“Macbeth” by Shakespeare: Lady Macbeth Thesis Statement

In Shakespeare’s play, Lady Macbeth is revealed as an ambitious woman, overwhelmed with her desire to become a queen. She proves her strong verbal influence on her husband, who does not dare to challenge fate. Shakespeare created a vivid female character, combining a craving for villainy and the inability to survive the crime. Lady Macbeth is walking in her sleep, and her attempts to wash off the blood from her hands, as well as talking aloud are indicative of a clouding of her mind. The queen’s subsequent suicide refer to a human’s strong innate rejection of the crime she committed. Strong, courageous, capable of any act for the sake of power, Lady Macbeth by the end of the tragedy becomes a weak and sickly woman, while her husband, on the contrary, is embittered and angry. Writing a thesis statement on that character proves to be a complex task, as the statement needs to provide a comprehensive insight on Lady Macbeth, her deeds and their consequences.

When conducting a research on Lady Macbeth’s character, it is important to consider the social and historical context of the time period the play refers to. Moreover, one also has to acknowledge the basis on which Shakespeare build Macbeth ’s plot: Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland . It would be wise to do additional research on the image of the XVI century woman, and compare the character traits of Lady Macbeth’s to those reflected in the general views accepted in society. For example, Reyes and Kenny (2020) argue that “Lady Macbeth is one of these violent women whose violence defies gender roles, but this violence also simultaneously upholds traditional patriarchal modes of power” (p. 1). Thus, for a comprehensive thesis statement, it is crucial to choose a particular aspect of Lady Macbeth’s character, and make the research revolve around it, reviewing her image in different contexts.

Reyes, C., & Kenny, A. (2020). Shakespeare’s violent women: A feminist analysis of Lady Macbeth. UC Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal Submit , 14 (1). Web.

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Writing About Literature

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Writing About Literature

Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics

Post your thesis statements by March 25th, along with tentative titles and questions about essay topics. The essay prompt has been posted to Blackboard and you will also submit the final draft of your essay to Blackboard by Friday, April 3rd.

29 thoughts on “ Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics ”

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For my thesis, I would like to explore and analyze Lady Macbeth’s character and the development of her character throughout the play. I was thinking of looking into whether her development was largely influenced by Macbeth’s prophecy or if her character was the one to influence how Macbeth’s prophecy came to be. I’m having trouble wording if but I have a thesis to work from: In this essay, I will analyze Lady Macbeth’s character progression and whether or not a connection exists to Macbeth’s prophecy.

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Kyla, go for it! I think you should focus on Lady Macbeth’s monologues in Act One, Scene Five and Act Five, Scene One.

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Can I get Your thesis

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Potential thesis: Although many blame the witches and their prophecies for Macbeth’s ill fate, it is actually his own fault. If Macbeth did not believe the witches’ prophecies, he probably wouldn’t have tried to control his “fate” which ended as a tragedy.

This is a great thesis and opens a lot of pathways for interpretation. You’ll have to explain why you put “fate” in scare quotes, as it suggests that you don’t believe fate is a major factor in the play. If you can do that, you’ll likely produce a lively discussion. Look to the debate on free will between Martin Luther and Erasmus in the “Contexts” section of the Norton Critical Edition.

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I was thinking about using the idea of tyranny and masculinity for my thesis, such as other thanes or princes want to overthrow MacBeth because they felt that he was acting tyrannical. Lady MacBeth says she wants to unsex herself when she decides to kill Duncan and Malcolm tells MacDuff that he is “unknown to woman, never was forsworn” so it seems that being a man reinforces the right to kill someone. A rough thesis would be: MacBeth is right to be overthrown because he is acting tyrannical, and Malcolm will be a better king because he’s the son of King Duncan and he’s more manly than MacBeth.

Petvy, I think you’re onto something with the problem of tyranny in Macbeth. It’s not immediately clear how you could tie that in with the distortions of maculinity in the play in only four to five pages, so I’d suggest focusing on either tyranny or masculinity (or its corruption). In either case, you have to talk about why Macbeth becomes a tyrant: it has a lot to do with the ways he interprets the prophecies from the witches, who represent (along with Lady Macbeth) grotesque distortions of femininity.

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Macbeth’s actions throughout the play are an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. He believes what the witches tell him about his fate and becomes intoxicated by the possibility of achieving power, which is the reason he commits all those evil acts and pays the ultimate price for it in the end, not because he is simply fulfilling his destiny.

This is promising, Ilya! Pick two or three scenes to focus on in your reading of Macbeth’s response to the prophecies.

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Throughout the novel, there are many symbols used to depict evil. Light and darkness are amongst the most common ways to show that light is good and dark is bad. In a more analytical approach, we can see that without the light Macbeth is in the dark for too long and causes him to become blind to goodness. From the beginning, all that has been described to be dark or involved in darkness have affected Macbeth into becoming corrupt and mad, such as the ‘midnight’ witches and the absence of the candles that Lady Macbeth so persistently carried towards the end. A working thesis for me would be how the use of light and darkness ultimately affected/foreshadowed that Macbeth would become corrupted and even guilty for the actions he had taken.

Karyna, it’s important to remember that a novel is a certain genre of writing. Macbeth is a play. Jane Austen’s Emma (which we’ll read in a few weeks) is a novel.

