Analyse Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy and Subsequent Conversation with Macbeth in “Act One: Scene Five”.

Explore What it Reveals About Her Character and How Far She is Responsible for the Death of King Duncan.
After Macbeth has been given the title, “Thane of Cawdor” and being a witness to King Duncan's sons made heirs to the throne, he has sent a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth. He explains to her what has happened since he won the battle, discussing the three witches and their prophecy of Macbeth one day being king and the promotions that King Duncan “awarded”, including his own and the princes' promotions.

Lady Macbeth, at their home, started reading the letter aloud. But when she finished reading, she kept her thoughts to herself, not speaking out loud. The reason for this being that a plan was starting to form in her head as to help her husband achieve the title of king, as promised to him.

First of all, Lady Macbeth speaks of Macbeth, saying, “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promis'd”. This tells us, or at least meant to believe, that Lady Macbeth wants the best for Macbeth. Or it could just be seen for her as a chance for obtaining power and wealth..... A bit like Heather Mills, perhaps?

She then says of Macbeth, “Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full o' the milk of human kindness”. This shows us that Lady Macbeth is supposedly good at recognizing or finding the “faults” in others, and, in this case at least, feels she doesn't have too much of a good nature herself. This, I feel, makes her feel more/ better (in more ways than one) than Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth feels that she is mollycoddling Macbeth, as she says here, “Than wishest should be undone”. This shows us that she feels that Macbeth needs support from herself, this that she now hopes to give to him, in order to gain his place as king.

Since Lady Macbeth realizes that Macbeth won't be able to go through with the murder of King Duncan, she says, “Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear. And chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round”. From this, we can tell that Lady Macbeth is not afraid to use her femininity to her advantage and, even though there is no definite evidence towards this, I feel that the fact that she is ready to put Macbeth in a weakened position (No pun intended... But I am thinking Bond style of getting what they want) in order to plant her influential seeds of evil in Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth follows this up saying, “Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crowned withal”. This shows us that she will use any excuse in her effort to “turn” Macbeth to the “Dark Side”. I feel that this shows how determined that she is to achieve, what are now effectively, her plans.

What I consider to be a very important part of Lady Macbeth's soliloquy is when she asks “Evil Murderous Spirits” to give her strength. “Unsex me here..... To cry “Hold, hold!.” This shows us exactly just how much Lady Macbeth is willing to surrender (In this case, her femininity), showing the immensity of her ambition and, again, determination.

When Macbeth does return home and Lady Macbeth has informed him of her plan, Macbeth starts to back out, not wanting to go through with the evil deed of murdering the king. Lady Macbeth, already long expecting this, replies saying, “Your face, my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters... You should project a peaceful mood, because if you look troubled, you will arouse suspicion. Leave all the rest to me”. From this, we can see that Lady Macbeth is the one in control of the situation/ planning. We can also see that she's more intelligent as a whole than some would consider a woman being at the time in period.

Well, one of the reasons that Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play/ story is because of the one question I always ponder on.... Mostly because I love my Sci-Fi. The question being, “If the three witches had not told Macbeth he would one day be king, would it still be his future or would it never happen?”. I feel that it wouldn't happen and so I've always blamed the witches for everything that happens after they first meet Macbeth (Which, of course, happens at the beginning of the story). That should probably mean that I didn't think Lady Macbeth was responsible for King Duncan's death. But on the other hand, if it was Macbeth's fate to become king, regardless or not he met the witches, then yes, Lady Macbeth would definitely have the largest role in King Duncan's death.

However, I find that even though I believe the entire tragedy of the story was the witches' fault for telling Macbeth, I do believe that Lady Macbeth was responsible for King Duncan's death since Macbeth could've still said no to killing Duncan and the witches never actually said how Macbeth would become Thane of Cawdor (Of course, he became this naturally) or king, which Macbeth took by force.

So, yes, I do believe that Lady Macbeth was largely responsible for Duncan's death, even with my theory on the witches and the fact that I stand by the belief that you don't blame others when you do something wrong. At the end of the day, it was Macbeth that had held the knife to King Duncan and he's the one that plunged the knife into the king.

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