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Lady Macbeth’s Unsex Me Soliloquy Analysis
In 1.5. 36-53 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth delivers a sullen soliloquy which expresses her ambitious yet murderous thoughts, invoking dark spirits to, first, change and destroy her feminine nature, second, to let her feel no fear or guilt upon doing wicked acts such as murder, and then, third, to cover all of her vile and vicious crimes. By doing so, Lady Macbeth vividly reveals to the audience her dark, destructive, and true nature.
From lines 36-42, Lady Macbeth expresses her desires to erase her femininity, conjuring dark forces to “unsex her and fill [her] from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty” (40-42).
Not wanting to be a female with a heart filled with love, kindness, and pity, Lady Macbeth would rather strip off all of her femininity along with these pure feelings, and acquire a vile and vicious nature which will not allow her to hesitate when carrying out devilish deeds, such as murder.
Secondly, upon hearing about the witches’ prophecy about Macbeth’s future, Lady Macbeth already showed intentions of killing the king, and therefore summons evil spirits to “Make thick [her] blood”. By making thick her blood, it will obstruct the passage for fear, guilt, or remorse, and would allow her to perform destructive and evil acts without those natural emotions in mind.
Additionally, Lady Macbeth calls to murd’ring ministers (48) to “Take [her] milk for gall”, which expresses her thoughts about wanting to take away her kindness and substitute if for bitterness, and too remove all the purity in her, allowing her to become a murderous and evil being.
Lastly, Lady Macbeth pleads the spirits and demons to hide her vicious crime she will commit in the future by covering it up with pure darkness: 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 dark
Although Lady Macbeth truly wants to murder the king, she does not want her crimes to be revealed. By covering her evilness with darkness, her knife which murders will not see what evil deed it has done, and heaven will not be able to even glance at the crime she’ll have committed, which will allow Lady Macbeth to murder the King with no fears or worries about being caught. In conclusion, as Lady Macbeth calls to evil spirits to take away her femininity, to feel no remorse or guilt after performing the deeds of evil, and finally to cover her murderous action with darkness, she reveals to the audience her that she is willing to do anything to get what she wants, which let us conclude that Lady Macbeth is an ambitious and fearless character with a mind full of corruption, destruction, and darkness.
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