Classifications aside, the light/dark theme in the play is a big topic with lots to think about. Can you narrow it down to certain things that happen in light versus in darkness? For instance, Macbeth worries that he’ll never be able to sleep soundly again after he murders Duncan. Is there something to be said about the imagery juxtaposing darkness with sleeplessness brought on by guilt?

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Possible Thesis:

Darkness, concerning dusk, exceeds its function as a mere setting characteristic by acting as a symbol of foreboding. Approaching darkness (nightfall) mentioned as a setting descriptor is often followed by nefarious or immoral actions, such as murder.

I am most likely going to change the topic I’m writing on. If I’m unable to fully rationalize my thoughts for the other topic I had in mind, I’ll fall back onto this original thesis.

Cory, try and find a few passages where a character describes or reacts to the darkness. I’m wondering if the Porter might be a good character to look to. Banquo’s murderers might also be worth discussing. As for major characters, there are plenty who present responses to darkness, especially in Act II. And maybe there’s a parallel between the pervasive darkness in the play and Scotland’s peripheral position in relation to England. Scotland is a grim, wild, foul-weathered place: any parallels between the setting of the play and the qualities of darkness espoused in it?

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The circumstances that surround Macbeth’s rise to power allude to an evil power. The witches were written into this play during Shakespeare’s time where hysteria took precedent. Despite Shakespeare’s time being different from Macbeth’s time, there is still an emphasis on morality and what is considered to be a ‘sinful’ act or righteous. The presence of witches and prophecies may have been used to let the audience understand the meteoric rise of Macbeth was not truly ‘good’ or ‘righteous’. The witches are shown to be malevolent, and Macbeth’s association with these otherworldly figures notions towards an unjust claim to power. These allusions to an evil power include the stress on the number 3, which is known to represent evil and unholiness. For example, there are three witches, three roles that Macbeth takes on, and three prophecies.

Sounds great, Chiara! There are some materials in the back of the Norton Critical Edition pertaining to the witches (Hecate in particular). Ian McKellen’s interview might be a good place to start.

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In this paper I will argue that Macbeth’s endless ambition overpowers fate and his destiny is brought by his own free will.

Good thesis, Jordan. Discuss the claims about predestination and free will made by Martin Luther and Erasmus. Their essays are in the supplementary materials of the Norton Critical Edition of Macbeth.

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Psychology and subjective reality are prominent themes in Macbeth; Banquo’s ghost, the floating dagger, voices, and blood spots are only imagined by Macbeth as he unravels throughout the play. Lady Macbeth’s insomnia and hand-washing shows the psychological effect the murders have had on her. In the end, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are both perpetrators of their own demise; they actively seek to fulfill Fate and in turn are plagued by their own minds.

Mary, these are great passages to focus on for your thesis. I like the insinuation you’re making here: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth try to manipulate Fate, but all they end up doing–over and over again beginning with the murder of Duncan–is speed up its process.

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This is amazing, I am doing something similar to your thesis and took some ideas from yours thank you!

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Thesis: Throughout the play, Macbeth’s actions and decisions that he’s made seem to show an underlying sense of fear that fuels them. Fear can be controlling and influential on human beings and can sometimes dictate the path of their lives, all of which can be said for the character of Macbeth. From the witches’ prophecy to the various murders he orchestrates, fear is used as a motivator within Macbeth to commit unspeakable actions and as a result, drove him into losing touch with his sense of sanity and reality, slowly becoming unhinged at the hands of fear.

Very good, Lanz! Highlight passages where a character implies or specifically mentions being afraid (or conversely, feeling courageous).

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Potential Thesis Statement: By doing the wrong thing cause of greed, power, and other influences( In this case the witches) can often lead to negative outcomes, bad results, situations to become worse, and anxiety. This is what I’m thinking about using as a thesis statement, but still a little unsure. Sorry for the late response I thought the other Macbeth post was the forumn where I was suppose to write our blog response/thesis for the Macbeth essay originally.

Tayyab, this is an interesting general statement to make in relation to the events of the play, but maybe just focus on Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s responses to the witches’ prophecies. This way, you’ll have a coupe of very specific scenes towards which you can direct your close reading. As a bonus, you don’t have to spend time and energy wondering about the moral of the story. Focus instead on what the characters say and do and how and what these words and actions mean within the world of the play. Look to the supplementary materials in the back of the Norton Critical Edition for more guidance, and let me know if you have further questions.

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My thesis will be about self perception and it’s connection to the choice that people believe they are supposed to make. In the case of MacBeth, he heard a prophecy and his self perception changed from being a thane to a king. Really late response but I couldn’t think of anything original til now.

Aiden, reorient your thesis to avoid making generalizations about “people.” Focus only on how self-perception troubles the characters in Macbeth, particularly as it pertains to what certain characters believe about fate versus free choice. Look to the essays by Luther and Erasmus on this topic for guidance.

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For my second essay I plan to move forward to investigate Lady Macbeth’s psychosis. There’s much to analyze when it comes to Lady Macbeth’s behavior and speech. However, I’m afraid I’ve chosen a topic that is too big for a four to five-page essay. Should I focus on a specific act or scene for the essay? Additionally, I’m having difficulty wording my thesis. This is what I have so far …

In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is an unconventional female character, who possesses a dangerous ambitiousness and ruthlessness to help Macbeth become King of Scotland. Her character encourages Macbeth to commit an evil act and unleashes something within hi. As more cruel murders take place, Lady Macbeth becomes unrecognizable through her anxious and erratic behavior.

