Question: Analyse how a key event positioned you to feel strongly about a character
In literature, the portrayal of a character is often defined by their actions and key events they are involved in. These events often compel strong emotions from the reader as they enable crucial insight into a character’s personality and intention. This is particularly evident in the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Macbeth’. Lady Macbeth’s manipulation of her husband Macbeth to kill the king reveals largely on her character and motives. This ultimately compels the reader to have strong feelings toward her, early on in the play .
‘Macbeth’ is a 1606 tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Throughout the play it explores several significant themes such as choice and consequence, appearance vs reality, and the effects of manipulation. This story provoked lots of thought and elicited feelings from the reader, making it an influential text.
Firstly, the key event of planning to kill King Duncan causes the readers to feel strongly about Lady Macbeth through how it reveals her nature. This is shown by the quote “Act like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it”. Through this metaphor, Lady Macbeth is instructing Macbeth to appear welcoming and kind towards the guests in order for them not to suspect their evil plan, which will come at the detriment to the guests. She is telling Macbeth to be decieving. This highlights Lady Macbeth’s determination to get Macbeth to commit to the murder, as well as wanting to control his actions. She is instructing Macbeth to go against his natural will to be a good host to King Duncan as Macbeth wants to be genuine but Lady Macbeth is telling him to be deceiving and manipulative. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s manipulative and evil nature is revealed through this event as she is disregarding Macbeth’s morals in order to get him to kill. This also highlights the theme of appearance vs reality as they are trying to appear one way to disguise their true intentions. After this, the reader is compelled to feel a dislike towards Lady Macbeth as she is shown to be the evil guiding Macbeth to his path of corruption.
Secondly, the reader is made to feel strongly about Lady Macbeth when she uses Macbeth’s insecurities to manipulate him into killing King Duncan. This is shown through the quote “When you durst do it, then you were a man”. Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth, using Macbeth’s insecurity in his masculinity and manhood against him. She is telling Macbeth that he has to kill Duncan to prove he is a man - taking advantage of his flaws and vulnerabilities to his detriment. Because this event takes place early in the text, it holds a significant foundation for the reader’s perception of Lady Macbeth’s character. Therefore, it causes the reader to understand her evil nature and be likely to dislike her.
This is furthermore seen through an earlier quote in the text “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”. This is spoken by Lady Macbeth where she is expressing her concern that Macbeth lacks the ability to kill King Duncan as he is too moral and kind. The quote speaks strongly about Lady Macbeth’s character as it shows how she views human traits. Saying Macbeth is ‘too full’ of kindness implies that she views it as a weak trait to have and that it is Macbeth’s weakness. As this is notably due to Macbeth having hesitiations to kill a person, it emphasizes how she has an evil nature, viewing someone who doesn’t want to kill as weak. It shows her lack of humanity, that goes against natural human morals. This therefore causes the reader to be implied to have a strong dislike towards her character. This is also a pivotal moment in the play as it is the event that leads Macbeth on his path of corruption, which ultimately leads to his downfall.
In conclusion, the event of Lady Macbeth manipulating Macbeth to kill King Duncan not only impacts the play’s course but compells strong feelings about her character. The key event shows Lady Macbeth to manipulate her husband through his insecurities, overriding his natural human morals, ultimately highlighting her evil and manipulative nature and intent. This revelation of her character emphasizes how the readers perception of characters is shaped by their actions and pivotal events. This compels strong emotions. In real life, it shows how a particular moment or action where you reveal your intent, can define the way you are viewed. How despite Lady Macbeth having regrets and being guilt-ridden by the end of the play, the reader would still dislike her character for her evil nature at the beginning of the play.