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Analyse the language of Lady Macbeth's soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5?The raven himself is...

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khly | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted July 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM via web

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Analyse the language of Lady Macbeth's soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5?

The raven himself is hoarse

That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

Under my battlements. 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,

That no compunctious visitings of nature

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,

And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances

You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark

To cry “Hold, hold.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM (Answer #1)

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Like her husband, Lady Macbeth's monologue reveals her psychological need to steel her resolve before committing the heinous act of murder.  She implores the spirits to "make thick her blood" and "stop up the access and passage to remorse," so her conscience or morality will not interfere with her ambition.  Lady Macbeth's chant reinforces the theme of ambition, through her obvious willingness to call upon "spirits that tend to mortal thoughts" to lend her the strength to aid her husband in his rise to power.

The imagery of the raven croaking from the battlements foreshadows ominous thoughts and deeds, which Shakespeare connects to Lady Macbeth's evil plea for the spirits to intervene on her behalf; this idea of the spiritual world meddling in the affairs of mortals is also a recurring theme.  The compelling language of her monologue reveals the Lady to be even more driven than her husband; her language is empowered, albeit a little frantic sounding, and she is ready to embrace the darkness of her evil desires. 

Kristen Lentz

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