I feel like I’m not really making a claim but just summarizing her character development in the play. Any suggestions or ideas are greatly welcomed!! Thank you!

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Thesis: In Macbeth, his aligned actions had played to his rise and his downfall, which only proved that determinism took control of the entirety of Macbeth’s life and the world around him. 

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thesis statement on lady macbeth

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Lady Macbeth Character Analysis

Lady Macbeth is possibly Shakespeare’s most famous and vivid female character. Everyone, whether they have read or seen the Macbeth play , has a view of her. She is generally depicted in the popular mind as the epitome of evil, and images of her appear over and over again in several cultures. She is usually portrayed in pictures as something like a Disney character, a cross between Cruella DeVille and the wicked stepmother in Snow White.

Although she has some of the most bloodthirsty lines in Shakespeare she is not quite Cruella De Ville or the wicked stepmother. The response she gets from the male characters suggests that she is a young, sexually attractive woman and, indeed, in her effort to influence Macbeth, she uses every method at her disposal, including the employment of her sexual charms.

She is usually depicted as a strong, tough woman and, in her drive to induce Macbeth to murder King Duncan, she appears to be that, but, having succeeded, it does not take long for her to crumble and break down, destroyed by guilt, and she ends up committing suicide.

Shakespeare does not have any evil characters. What he has are ordinary human beings, like you and me, placed in situations that challenge and test them. Some of them, like Iago in Othello , have personality defects, but that’s rare in Shakespeare and it’s not the case with Lady Mcbeth.

The challenges that Shakespeare presents his characters with generates different responses from different people. Lady Macbeth’s challenge is that she discovers that her husband has been tempted by an encounter with three witches to do something about their prediction that he will become king. She knows that the king would have to die for that to happen. When she gets a message that King Duncan plans to spend the night with them at Glamys Castle it seems to confirm the thought that they would have to kill him and that this was their once in a lifetime opportunity. That’s the situation into which she has been thrust.

She is as ambitious as Macbeth but she knows that for all his bravery in battle, all his soldierly and diplomatic qualities, he is basically much too soft –“too full of the milk of human kindness” – to take advantage of the opportunity. She makes up her mind to make him do it.

And she is right about his lack of resolve – they talk it over and he tells her that he just can’t do it. She goes into high gear and virtually holds his hand through it. One of her strongest qualities is persistence and she shows it here. Macbeth hesitates, equivocates and falters but she holds firm. She argues the case, she mocks him, bringing his manhood into question, she appeals to his sense of loyalty to her, she takes him to bed, and she finally prevails.

Macbeth kills Duncan in his sleep and from that moment their marriage begins to fall apart. They each fall into their own guilt-trip and hardly speak to each other. As king, Macbeth fears his political enemies and embarks on a reign of terror while Lady Macbeth stays in bed, unable to sleep, having nightmares when she does manage it. While walking and talking in her sleep she gives the game away about what they have done and sinks into a moral, physical and spiritual collapse. When Macbeth is on his last legs, with the rebels closing in, he gets the message that she’s dead. At that point, he says he doesn’t have time to think about it. “She should have died hereafter,” he says. Their partnership in this murderous enterprise has destroyed their marriage.

The promise of strength that we see in her at the beginning of the play is an illusion. What we are seeing is naked ambition and a willingness to act on it without having the resources to deal with the consequences. We see how guilt can eat up your soul and destroy you. We see how hollow ambition is, both in her journey and Macbeth’s. (Read the most  significant Macbeth ambition quotes .)

Character attributes

Some significant character attributes of Lady Macbeth are:

  • Controlling – she understands that her husband doesn’t have the savageness required to murder the king of his own accord, so she manipulates him. She plans out the murder, then takes control of events when Macbeth loses his mind.
  • Cruel – she is a violent, cold-blooded character who is happy to scheme the murder. She ridicules Macbeth when he doesn’t agree to participate in her violent plans.
  • Two-faced – she welcomes King Duncan like a friend whilst at the same time planning his murder. She also advises Macbeth to be two-faced.

Erika Sunnegårdh playing Lady Macbeth stands on stage in a blue dress holding a large axe

Erika Sunnegårdh as Lady Macbeth

Top Lady Macbeth Quotes

“I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness

( act 1, scene 5 )

“To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue; look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under’t.”
“ 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,
“Would’st thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage? “

( act 1, scene 7 )

“I have given suck, and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this.”
“ Out! damned spot! “

( act 5, scene 1 )

Read more Lady Macbeth quotes .

See All Macbeth Resources

Macbeth | Macbeth summary | Macbeth characters : Banquo , Lady Macbeth , Macbeth , Macduff , Three Witches | Macbeth settings | Modern Macbeth translation  | Macbeth full text | Macbeth PDF  |  Modern Macbeth ebook | Macbeth for kids ebooks | Macbeth quotes | Macbeth ambition quotes |  Macbeth quote translations | Macbeth monologues | Macbeth soliloquies | Macbeth movies | Macbeth themes

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Common Questions About Lady Macbeth

Is lady macbeth a true story.

Although Shakespeare used the names of real historical people in writing Hamlet, the events of the drama are mostly made up. So in that sense, Lady Macbeth is not a real character. There was an 11th-century Scottish king named Mac Bethad Mac Findlaich . Presumably, he had a wife but we know nothing about her.

What kind of character is Lady Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth is ambitious. She is manipulative and uses several techniques of a skilled manipulator to entice Macbeth into the murder of Duncan. Usually thought of as a hard, ruthless woman, she is, in reality, soft. Not long after the murder, unable to cope with her guilt, she falls apart and loses all sense of herself.

