Lady Macbeth
Character Analysis by Bailey Hughes
Characters
What are characters?
• Characters are the people responsible for the thoughts and actions within
a story, poem or literature.
• Characters are the medium through which we are able to interact with a
piece of literature.
What role do characters
play in literature?
• It is the work of an author, to create a persona that assists us in forming a
plot or creating a mood.
Gender Stereotypes
Women
• Females are stereotyped to be very nurturing, gentle and caring.
• Women are stereotyped as the inferior race, being more weak and
cowardly.
• Common feminine traits include dependent, emotional, sensitive and
passive.
Men
• Males are stereotyped as very independent and strong.
• Typically, men are meant to be very logical, aggressive and courageous,
conveyed as much more stable than females.
Shakespeare's subversions of Stereotypes
Lady Macbeth
Shakespeare conveys Lady Macbeth in contrast to Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is primarily conveyed as;
• Insensitive, unemotional, aggressive and strong.
→ “I would while it smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from
his boneless gum, and dashed the brains out.”
Finally, Lady Macbeth is conveyed as an emotional, sensitive and passive
character.
→“Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desires is got without content;
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
Relationships with Macbeth
Primarily
• Lady Macbeth is the dominant partner.
• She is very insensitive, aggressive and questions Macbeths manhood.
• Lady Macbeth pressures Macbeth into being more courageous, she
contrasts the stereotypical female.
→ “But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.”
Ultimately
• Lady Macbeth is very passive. She is guilt stricken and represents female
stereotypes.
• Macbeth is aggressive and insensitive, he dominates Lady Macbeth.
• Macbeth conveys the normal male stereotypes.
Relationships with herself
Primarily
• Lady Macbeth challenges her stereotypes. She is very aggressive and
insensitive.
• Lady Macbeth becomes driven by her need for power. She manipulates
herself into becoming an unemotional female, being courageous and
being insensitive.
→ “unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of
direst cruelty”
Relationships with herself
Ultimately
• Lady Macbeth returns to being conveyed as a stereotypical woman.
• Her guilt of organizing Duncan's murder influences her.
• Lady Macbeth gets paranoid and sees blood on her hands, she is
overwhelmed by guilt and becomes emotional and very sensitive.
• Commits suicide.
→ “Nought's had, all's spent,
Where our desire is got without content;
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
Potential Essay Questions
• This presentation would be useful in understanding the character of
Lady Macbeth and Shakespeare’s subversions of gender stereotypes.
• Discourses  discuss a gendered discourse
• Analysis of a character within a text  discuss Lady Macbeth
• Character construction within a text
• Feminist Discourses
References and Quotes
.
References
• http://nfs.sparknotes.com/macbeth/page_96.html
• http://nfs.sparknotes.com/macbeth/page_180.html
• http://www.shakespearenavigators.com/macbeth/quotesmacbeth.html
• http://www2.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/general/glossar
y.htm#c
Quotes
→ “I would while it smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his
boneless gum, and dashed the brains out.” (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 56)
→ “Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desires is got without content;
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Line 4)
→ “But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.” (Act 1, Scene 7)
→ “unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst
cruelty” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 38)
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Lady Macbeth Character Analysis by Bailey Hughes