This would have intrigued both Elizabethan audience as well as today; all though she wants to be apart of evil spirits and kill someone who in Elizabethan times would have been chosen from God, which would be a sin above all sins, not only to kill, not only to trust the witches but to kill somebody appointed from God would be blasphemy. But she would still have emotion showing that she is still human. After this soliloquy I want fog to immerse her to represent the evil that is folding around her and I want the lights to go out.
When the lights come back on I want her to be in perfect condition, like it had never had happened. This is when Macbeth will enter. In this first section of the play there are certain words I need the actress to put extra emphasis on. We know that Lady Macbeth is controlling, evil, power-hungry, and a temptress. This is why during this scene I want her to say “Thus thou must do, if thou have it” hissing the words, and grinning slightly to herself. This represents how she is plotting her evil ways to kill Duncan.
Also when she says “bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower But be the serpent under ‘t” I want her to have one hand on Macbeth’s face tracing over it and another hand around his waist, very close into him. I want her to make serpent loud and very clear for it is very important. Elizabethans are very religious as noted before, but the serpent is a representation of the serpent in Adam and Eve. Where it deceives Eve and makes her eat the apple. Elizabethans would be fearful of snakes and they would have dark and evil aspects associated with this animal.
Which is why their must be great emphasis on it. I do this to emphasize her control over Macbeth, by touching him and to show him how to manipulate his face, but also how she uses her sexuality to make him do so. Lady Macbeth has the last words in this scene, this shows her power over Macbeth and how she is the one leading. Now Shakespeare tends to keep the last lines a rhyming couplet to summarize the scene. This one though does not fit this pattern, it ends with “Leave all the rest to me. ” This is to emphasize that Lady Macbeth is going to be the one to kill Duncan.
This sentence is very important for she also cuts off when Macbeth says “We will speak further,” this shows how Lady Macbeth is controlling Macbeth; she is giving him no choice. This relationship bond would have also intrigued Elizabethans at this time. Not only was she condemning herself to eternal damnation she also was being the man in a relationship. Woman Elizabethans would have been thought to just smile and give men children, while cooking and cleaning. Lady Macbeth defies this view on woman, for she controls her husband and tells him exactly what to do.
While in today’s society this would be almost considered normal that she had some power in the relationship. Later on in the play we see a gradual change in Lady Macbeth. The scene where I feel there is the most contradictory to what we first see of her is in act 5 scene One. In this scene we see Lady Macbeth’s mental state be torn and how she goes into madness. She is sleep walking, and dreaming of the murder of Duncan. Before Lady Macbeth even enters the stage, she is already being talked about behind her back, by people who had once been a lower status then her.
This immediately shows Lady Macbeth has lost her status, and control. When Lady Macbeth enters the room, she is holding a candle. This is very significant because it shows how Lady Macbeth is afraid of the dark, and in this case the dark is associated with evil. For this reason I want Lady Macbeth to be holding the candle very close to her bosom and protecting it from the wind or any draft. She must seem very close to it and must not let it out of her sight. When she says “Hell is murky” I want her to say it extremely slowly with her eyes closed and her face in pain while her hands wrapped around herself.
I pay close attention to this because it now shows how Lady Macbeth who once did not care of hell, is now scared of it. I want her hands wrapped around her for this particular sentence to show how she is alone and vulnerable as well as her eyes closed. This further proves that she does have a conscience. This scene is very significant to the audience to see such a change in Lady Macbeth. I would need Lady Macbeth to not look at anyone straight in the eyes; she would have to seem in another world. For she is, she is dreaming.
Her hair would probably be tousled to further indicate her inability to keep up with reality, slowing falling into her own little world. We see her trying to rub the blood off her hands (which in reality is not there), we know this for the gentlewoman says “washing her hands; I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour” and Lady Macbeth says “Yet here’s a spot”. By spot Lady Macbeth refers to Duncan’s blood on her hands and in her mind she cannot get it off, it’s a stain on her conscience. Her conscience is controlling her, doing exactly what she didn’t want to happen in the first place.
She wanted control; she wanted to be able to do this without caring about the death of men yet she goes into madness from doing it. This part is also in straight relation to when Macbeth killed Duncan, for he had said that there was blood on his hands, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? ” But at that point of time Lady Macbeth had taken it literally, and told him to wash his hands, “A little water clears us of this deed;”. While now she now see’s how it never goes away no matter how much she scrubs. Lady Macbeth feels as if she is a murderer and what she has done cannot be undone.
But also to this self hatred and regret she also believes she has made a monster as well. She says “Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now? ” Shakespeare draws immediate attention to this sentence for it’s a rhyme. Shakespeare is emphasizing how Lady Macbeth knows Macbeth killed her, and that this killing had also helped with the tearing of her conscience. She feels that she created this beast and that it is her fault that the wife of the thane of fife is dead. I want her to say these words shaking her head and crying, to show how much that this one death has affected her more because she did not want her to die.
During this scene Lady Macbeth now speaks in prose. This shows how Lady Macbeth has a loss of control and status. It is also very highly punctuated this forces the actress to speak in a broken fashion, which reflects Lady Macbeth’s state of mind. I want the actress to embrace this and speak with lots of different paces and pitches. I don’t want her to speak with anything flowing, every word should b disjointed almost, especially when she repeats what she said in the earlier scenes such as “Fie, my lord – fie! A soldier and afeard” and also “Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
Oh! Oh! Oh! “, which related to what Macbeth had said before “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incardine, Making the green one red. ” I perceive this as a very sad scene. The Doctor’s last words in the scene make us pity Lady Macbeth. Elizabethans would have seen Lady Macbeth almost as a devil, today even we would have seen Lady Macbeth particularly evil, but in this scene this perception of her transforms into pity and sorrow for her. We see her being tortured by her wrong doing.
The Doctor says “Still keep eyes upon her”, he talking about God to take care of her and to forgive her of her wrong doing and make her soul at peace. The Doctor knows what she has done, for Lady Macbeth in her dream state is spilling the murder. Even with this he asks for God to look down upon her and protect her from herself. These lines he speaks would have to be much emphasized with a lot of sadness in his tone of voice. Perhaps after his lines Lady Macbeth could drop to her knees and start frantically rubbing her hands with desperation to further make the audience have a touch of heart for Lady Macbeth.
All though I think today’s audience might only slightly pity Lady Macbeth, while in Elizabethan’s times not at all. Elizabethan’s would be glad that Lady Macbeth is in pain and is suffering from her wrong doing, and they would of thought that if you do evil, God will punish you.