What happens to Lady Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth tries to prop her husband up as he descends into a guilt-ridden hell but she soon falls victim to the same condition. Her whole life literally becomes a nightmare, in which she relives the event that has brought her condition about. Her life becomes unbearable and she commits suicide.

Who does Lady Macbeth kill?

Lady Macbeth does not personally kill anyone. She conspires in the murder of the king, Duncan, though, and actively encourages Macbeth to kill him. It is Macbeth who does the actual killing. Lady Macbeth plays no part in the many further killings that Macbeth engineers. Soon after the killing of Duncan the two don’t even talk to each other.

What made Lady Macbeth go crazy?

Lady Macbeth is partly responsible for the kind of killing that was taboo in Mediaeval Scotland – murdering one’s king, murdering one’s relative and murdering a guest in one’s house. In killing Duncan the couple did all three. She begins to have nightmares about the murder and, in particular, the blood on her hands, which she can’t get rid of no matter how hard she scrubs. That drives her to suicide.

How does Lady Macbeth feel after the killing of Duncan?

Once Duncan is killed Lady Macbeth is pleased that her ambition to be the wife of a king has been achieved, but that feeling very soon turns sour as guilt begins to eat away at her. She then she has feelings that she can’t live with, and ends up killing herself (one of 13 suicides in Shakespeare’s plays ).

Is 2016 film Lady Macbeth based on Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth character?

No. Lady Macbeth is a 2016 British film based on Nikolai Leskov’s novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District , and starring Florence Pugh.

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thesis statement on lady macbeth

Lady Macbeth as Powerful

The essay below uses this simple structure:, an introductory paragraph to summarise an answer to the question, one paragraph about the extract, one about the rest of the play, one about context., lady macbeth:, 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”, starting with this speech, explain how far you think shakespeare presents lady macbeth as a powerful woman., write about:, how shakespeare presents lady macbeth in this speech, how shakespeare presents lady macbeth in the play as a whole., the essay below is written using a simple structure:, an introductory paragraph to summarise an answer to the question., one paragraph about the extract., one about the rest of the play., before you read the answer below, why not have a think about how you'd answer this question. i've highlighted the quotes i'd write about - do you agree or would you focus elsewhere also, which sections from the rest of the play would you focus on and what contextual factors influenced lady macbeth's presentation, most importantly, though, have a think about how you'd write that opening paragraph - answer the question in two or three simple sentences., an example answer, during the majority of the play, lady macbeth is presented as being a powerful woman who defies the expected gender stereotype of the caring, soft, gentle female. by the end of the play, however, she kills herself as she discovers that although she can order the rest of the world around, she cannot control her own guilt, right at the opening of this speech, lady macbeth makes her position known when she describes “my” battlements. the use of the possessive pronoun emphasises that she thinks of the castle walls as being her own. she follows this by calling “come you spirits.” the use of this magic spell has two effects on the audience: firstly, she is calling for dark magic to come and support her. this would have reminded the audience of the possibility that she was a witch and had all the evil powers connected with them. also, she is using an imperative here: “come you spirits.” she’s not asking them but telling them. this shows that she expects even the supernatural world to answer to her demands. one of the things she demands is that they “stop up the access and passage to remorse.” this means that lady macbeth doesn’t want to feel any regret for what she is about to do, which would make her powerful. she is no longer going to be slowed down by feelings of compassion or care in her pursuit of power. finally, she says that the spirits should “take my milk for gall.” here, she is asking that her own milk be turned to poison. this suggests that she is turning something caring and supportive into something deadly, giving her even more evil powers. also, milk is pure white and suggests innocence and purity so lady macbeth is asking that what is innocent and pure about her gets turned into something deadly. throughout this speech lady macbeth sets herself up as being someone very powerful, who is able to control even the spirits., her power continues throughout the play. lady macbeth suggests the murder and talks macbeth into it – showing that she is powerfully persuasive. she also plans the murder, showing that she is intelligent as well. she also stays calm under pressure, such as when macbeth arrives with the daggers from the murder scene but lady macbeth returns them to the scene so that they don’t get caught. she is also able to manipulate macduff when she faints in shock after they discover duncan’s body. you could easily argue that lady macbeth’s ambition was more powerful than macbeth’s, and that the murder wouldn’t have ever happened with her involvement. she is determined to become powerful and will stop at nothing to get it. at the end the play though she is caught sleepwalking, and she confesses to all that they’ve done. this is interesting, however, as while she is sleep-walking she is not in control of herself so she is not really aware of what she’s doing. it could be the case that lady macbeth herself never felt guilty, though she couldn’t hide her real feelings from her dreams. in the end, she dies. malcolm claims that she killed herself quite violently, but since it happens off-stage we cannot be sure. what is clear is that although she could push macbeth around, and trick macduff, and even order the spirits to do her bidding, she couldn’t order the blood off her own hands., shakespeare presents a very powerful female character in lady macbeth, and although this would have been quite radical for people in jacobean england there were other powerful, female role models to choose from: bloody mary or queen elizabeth are good examples. this play, however, was written for king james who had just taken the throne of england, and james was not a fan of queen elizabeth – who had killed his mother, mary queen of scots (and he might not even have been a big fan of his mum, because she married the man who killed his dad) as a result, james would have enjoyed seeing this powerful woman become such a villain and then getting punished for her crimes..

