Character Analysis: Lady Macbeth
In Act 1 of ‘Macbeth’ By William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth is portrayed to the audience as insane, ruthless, ambitious, and possibly even more powerful than her husband, Macbeth. In Scene 5, Act 1 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth reads her famous soliloquy. This the first time the audience really get to see who she is-her purpose in the play and her ‘aspirations’ .
In this soliloquy, she reads Macbeth letter about his encounter with the weird sisters and speaks about their prophecies of him being thane of Cawdor and the king.
Lady Macbeth expresses to herself (and the audience) her worries about Macbeth. She believes he doesn’t have the ambition or courage to grasp the titles the sisters have told him. Her ambition drives her husband towards the cruel and desperate act of Duncan’s murder.
She says Macbeth is;
‘ Too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness’
She calls on the ‘spirits’ to ‘unsex’ her- to take away her femininity so she can kill Duncan. Later on, Macbeth arrives and she instructs him to leave the planning and killing in her hands.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-ful
Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood;
Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murth’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’ (1.5.38–54)