Throughout the play Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as a strong willed, manipulative and power-hungry woman. He uses emotive language, sentence structure, dramatic irony and the manipulation of Macbeth to construct a clear audience interpretation of Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth uses emotive language in Act 2 Scene 2 to try to manipulate Macbeth’s character into a more brutal one. The line “My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white” tells us a lot about Lady Macbeth and her manipulation of Macbeth. The first part of the quote is her scolding Macbeth for having to put the dagger with the guards and therefore getting blood on her hands. The second part is saying that she is willing to act ruthlessly to get what they want. This quote is trying shows Lady Macbeth manipulating Macbeth because she is saying that even a woman is ready to do what is needed and she says she would be ashamed to have such a kind heart. This interpretation can be made by looking at the words ‘shame’ and ‘white’. The connotations of white would be holy, bright, kind and caring.
At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 2 whilst Lady Macbeth was alone she uses inspiring language to show her excitement and pleasure from the murder of Duncan. She uses words like ‘bold’ and ‘fire’ during her first two lines of the scene. The connotations of these words within the context would imply that someone was receiving internal strength, motivation and courage. This would give the audience the understanding that Lady Macbeth is enjoying and relishing the murder of Duncan.
Shakespeare also uses sentence structure to construct our understanding of Lady Macbeth and her relationship with Macbeth. “Lady Macbeth: I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak? Macbeth: when? Lady Macbeth: Now. Macbeth: As I descended? Lady Macbeth: Ay. Macbeth: Hark! Who lies i’ the second chamber? Lady Macbeth: Donalbain. Macbeth: This is a sorry sight.” During this dialog Macbeth and Lady Macbeth share almost all of their lines implying that this speech is very fast. This shows that the atmosphere is tense and that even Lady Macbeth is starting to become worried about the success of their plan to kill Duncan. This just emphasises Lady Macbeth’s hunger for power. However Macbeth is still asking all of the question and Lady Macbeth is answering in a calm and composed way. I think Shakespeare wrote this section in this way to emphasise Lady Macbeth’s determination to gain power.
An other example of Lady Macbeth’s manipulation of Macbeth is when she uses short and direct lines like “A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.” and “Consider it not so deeply.” to calm down Macbeth after the murder. I think she uses short lines to allow Macbeth to get his feelings of his chest but also to patronise him into thinking he is over reacting to what happened. This is an obvious example of Lady Macbeth manipulating Macbeth. I think Shakespeare uses these simple lines to really underline Lady Macbeth’s superiority over Macbeth.
The one thing that Shakespeare is constantly reinforcing is the power balance between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. “Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers” This quote said by Lady Macbeth is a clear demonstration of Lady Macbeth’s power and dominance over Macbeth. This is because she is calling Macbeth a coward by saying “Infirm of purpose!” and that is very insulting coming from a woman in the Jacobean Era as they were seen as the lower sex and were generaly given less rights then men. She is also asking him to hand over the daggers to go and put them with the guards. This would usually be the job of a man as they would not let a woman get her hands wet with blood. Lady Macbeth debating Macbeth’s manlyhood would make Macbeth feel like he is weak and that he needs to be more of a man. This also shows Lady Macbeth’s manipulation because she is making Macbeth feel weak.
To conclude, Lady Macbeth is presented to the audience as a power hungry and manipulative person using dramatic irony, emotive language and sentence structure. I think these techniques are very effective as I have a clear and broad interpretation of Lady Macbeth’s character.