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LSU Master's Theses

The role of lady macbeth in shakespeare's macbeth: a production thesis in acting.

etd-04132005-093708

Taralyn Adele MacMullen , Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College Follow

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Document Type

The role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth was selected as a thesis project in the fall semester of 2004. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a written record of the actor’s interpretation and creation of the character through the rehearsal process. It contains five parts: an introduction, a character analysis, a daily actor’s journal, a physical score, and a conclusion.

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Recommended Citation

MacMullen, Taralyn Adele, "The role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth: a production thesis in acting" (2005). LSU Master's Theses . 2260. https://repository.lsu.edu/gradschool_theses/2260

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John Dennis

10.31390/gradschool_theses.2260

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Macbeth — How Does Shakespeare Present Lady Macbeth as Evil and Cunning

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How Does Shakespeare Present Lady Macbeth as Evil and Cunning

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Published: Feb 12, 2019

Words: 683 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

Lady Macbeth - a Manipulative Evil-doer

  • Levin, J. (2002). Lady Macbeth and the daemonologie of hysteria. Elh, 69(1), 21-55. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/30032010)
  • Munro, R. (1887). Lady Macbeth: a psychological sketch. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 21(1), 30-36. (https://philpapers.org/rec/MUNLMA)
  • Islam, M. S. (2010). Nature of Evil in Macbeth. Arts Faculty Journal, 185-194. (https://www.banglajol.info/index.php/AFJ/article/view/12940)
  • Draper, J. W. (1941). Lady Macbeth. Psychoanalytic Review, 28(4), 479-486. (https://pep-web.org/browse/document/PSAR.028.0479A)
  • Desmond, W. (2018). Sticky Evil: Macbeth and the Karma of the Equivocal. In God, literature and process thought (pp. 133-156). Routledge. (https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781351009928-10/sticky-evil-macbeth-karma-equivocal-william-desmond)

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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How Does Shakespeare Present Lady Macbeth as Evil and Cunning Essay

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thesis statement on lady macbeth

thesis statement on lady macbeth

Miss Huttlestone's GCSE English

Because a whole class of wonderful minds are better than just one!

‘Macbeth’ Grade 9 Example Response

Grade 9 – full mark – ‘Macbeth’ response

Starting with this extract (from act 1 scene 7), how does Shakespeare present the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

In Shakespeare’s eponymous tragedy ‘Macbeth’, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is a complex portrait of love, illustrating layers of utter devotion alongside overwhelming resentment. Though the couple begins the play unnaturally strong within their marriage, this seems to act as an early warning of their imminent and inevitable fall from grace, ending the play in an almost entirely different relationship than the one they began the play with.

In the exposition of the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth initially appear immensely strong within their marriage, with Macbeth describing his wife as ‘my dearest partner of greatness’ in act 1 scene 5. The emotive superlative adjective ‘dearest’ is a term of endearment, and acts as a clear depiction of how valued Lady Macbeth is by her husband. Secondly, the noun ‘partner’ creates a sense of sincere equality which, as equality within marriage would have been unusual in the Jacobean era, illustrates to a contemporary audience the positive aspects of their relationship. Furthermore the lexical choice ‘greatness’ may connote ambition, and as they are ‘partner(s)’, Shakespeare suggests that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are equal in their desire for power and control, further confirming their compatibility but potentially hinting that said compatibility will serve as the couple’s hamartia.

However, the strength of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship falls into a rapid downward spiral in the subsequent scenes, as a struggle for power within the marriage ensues. This is evidenced when Macbeth, in act 1 scene 7, uses the declarative statement ‘we will proceed no further in this business’. Here, Macbeth seems to exude masculinity, embracing his gender role and dictating both his and his wife’s decisions. The negation ‘no’ clearly indicates his alleged definitive attitude. However, Lady Macbeth refuses to accept her husband’s rule, stating ‘when you durst do it, then you were a man’. She attempts to emasculate him to see their plan through. The verb ‘durst’ illustrates the risk taking behaviour that Lady Macbeth is encouraging; implying an element of toxicity within their relationship, and her harsh speech makes the cracks in their relationship further visible to the audience. It is also probable that a contemporary audience would be made severely uncomfortable in the presence of Lady Macbeth’s unapologetic display of power, and it is possible that Shakespeare attempts to paint Lady Macbeth as the villain of the play, playing upon the audience’s pre-determined fears of feminine power. Though Lady Macbeth appears to be acting entirely out of self-interest, another reader may argue that she influences her husband so heavily to commit the heinous act of regicide, as she believes that he crown may as a substitute for the child or children that Shakespeare suggests she and Macbeth have lost previously, and in turn better Macbeth’s life and bring him to the same happiness that came with the child, except in another form.

As the play progresses, Shakespeare creates more and more distance between the characters, portraying the breakdown of their relationship as gradual within the play but rapid in the overall sense of time on stage. For example, Lady Macbeth requests a servant ‘say to the king’ Lady Macbeth ‘would attend his leisure/ for a few words’. Here she is reduced to the status of someone far lesser than the king, having to request to speak to her own husband. It could be interpreted that, now as king, Macbeth holds himself above all else, even his wife, perhaps due to the belief of the divine right of kings. The use of the title rather than his name plainly indicated the lack of closeness Lady Macbeth now feels with Macbeth and intensely emotionally separates them. This same idea is referenced as Shakespeare develops the characters to almost juxtapose each other in their experiences after the murder of Duncan. For example, Macbeth seems to be trapped in a permanent day, after ‘Macbeth does murder sleep’ and his guilt and paranoia render him unable to rest. In contrast, Lady Macbeth takes on an oppositional path, suffering sleepwalking and unable to wake from her nightmare; repeating the phrase ‘to bed. To bed’ as if trapped in a never-ending night. This illustrates to the audience the extreme transformation Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship undergoes, and how differently they end up experiencing the aftermath of regicide.

