In Act 1 Scene 5 we learn many things about Lady Macbeth’s personality, most of which are strange in their own different way. For most of this scene Lady Macbeth is alone in a room, first reading a letter then speaking in soliloquy. In her first monologue she is basically saying that her husband, Macbeth, is not strong enough inside to murder King Duncan. She states:
“… I do fear thy nature, / It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness …’
This means that he is too full of loyalty and kindness inside.
The milk that he got from his mother’s breast is still inside of him and he is not a man but rather a woman. Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth should stay in a low profile position while she plans out the murder herself, he should ‘… look like th’innocent flower’ meaning that he should stay innocent until he commits the immoral act to make him become king. Throughout the scene she keeps referring to the fact that Macbeth is too fearful to perform the crime.
‘…thou dost fear to do,’ the murder is what Lady Macbeth is saying. She is not confident that Macbeth can kill the King Duncan.
Lady Macbeth is taken aback by the news that Duncan is coming. She has no time to prepare. After the attendant has gone, she speaks a chilling soliloquy, in which she anticipates the ‘fatal entrance of Duncan’ and calls upon the spirits to take away any trace of womanly pity that might prevent her from committing the murder. She is saying her thoughts aloud to the audience. She wants to gain masculinity and lose her gentle feminine body. She wants the ‘spirits’ to ‘unsex’ her and ‘make thick her blood’. All of these short word phrases are disturbing, unsettling and are very unfeminine. She wants to become wicked and evil. She wants courage to be injected into her in the form of making her blood thicker so that she also has the guts to plan King Duncan’s murder.
She asks the spirits: ‘..take my milk for gall…’ meaning that she wants to be filled with poison instead of feminine milk. She wants to become witch like and I think that is what Shakespeare is trying to put across to the audience that she might be a witch. This also refers back to the first scene when Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches for the first time. Lady Macbeth wants the ‘thick night’ to come as this is when the acts are most likely to occur, as spirits and wickedness is supposed to happen at nightime. In the RSC Video Version (1978) of this scene Judi Dench (Lady Macbeth) is dressed in a black costume. All of her body is covered, including her hair showing a sense of eeriness and abnormal spirits.
When Macbeth arrives to tell Lady Macbeth that Duncan is coming to stay that night but is going to leave the next day, Lady Macbeth states that King Duncan will not see another day’s sun. She already has plans. She tells Macbeth to deceive their guest and for him to conceal his inner thoughts. She says that people can tell his mind through his face, ‘… as a book…’.
She tells him to be the innocent flower but to be more than the poisonous serpent that lies hidden beneath. She wants Macbeth to become better at deceiving people and he has to do this to achieve their ambitions. This part of the scene is passionate as shown by the same RSC version (1978). Lady Macbeth uses her sexuality to manipulate Macbeth into listening to her and obeying her. She flowers him with loving kisses as she says ‘Leave all the rest to me.’
In this scene we find out many disturbing things about Lady Macbeth’s personality, she wants to become more of a man and we see how she controls Macbeth so easily. She is ruthless in pursuing her aim of murdering Duncan and will not allow anything to get in her way. She has the whole murder process planned out in her head and is waiting for the right moment in the King’s stay to commit the murder.
Cite this page
What do we learn about Lady Macbeth's personality in Act 1 Scene 5?. (2017, Oct 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-do-we-learn-about-lady-macbeths-personality-in-act-1-scene-5-essay