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How Shakespeare uses crafting techniques to retain sympathy for MacBeth and Lady MacBeth

Uploaded by lilmisslaura on Jan 25, 2002

Subtle sympathy is retained for MacBeth and in some cases Lady MacBeth is through the use of a variety of crafting techniques including imagery, character contrasts, differing points of view and foreshadowing.

Blood is the most used form of imagery. The blood represents the human conscience, life, death and to remind MacBeth and Lady MacBeth of what they have done. After Duncan has been killed and MacBeth and Lady MacBeth have blood all over their hands, MacBeth is starting to feel guilt settle upon him but Lady MacBeth believes that washing the blood away will be the last time they will think about the murder:

“A little water clears us of this deed.” (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 67)

However, MacBeth stills feels guilt, regret and remorse but Lady MacBeth scolds him for acting like he still has blood on his hands. At this point MacBeth still has a conscience and is aware his crime but Lady MacBeth won’t let him feel guilty; she is devoid of human emotion.

Retaining sympathy for MacBeth can also be demonstrated by contrasting the characters of Lady MacBeth and the witches. At the beginning of the play when MacBeth and Banquo first meet the witches, they deliver the first set of prophecies (Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 48-50), the witches start action and tell the audience and the characters what is going to happen. They foretell what is going to happen, the witches do not comment on how he is going to get to be King. MacBeth thinks the title is just going to fall into his lap:

“If chance will have me King, why, chance
may crown me,
Without my stir.”
(Act 1, Scene 3, Line 144)

However, Duncan names his first son, Malcolm as heir. MacBeth is angry and he starts to think murderous thoughts he doesn’t want to think about. But Lady MacBeth begins forming ideas and we see her ambition and greed. Her soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 5 shows how cruel and focussed Lady MacBeth is to get MacBeth to the throne as quickly as possible. She believes that MacBeth has too much ‘goodness’ in him to get the throne quickly without her influence:

“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promis’d. Yet I do fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness...

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Uploaded by:   lilmisslaura

Date:   01/25/2002

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   4 pages (904 words)

Views:   2489

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