In conclusion, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth begin the play almost too comfortable within their marriage, which seems to invite the presence of chaos and tragedy into their relationship. Their moral compositions are opposing one another, which leads to the distancing and total breakdown of their once successful marriage and thus serves as a warning to the audience about the effects of murder, and what the deadly sin of greed can do to a person and a marriage.

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9 thoughts on “‘Macbeth’ Grade 9 Example Response”

wheres the context

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It is also probable that a contemporary audience would be made severely uncomfortable in the presence of Lady Macbeth’s unapologetic display of power, and it is possible that Shakespeare attempts to paint Lady Macbeth as the villain of the play, playing upon the audience’s pre-determined fears of feminine power.

Also ref to ‘divine right of kings’

Thank you! This is a brilliant response. Just what I needed. Could you also please include the extract in the question.

We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late, and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.

—> until end of scene

She did (Act 1 Scene 7)

Another great resource for grade 9 Macbeth analysis https://youtu.be/bGzLDRX71bs

In order to get a grade 9 for a piece like this would you need to include a wide range of vocabulary or could you write the same thing ‘dumbed down’ and get a 9.

If the ideas were as strong then yes, but your writing must AT LEAST be ‘clear’ for a grade 6 or above.

This is really great, I’m in Year 10 doing my Mock on Thursday, a great point that i have found (because I also take history) Is the depiction of women throughout the play, during the Elizabethan era, (before the Jacobean era) many people had a changed view of women as Queen Elizabeth was such a powerful woman, glimpses of this have been shown in Jacobean plays, in this case Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is depicted as powerful although she had to be killed of to please King James (as he was a misogynist) women are also depicted as evil in the play, such as the three witches, I also found that the Witches are in three which could be a mockery to the Holy Trinity.

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Discuss the theme of the corrupting influence of power in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth

Table of Contents

William Shakespeare’s tragic play “ Macbeth ” explores the theme of the corrupting influence of power. The play delves into the consequences of unchecked ambition and the transformation of Macbeth, the protagonist, from a noble and loyal subject to a ruthless tyrant.

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- As Macbeth gains power and authority, he succumbs to its corrupting force, leading to his downfall and the destruction of those around him. This essay will analyze the various aspects of power portrayed in the play and examine how Shakespeare illustrates the gradual corruption of Macbeth’s character through his thirst for power.

The Temptation of Ambition

From the beginning of the play, Macbeth’s ambition is aroused when he hears the prophecies of the three witches, predicting that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king. This prophecy ignites his desire for power, and the seed of corruption is planted. Macbeth’s initial hesitation to commit regicide demonstrates his moral conscience, but his wife, Lady Macbeth, manipulates him, questioning his masculinity and urging him to seize the opportunity. 

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Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- His ambition and desire for power become overpowering, and he ultimately succumbs to temptation, showing that power can corrupt even the noblest of individuals.

The Deterioration of Macbeth’s Morality

As Macbeth ascends to the throne, his actions become increasingly immoral and ruthless. His initial murder of King Duncan is a pivotal moment that marks his descent into corruption. The regicide not only establishes Macbeth’s thirst for power but also reveals his willingness to commit heinous acts to maintain it. The murder of his friend Banquo and the Macduff family further exemplify Macbeth’s moral deterioration. He becomes consumed by paranoia and fear, eliminating anyone he perceives as a threat to his reign. The corrupting influence of power has transformed Macbeth from a virtuous and honorable man into a merciless and bloodthirsty tyrant.

The Erosion of Relationships

Power not only corrupts Macbeth’s character but also erodes his relationships with others. His relationship with Lady Macbeth, initially a partnership based on mutual ambition, disintegrates as the couple descends into guilt and madness. Lady Macbeth’s guilt manifests in her sleepwalking and obsessive hand-washing, while Macbeth becomes increasingly isolated and detached from reality. Additionally, Macbeth’s tyrannical rule alienates his subjects, who turn against him, and even his most loyal allies abandon him. The corrupting influence of power not only destroys Macbeth’s moral compass but also erodes the bonds he once held dear.

The Inevitable Downfall

Despite his accumulation of power, Macbeth’s downfall is inevitable. The corrupting influence of power blinds him to the consequences of his actions and isolates him from his allies. As Macbeth faces opposition from Malcolm and Macduff, his arrogance and overconfidence lead to his demise. 

Also Read:- William Shakespeare Biography and Works

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- The witches’ prophecies, which initially fueled his ambition, prove to be misleading, and his misplaced trust in their promises contributes to his downfall. Macbeth’s final realization of the futility of his actions and the loss of everything he holds dear serves as a cautionary tale about the corrupting nature of power.

Macbeth “Summary”

Macbeth is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare around 1606. Set in Scotland, it tells the story of Macbeth, a brave and loyal general, whose ambition is ignited by supernatural forces, leading him to commit heinous acts in his quest for power and ultimately resulting in his downfall.

