In "Macbeth", what are some specfic changes that take place in Lady Macbeth in Acts I and V?  How are these changes important to the play?

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susanr2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I Scene VII Lady Macbeth becomes much stronger than a traditional "Lady" would have been. She not only speaks her mind to her husband freely and openly, she even goes so far as to encourage him to commit murder. She tells Macbeth she would rather take her nursing baby and dash its brains out against a wall than to go back on her word, implying that he is going back on his word to her if he won't kill Duncan. This is important to the the plot in that Macbeth is reconsidering his plans to kill Duncan. He (Macbeth) may even have changed his mind completely except for Lady Macbeth pushing him into carrying out the murder. Obviously this is an important step in the plot when Duncan is killed.

This leads to Act V. By now Lady Macbeth sees the results of her actions. First, the king has been killed and her husband taken his place. Also other men's lives have been vanquished in the wake of this couple's greed for power. Lately however, this has not brought the peace and honor Lady Macbeth expected. Rather it torments her in her sleep. The scene opens with the Doctor and a Lady-in-waiting observing Lady Macbeth as she goes for one of her "night wanderings". This is where she makes her famous "Out, damn spot! out, I say!" quote representing her guilty feelings. This is the beginning of the end for our tragic friend Macbeth. We know in the end he loses it all. The first thing to go it seems, is the sanity of his wife.