Act I – Scene.v
This scene is set at Macbeth’s castle in Inverness
where Lady Macbeth reads a letter received from her husband concerning his meeting with the witches.
She is instantly aware of the importance of the predictions made by the sisters, and as the King will be paying a royal visit soon, this will give them the opportunity to hasten the prophecy. She is clearly the driving force of the marriage and she describes her husband as weak, having “the milk of human kindness”.
When Macbeth returns, she makes her plans clear to him.
Lady Macbeth is the strongest female character in all
of Shakespeare’s works.
In order to emphasize this, Shakespeare introduces this character to the
audience by having her on the stage alone.
There is no doubt in this person’s mind what is required. She is quite prepared to be tempted by the devil, and she will drive her husband to commit evil. She is like the fourth sister, being a tool of fate. She knows that she has to push her husband in order for him to achieve greatness. She more than makes up for Macbeth’s weakness and realizes that she must “pour my spirits in thine ear”. Shakespearean audiences will immediately be able to relate to ‘Hamlet, an earlier play, where King Hamlet is poisoned by Claudius pouring poison into his ear. This is a very significant line of the play, which is becoming increasingly darker scene by scene. This is emphasized by delving deep into the character of Lady Macbeth, which is summed up with the following quotation - “Under my battlements, 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”
Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to take away her femininity, to thicken her blood and take away from
her the ability to weep. She asks for these evil spirits to suckle her and for the night to hide her actions in a blanket of darkness. This is so that if heaven cries to her to hold, she will not hear it.