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- The play begins with Macbeth and his friend Banquo encountering three witches, also known as the Weird Sisters, who prophesy that Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king. Encouraged by these prophecies, Macbeth becomes consumed by his desire for power and decides to take matters into his own hands.

With the support of his ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth plots and murders King Duncan, who is a guest in their castle. Macbeth is plagued by guilt and paranoia after committing the regicide, but he is also driven to eliminate anyone who poses a threat to his position. He orders the murder of Banquo, who suspects Macbeth’s involvement in Duncan’s death, as well as Banquo’s son, Fleance.

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- As Macbeth spirals deeper into madness, he seeks guidance from the witches again, who provide him with more prophecies that further fuel his delusions. He becomes increasingly ruthless, ordering the slaughter of Macduff’s family and engaging in a final battle against the forces that oppose him.

However, Macbeth’s tyrannical reign and his reliance on the witches’ prophecies ultimately lead to his downfall. Lady Macbeth, burdened by guilt and haunted by the consequences of their actions, descends into madness and dies. Macbeth learns of her death and is filled with despair, yet he resolves to fight to the bitter end.

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- In the final battle, Macbeth faces Macduff, who was born through a cesarean section and thus fulfills the witches’ prophecy that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” However, Macduff reveals that he was “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb, making him the exception. Macduff kills Macbeth, restoring order and rightful rule to Scotland.

Macbeth serves as a cautionary tale about the corrupting influence of ambition and the consequences of unchecked power. The play explores themes of guilt, fate, and the nature of evil, showcasing Shakespeare’s profound understanding of human psychology and the destructive potential of ambition.

William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” vividly portrays the corrupting influence of power through the tragic transformation of its protagonist. Macbeth’s journey from a noble and virtuous individual to a ruthless and tyrannical ruler exemplifies the destructive nature of unchecked ambition. 

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- As Macbeth gains power, his morality deteriorates, leading him to commit heinous acts and disregard the values he once held dear. The erosion of his relationships and the isolation he experiences further emphasize the corrupting influence of power. 

Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth:- Ultimately, Macbeth’s downfall serves as a cautionary tale, reminding audiences of the consequences of succumbing to the allure of power without considering the moral implications. Shakespeare’s exploration of the theme of the corrupting influence of power in “Macbeth” continues to resonate with audiences, prompting reflection on the fragile nature of human morality and the dangers of unbridled ambition.

Q: What is the main theme of “Macbeth”?

A: The main theme of “Macbeth” is the corrupting influence of power. The play explores how unchecked ambition and the pursuit of power can lead individuals to commit immoral and destructive acts, ultimately resulting in their downfall.

Q: What are some examples of Macbeth’s corruption throughout the play?

A: Macbeth’s corruption is evident in his transformation from a loyal and honorable subject to a ruthless tyrant. Some examples of his corruption include his initial hesitation to commit regicide but ultimately succumbing to his ambition, his willingness to murder King Duncan and others to secure his position, his increasing paranoia and fear that lead to the elimination of potential threats, and his gradual detachment from morality and reality as he becomes more consumed by power.

Q: How does power affect Macbeth’s relationships?

A: Power erodes Macbeth’s relationships throughout the play. His relationship with Lady Macbeth, initially based on mutual ambition, deteriorates as guilt and madness consume them both. Macbeth’s tyrannical rule isolates him from his subjects, who turn against him, and even his loyal allies distance themselves. The corrupting influence of power not only destroys Macbeth’s moral compass but also erodes the bonds he once held dear.

Q: What is the overall message or moral of “Macbeth”?

A: The overall message of “Macbeth” is a cautionary one about the corrupting nature of unchecked ambition and the pursuit of power. The play warns against the consequences of sacrificing one’s morality and disregarding the well-being of others in the relentless pursuit of personal gain. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of human morality and the destructive path that can result from succumbing to the allure of power without ethical restraint.

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  1. Thesis statements for Macbeth by CMF

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  2. Macbeth Thesis Ideas

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  3. How Shakespeare presents the relationship between Macbeth and Lady

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  6. "Macbeth" by Shakespeare: Lady Macbeth Thesis Statement

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. "Macbeth" by Shakespeare: Lady Macbeth Thesis Statement

    Topic: Macbeth Words: 311 Pages: 1. In Shakespeare's play, Lady Macbeth is revealed as an ambitious woman, overwhelmed with her desire to become a queen. She proves her strong verbal influence on her husband, who does not dare to challenge fate. Shakespeare created a vivid female character, combining a craving for villainy and the inability ...

  2. How does Lady Macbeth's character change over time?

    1. While Macbeth, at first, wished to allow "chance" to crown him, his growing ambition fueled his desire for power. 2. Macbeth's desire to fill the robes which hung loose about him forced him to ...

  3. Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics

    29 thoughts on " Macbeth Essay Thesis Statements, Titles, and Topics ". Kyla Cortez (she/her/hers) March 24, 2020 at 11:50 am. For my thesis, I would like to explore and analyze Lady Macbeth's character and the development of her character throughout the play. I was thinking of looking into whether her development was largely influenced ...

  4. Macbeth Thesis Statement Ambition

    Macbeth's growing ambition changed him from a honorable and respected man to that of a ruthless murderer whose guilt eventually caught up with him. Another thesis statement which would speak to ...

  5. Macbeth Key Character Profile: Lady Macbeth

    Thesis statement: While Shakespeare initially presents Lady Macbeth as a powerful woman with agency over her husband and influence over others, later in the play she is shown to have lost her authority and ability to command. Shakespeare is perhaps suggesting that it is unnatural for a woman to hold such power, and that her character falls prey ...

