Compare and Constrast Essay on Lady Macbeth

This essay has a total of 1291 words and 7 pages.

Lady Macbeth

Term Paper On Lady Macbeth

William Shakespeare created a dynamic character called lady Macbeth; she was the total
opposite of what women of the Shakespearian era were supposed to be. Despite qualities
women were supposed to have in Shakespeare's time, Lady Macbeth defied the way most women
of her time acted. Lady Macbeth defied the ways of women of her time by being
manipulative, ambitious, and ruthless.

Women's lifestyles back in Shakespeare's time period was very different from the modern
day women's lifestyles of today. The characteristics for women of that time was that women
should be uneducated, should follow chastity, take care of the home and should not join a
profession or get a job. Most women were denied the chance to be schooled beyond the
basics of simple reading and very little writing. Some women of the upper class were
schooled but they were not looked upon as educated women but were instead welcomed to the
company of men. Women would not be able to enter professions because of the lack of
education and the fact that they were women. For the poor women their work was spinning
and weaving. The best job that they could get was to be an overworked nurse. The only real
profession that women at this time could get into was marriage. In marriage women were
expected to only take care of the home and anything that would benefit the home. When
entering marriage women were further endorsed by the law. The law said that when entering
marriage women became property of the men and all their belongings were the mans property
now and the man could do whatever he wanted with these belongings such as selling them. A
woman was generally fail and soft, which proved their overall weakness. A good woman of
that time was supposed to be practice obedience, patience, chastity, modesty, and virtue.
Women who didn't live up to these expectations were considered to be "bad women". During
their free time Elizabethan women would sing, dance, and write letters. (Papp and

Lady Macbeth defied many if not all the ways of women of the time period. She was very
ambitious in achieving her goals. Lady Macbeth took charge in the murder of Duncan.
Macbeth was in shock when he killed Duncan and Lady Macbeth said to Macbeth:

My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white. [Knocking within.] I hear knocking
At the south entry: —retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy is it then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended. — [Knocking within.] Hark, more
knocking: Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
And show us to be watchers: —be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.
(II, i, 146-155).
Their nerves are raw, every noise seems like an explosion to them. Starring at his bloody
hands, Macbeth at last recognizes that the murder is no longer an abstract idea but an
accomplished fact. This one act transforms Macbeth horribly because of Lady Macbeth's
ambitious ways. Yet Macbeth soon becomes accustomed to his new identity and killing
doesn't mean that much to him any more because he has already "murdered" sleep. (Epstain)

Shakespeare uses symbolism to convey a message in the statement made by Lady Macbeth. The
blood represents a sign on what Macbeth did to Duncan and he can't get rid of the blood
and he keeps on seeing the blood. Lady Macbeth doesn't really care about the entire
killing and she just says that only water will clear them of what he just did. Macbeth
insists that he murdered sleep along with Duncan and Lady Macbeth has no problem going to
sleep at night. Lady Macbeth persuaded Macbeth to kill Duncan in order to fulfill her own
ambitious ways because she wanted to be the queen. Lady Macbeth "…(is) but a victim of a
pathological mental dissociation arising upon an unstable, day dreaming basis, and is due
to the emotional shocks of her past experiences. Lady Macbeth is a typical case of
hysteria; her ambition is merely a sublimation of a repressed sexual impulse, the desire
for a child based upon the memory of a child long since dead."(Coriat) Lady Macbeth is
very ambitious but only because of an unnatural urge caused by hysteria.

Lady Macbeth also shows that she is ruthless, cold hearted and vicious. Lady Macbeth shows
that she is very vicious throughout the play. In act I scene V William Shakespeares' Lady
Macbeth tells Macbeth to "look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent
under't."(Macbeth, 71-72) This shows how sneaky and vicious Lady Macbeth really is to
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