Question of: Explain the dramatic importance of the letter that Lady Macbeth receives from her Husband in Act I, Scene 5, and how her reaction to it portrays Lady Macbeths Character?
In Act one, Scene five of Macbeth, the audience is introduced to the character of Lady Macbeth for the first time. The scene begins with Lady Macbeth established alone on stage, reading a letter from her husband. It informs Lady Macbeth of Macbeths encounter with the three witches, who to his own astonishment greet him as king that shalt be. Eager and thrilled to hear this, scene five gyrates around this prophecy, as Lady Macbeth visions her Macbeth as King of England. This gives the audience a true portrayal of Lady Macbeths character as she exults to the letter alone on stage.
Having being set alone on stage, from a dramatic point of view, it would be most effective if Lady Macbeth were to read the letter aloud for the first time as paces from left to right of stage. This would not only convey Lady Macbeths true immediate response to the letter, but with changes in volume and a high pitched tone, showing how ecstatic Lady Macbeth is, to hear her husband being greeted as King, revealing her true motives. Lost in her own excitable state, Lady Macbeth is impetuously lured into the prophecy of the metaphysical forces, as she determines herself into acquiring the status of King for her husband. Human instinct would make it difficult to believe the words of creatures that made themselves air, but clearly this is not the case with Lady Macbeth. Consequently the influence of the witches prophecy on Lady Macbeth gets her to overlooks Macbeths newly acquired title of Thane of Cawdor, as Lady Macbeths ambitions demand more for her husband.
Ambition and greed are two striking characteristics of Lady Macbeth. These characteristics are evident when Lady Macbeth is caught unprepared at the spur of the moment when the attendant comes on stage to inform her that the king comes here tonight. What would appear as normal to reply in excitement Thou art mad to say it! if the king were to come to ones place, it is merely a portrayal of Lady Macbeths deceptive character. This is because Lady Macbeth replies to the attendant under the influence that Macbeth has already become King, an illustration of Lady Macbeths ambitious desire for Macbeth to posses the golden round.
Subsequently this covet for the golden round exposes a darker facet of Lady Macbeth. One who is willing to go the extreme measure of murdering King Duncan, to acquire the status of king. This malevolent side to Lady Macbeth is carried across to the audience through the medium of a soliloquy, in which it would be highly effective if Lady Macbeth were to chant and dance to the words. For this would create somewhat of a resemblance of Lady Macbeth and the diabolical character of the witches.
Resembling Lady Macbeth to the character of a witch would be a rightful comparison as the words that Lady Macbeth chants in her soliloquy, contain quite gruesome sinister details. Lady Macbeth calls upon spirits to unsex her of all her moral values, so that when the time comes to commit the murder, there is nothing that can prevent her. However the most accurate representation of Lady Macbeths merciless, heartless character is when she calls upon the dark night to come to her breasts, and take her milk for gall. This creates a very disturbing image amongst the minds of the audience as breast milk is the soul source of nutrition for a baby. Lady Macbeths plea to have this milk turned to gall, exposes how sinister a character she is, as a baby is helpless without milk, and to Lady Macbeth it seems as though the life of a baby, is expendable in order to become king.
Although Lady Macbeth is a sinister, greedy ambitious character, it is to the surprise of the audience that she knows her husband inside out. With the ambitious vision of becoming king, and the excitable state, the audience is made to believe that Lady Macbeth would be a self centered character. This is only partially true, as although she seems to want the position of king for Macbeth more so that Macbeth himself, she knows exactly that Macbeth will not catch the nearest way and kill the king. Even before Macbeth takes stage, Lady Macbeth states that Macbeth is to full o th milk of human kindness to act upon the prophecy of the witches. This is only assured by Macbeths entry on stage as he hesitantly rather speak further about the murder conspiracy against the king.
Furthermore as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth continue to converse, Macbeths short one line dialogues, apposed to the lines and lines that Lady Macbeth speaks, make Lady Macbeths dominance over Macbeth fairly obvious. Lady Macbeths taking of the nights great business into her dispatch is merely a reassurance of this dominance.
With the nights great business in the hands of Lady Macbeth, the audience is left with a feeling of intrigue and uneasiness as Lady Macbeth and Macbeth exit stage. This brings light upon how it is the letter that is accountable in creating this, as her animated reaction to the letter and her plot to murder the king leave the audience with the volatile character of an ambitious, sinister dominant Lady Macbeth.