  6. What is a good thesis for an essay on Macbeth by Shakespeare?

    For example, for an essay about Macbeth and his ambition, I might create this thesis statement: Macbeth, as the tragic hero of the play, is driven to his own demise by his tragic flaw -- ambition ...

  7. Lady Macbeth: Analysis Of Lady Macbeth's Character ️

    Lady Macbeth is possibly Shakespeare's most famous and vivid female character. Everyone, whether they have read or seen the Macbeth play, has a view of her. She is generally depicted in the popular mind as the epitome of evil, and images of her appear over and over again in several cultures. She is usually portrayed in pictures as something ...

  8. Lady Macbeth Character Analysis in Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters. When we first see her, she is already plotting Duncan's murder, and she is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband. She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder.

  9. AQA English Revision

    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!". Starting with this speech, explain how far you think Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as a powerful woman.

  10. PDF Six Macbeth' essays by Wreake Valley students

    the audience of Macbeth's statement when he was well and worried that "Blood will have blood" implying that once the murderorus journey started it would only get worse. Lady Macbeth is also a direct juxtaposition to the character of Lady Macduff which is shown when Lady Macduff talks to her children.

  11. The role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth: a production thesis

    The role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth was selected as a thesis project in the fall semester of 2004. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a written record of the actor's interpretation and creation of the character through the rehearsal process. It contains five parts: an introduction, a character analysis, a daily actor's journal, a physical score, and a conclusion.

  12. Shakespeare: Model Answers

    The introduction is in the form of a thesis statement; It includes a central argument based on my own opinions; It includes keywords from the question: "Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as a female character who changes dramatically over the course of the play" It takes a whole-text approach, referencing changes across the whole play:

  13. PDF "Turn His Sleep to Wake:" Sleeplessness in Macbeth

    Evidence that Macbeth's murder of Duncan leads to disrupted sleep beyond his own comes immediately—even before Macbeth gives his famous speech on the murder. of sleep. Macbeth reports to Lady Macbeth that after he murders the king, one of. Duncan's chamberlains "did laugh in's sleep, and one cried 'Murder!'.

  14. Macbeth Critical Essays

    I. Thesis Statement: Lady Macbeth's desire for power prompts her interest in controlling Macbeth's actions. However, she loses control which contributes to her tragedy. II.

  15. How Does Shakespeare Present Lady Macbeth as Evil and Cunning

    Thesis statement: Lady Macbeth is characterized as a masculine anti-mother and a manipulative "poisoner," all of which are common, misogynistic stereotypes of the witch. Lady Macbeth also references evil spirits and swine, both of which are traditional symbols associated with the witch.

  16. University of New Hampshire Scholars' Repository

    This Senior Honors Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Student Scholarship at University of ... This statement is ironic because Lady Macbeth is doing exactly this by masking her femininity. As a woman, she appears to be innocent on the outside, but is really the creator of the entire plan. This allows her to

  17. Macbeth

    Macbeth - Thesis Statements. Starting with this extract, write about how Shakespeare presents witchcraft and the supernatural. Write about: •how Shakespeare presents witchcraft and the supernatural in the play as a whole. Shakespeare presents witchcraft and the supernatural in the play to be the catalyst and driver of all the evil deeds that ...

  18. 'Macbeth' Grade 9 Example Response

    For example, Macbeth seems to be trapped in a permanent day, after 'Macbeth does murder sleep' and his guilt and paranoia render him unable to rest. In contrast, Lady Macbeth takes on an oppositional path, suffering sleepwalking and unable to wake from her nightmare; repeating the phrase 'to bed. To bed' as if trapped in a never-ending ...

  19. A+ Student Essay: The Significance of Equivocation in Macbeth

    A+ Student Essay: The Significance of Equivocation in Macbeth. Macbeth is a play about subterfuge and trickery. Macbeth, his wife, and the three Weird Sisters are linked in their mutual refusal to come right out and say things directly. Instead, they rely on implications, riddles, and ambiguity to evade the truth.

  20. Loyalty In Macbeth

    What is a strong thesis statement for the theme of loyalty in the play Macbeth? ... Lady Macbeth illustrates that she is a strong woman, one who wishes to be Macbeth's equal in Act 1 and 2, but ...

  21. Theme the corrupting influence of power in Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth's guilt manifests in her sleepwalking and obsessive hand-washing, while Macbeth becomes increasingly isolated and detached from reality. Additionally, Macbeth's tyrannical rule alienates his subjects, who turn against him, and even his most loyal allies abandon him. The corrupting influence of power not only destroys Macbeth ...

  22. What is the impact of ambition on the title character in Shakespeare's

    Remember, a thesis statement is the controlling idea or argument for your essay.Be sure to have: 1) the author's last name; 2) the title of the piece; 3) the concept (in your case, Ambition); 4 ...

  23. Macbeth (an undoing) theatre review

    Nicole Cooper, however, is terrific: her Lady Macbeth is funny, sensual, proud and smart and Emmanuella Cole is great as a shrewd Lady Macduff. Their performances make the case that the Macbeth ...

  24. What is a good thesis statement about Macbeth's relationship with fate

    A thesis statement along these lines could be something like: Macbeth demonstrates that he has free will by going beyond the mandates of the witches and the apparitions in his tyranny and ...