13th March 2017

Macbeth – Metaphor Paragraph

“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 the access and passage to remorse…”

Statement: Lady Macbeth often uses elaborate metaphors to portray her ideas.

Example: When willing herself to muster up the courage to kill King Duncan she utters: “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 the access and passage to remorse…”

Explanation:

The Playwright, Shakespeare, translated his ideas through Lady Macbeth, ideas that acknowledge the handicap women have in life. He expressed his thoughts on sexism by using Lady Macbeth as his voice. To write a woman as a main character, one who has power over men, is rare even in this day and age and shows that the author has respect for women; he believes they have more substance to offer than just being in the position of a man’s wife allows.

Lady Macbeth shows that she believes she has authority by ordering the spirits to “unsex her.” The use of this phrase demonstrates the sexism alive in the playwright’s time, that a woman could never be strong enough to kill a man, could never have enough access to courage to take control over anything. Lady Macbeth knows that she must think like a man to perform an act of murder, she must remove all feminist qualities and eliminate guilt or remorse from her sub-conscious mind. Through this, we understand how badly she wants for Macbeth to become King and as a female during the author’s era her ability to speak her mind with absolute confidence, and with no doubts or influence from a man, would be shocking to audiences.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. This is a nicely executed explanation of Lady Macbeth’s intentions and how the audience might have responded to them.

    Some areas to consider developing: 1) When analysing literary texts, it’s a good idea to refer to the creator of the language as the author or playwright. So in this case it’s Shakespeare who is “presenting his ideas” though the character of Lady Macbeth.

    You an then talk about what she says and ‘thinks’ because you’ve made it clear that you know she’s a dramatic construct rather than an actual person. Thinking this way will help you to explore the language choices even further as it will highlight how carefully thought through a lot of these are. To add more analysis, why do you think Shakespeare chose to speak in terms of fluids? I think it might be because women are typically associated with milk and kindness. Also I wonder if the fact that women tend to kill by poisoning has anything to do with it?

    CW

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