Throughout “Macbeth”, the character of Lady Macbeth changes very dramatically. She is presented to the audience as power hungry and to an extent manipulative at the beginning to the play and by the end is almost unrecognisable by the audience due to the extensive change in her mental state. During her planning phase for the murdering of Duncan, Lady Macbeth’s authoritative behaviour towards Macbeth’s second thoughts of undergoing such an act would have been very alien to the Jacobean audience who would have been accustomed to the female of the house being inferior to the male as they were a highly patriarchal society. However, she was a woman who did not think twice about plotting to kill the King of Scotland. Once Macbeth had done the “dirty deed”, Lady Macbeth’s character, previously compelled as evil and controlling, begins to dismantle and her connection with both sanity and the “spirits” are broken. She become extremely scared, more insane than at the beginning of the play and towards the end, the audience are told she commits suicide. Different people who portrayed her character with different emotions had played the role and character of Lady Macbeth. She has been notably played as being insane, manipulative, devious or dictatorial. While Lady Macbeth is conveyed with radical personal changes, her relationship at the start of the play with Macbeth is one with strong ties and mutual respect; this is exemplified through the letter that Lady Macbeth receives from Macbeth in which he referred to her as “My dearest partner in greatness”. This could be the audiences’ first interaction with Shakespeare’s confusing play that almost ‘manipulates’ the audience into thinking one thing and performing another; an example to show this are the attitudes of the Macbeth’s with Macbeth himself being a strong, good-willed soldier progressively turning into the monster that Lady Macbeth begins as and progressively becomes insane by the end, so-much-so she commits suicide.
Lady Macbeth’s evil character is first compelled to the audience during Act I, Scene V. This scene opens with her reading a letter sent to her by her husband in which its contents are full of thoughts and accounts of the meeting he had earlier with the witches. She begins by explaining about how Macbeth now has a goal, (to be king). Understandably, Lady Macbeth would like the contents of the letter to ensue; there is no question about the fact that that she would be willing to help Macbeth undergo whatever it takes for this to happen. From this, Lady Macbeth comprehends the fact that for it him to become King, Macbeth would have to kill the currently reigning King Duncan.
Straight after this, she is already undergoing the plotting phase of King Duncan’s murder with the spirits. The audience immediately, through her theatrical portrayal, that she is much stronger, more devious and more outgoing than her husband and she seems to be fully aware of this and knows that she will have to entice Macbeth into committing murder with becoming king as the result. During Act 1, Scene V, Lady Macbeth tells the ghostly spirits to “unsex me here”. This shows us that she knows that Macbeth is not man enough to successfully carry through with the act so almost requests for the spirits to remove her femininity so that she would be able to carry out the murder herself; this further exemplifies Lady Macbeth’s seriousness towards Duncan’s murder. This comparison between gender and power is very important to Lady Macbeth’s character as her husband implies that she is almost a masculine soul that is inhabiting a woman’s body, which seems to link perfectly with Lady Macbeth’s unusual masculinity and her ambition with violence. Through her example, Shakespeare implies that women are able to be as cruel as men, but due to social inequalities, during that era, they are unable to pursue what they feel. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband perfectly by suspending his objections; when Macbeth hesitates to the go through with original plan for the murder, she confronts and questions his manhood which at the beginning of the play, the audience is shown during his fierce and noble battle.
During the beginning of this Scene, Lady Macbeth’s undertone is not being able to help her plan become within reach of Macbeth and to get him to agree. Shakespeare uses a soliloquy here to emphasise and create more drama around her intent for the murder of Duncan. This also shows the reader that going ahead with this is of great importance to her; it gives the audience a direct encounter with the character as if it is them who she is talking and opening her emotions to