The Wistful Tale of Macbeth
By: Laurana Mitchell
Who is at Fault?
The Lady's to Blame
Literary Terms in Macbeth
"Look Like The Flower.... Be The Serpent"
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue; look like th' innocent
But be the serpent under't" (1.5.73-78).
Lady Macbeth says this trying to convince her husband that she knows what she is doing, hopping that it will make him more comfortable, and more willing to follow through with her plan, and murder Duncan.
"Come, You Spirits...."
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
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 murd'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!" (1.5.47-61).
In this Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to make her into the man her husband should be, because she believes he is to week, kind, and compassionate. This shows she will do what ever it takes to get what she wants even if that means destroying herself as a person. After this Lady Macbeth seems to be cold-hearted, and feel no remorse for her actions. This later leads to her sudden guilt and insanity toward the end of the play.
"Art Not Without Ambition, But Without The Illness Should Attend It"
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it" (1.5.15-20).
After reading the letter from Macbeth, Lady Macbeth immediately thinks of killing Duncan to get what she wants. She feels like the letter is a promise from her husband, but doesn't think he has the nerve to follow through with it. She believes that she will have to be man enough for both of them and begins her attempts to convince him to go with her plan. This shows her immediate dark thoughts as well as her tendency for manipulation.
Art of Manipulation
"O, proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear.
This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool" (3.4.70;73-81).
Lady Macbeth often uses insults to make her husband do what she wants. She feels that if she makes him feel weak then he will do as she asks to prove himself. In this quote, she is comparing him to an elderly woman, and saying he is not man enough to do what needs to be done.