G.c.s.e. essay guide on Lady Macbeth

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Macbeth

  1. 1. Trace the stages by which Lady Macbeth becomes less dominant as the play progresses, making clear your changing feelings towards her. ( Write this title down now )
  2. 2. You will be guided through this essay. The Acts and Scenes you should refer to will be pointed out, some key speeches will even be identified… <ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>You must avoid long quotations </li></ul><ul><li>You must quote regularly in support of your points ( don’t forget to make a point! ) </li></ul><ul><li>Regularly explain exactly why Shakespeare’s use of language is brilliant ( i.e. don’t just say it is! ) </li></ul><ul><li>You must focus on individual words and phrases, especially imagery </li></ul>
  3. 3. Illustrate the power of Macbeth to suggest the greater power, initially, of Lady Macbeth. <ul><li>Quotes to show Macbeth’s power can be found in Act 1 Scenes 2, 3 and 4 </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll need, perhaps, three quotes </li></ul><ul><li>Comment that the person who can dominate this man must be very powerful indeed </li></ul>
  4. 4. Show how Shakespeare quickly reveals her ambitious and determined nature. <ul><li>Focus on her ‘Glamis thou art…’ speech in Act 1 Scene 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Her ambition for her husband is clear – note that if he is king then she will be queen </li></ul><ul><li>The evil nature of her determination is hinted at in her criticisms of Macbeth </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to comment on the language she uses, especially the imagery </li></ul>
  5. 5. Show how the evil nature of her determination is developed. <ul><li>She is prepared to invoke evil spirits – ‘Come, you spirits….’ Act 1 Scene 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Again, focus on the language she uses </li></ul><ul><li>Break up the speech into small quotes </li></ul><ul><li>When Macbeth arrives, look closely at her language - link with language of witches, plus more signs of evil determination </li></ul>
  6. 6. Macbeth decides against murdering Duncan. <ul><li>Act 1 Scene 7. Lady Macbeth insults and cajoles Macbeth into the murder – her dominance is confirmed – ‘Was the hope drunk…’ n.b. clothing imagery </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful image of suckling babe reveals so much of her evil determination and, at this point, her cold-hearted unfemininity </li></ul><ul><li>Possibly contrast her presentation here with the later presentation of the noble Lady Macduff </li></ul>
  7. 7. Now would be a good time to comment on your feelings, possibly a mixture of anger and admiration , towards the character of the Lady Macbeth you have seen so far .
  8. 8. Note, however, that Lady Macbeth’s conversion to evil is not total. <ul><li>Act 2 Scene 2 – she needs a drink to give her the courage to put her plan into action </li></ul><ul><li>The owl’s shriek scares her ( owl symbol of evil ) </li></ul><ul><li>She has the opportunity to murder Duncan but her sensitivity won’t allow her to – ‘Had he not resembled my father…’ </li></ul><ul><li>Are you critical of her here or do you pity her? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Compared to her husband, Lady Macbeth has not thought through the consequences of their actions. <ul><li>One effect of this is to make her later realisation more devastating and, therefore, more dramatic </li></ul><ul><li>Comment on the irony of these lines from Act 2 Scene 2– ‘These deeds must not be thought </li></ul><ul><li>After these ways; so it will make us </li></ul><ul><li>mad’ </li></ul><ul><li>Is this ignorance or naivety? Do you feel pity or contempt ? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Further evidence in Act 2 Scene 2 of how Lady Macbeth’s ambition has affected her judgement. <ul><li>Look at ‘A little water clears us of this deed; </li></ul><ul><li>How easy is it then! </li></ul><ul><li>Do you feel pity ? Because of the consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Contempt ? For her naivety </li></ul><ul><li>Admiration ? For her apparent clear thinking compared to Macbeth’s paralysis </li></ul>
  11. 11. Look at the fainting incident - Act 2 Scene 3 <ul><li>Is this shrewd? Why would Lady Macbeth want to deflect attention away from Macbeth at this point? </li></ul><ul><li>Or is it genuine, a sign that she is not inhuman? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Macbeth decides to kill Banquo and Fleance. <ul><li>Again examine Lady Macbeth’s naivety in thinking that the murder of Duncan will bring about their desires </li></ul><ul><li>In Act 2 Scene 3, focus on the anguish of her ‘Naught’s had, all’s spent…’ speech ( you will need to quote all of it ) </li></ul><ul><li>Comment on the importance she now attaches to contentment in life </li></ul><ul><li>She is definitely weakening – Macbeth feels the need to protect her </li></ul>
  13. 13. The banquet scene – Act 3 Scene 4. <ul><li>Note the temporary resurgence of Lady Macbeth. Initially, some of her qualities return and she regains some measure of control </li></ul><ul><li>Would you say that her actions reflect her love for her husband rather than fear for herself? </li></ul><ul><li>Admiration ? Considering her own mental state </li></ul><ul><li>However, seeing her husband so distraught, she uses up all her energy and loses her will. Pity ? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Lady Macbeth does not reappear until Act 5. <ul><li>Comment on Shakespeare’s skill as a playwright – he fades Lady Macbeth into the background so that when she reappears her deterioration appears more dramatic </li></ul>
  15. 15. Act 5 Scene 1 – the sleepwalking scene. <ul><li>You will need to quote extensively from Lady Macbeth’s final scene </li></ul><ul><li>But remember to keep your quotes short and focussed </li></ul><ul><li>Go to next slide </li></ul>
  16. 16. Act 5 Scene 1 continued <ul><li>Identify, at least in your own mind, which previous events she is referring to </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a lot of irony in this scene – n.b. the ‘blood cleaning’ </li></ul><ul><li>Note how Lady Macbeth’s language alternates between bitterness and sweetness, which indicates:- </li></ul><ul><li>How distracted she is </li></ul><ul><li>The fact that she remains human and feminine </li></ul><ul><li>That she is child-like and vulnerable </li></ul><ul><li>What is your overwhelming feeling here – pity ? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Act 5 Scene 5 - Lady Macbeth dies but her influence continues. <ul><li>She leaves Macbeth alone and totally isolated </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the imagery of despair in his ‘She should have died hereafter’ speech </li></ul>
  18. 18. The conclusion of the play and of your essay! <ul><li>Based on what you know, would you agree with Malcolm’s assessment, in the final scene, of Lady Macbeth as a ‘fiend-like queen’ ? – n.b. do not write ‘f r iend-like’ by mistake! </li></ul>

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