Deceptive Appearances in Macbeth

There is truth to Duncan's line "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face," for throughout Shakespeare's play Macbeth, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are not what they most often appear to be. Even Macbeth does not know the extent to which Lady Macbeth's "heart is sorely charged" (p.163). To other characters in the play, Lady Macbeth is merely a 'woman'- one who faints at the word 'murder' and cannot withstand the pressures a 'man' can. Macbeth is seen as a butcher, though in actuality he is "a coward in [his] own esteem" (p.41). Macbeth is a man and Lady Macbeth a woman, yet we see that just as "fair is foul, and foul is fair (p.7), Macbeth plays the role of a 'woman', as Lady Macbeth acts as a 'man'.

Lady Macbeth wants to replace every ounce of compassion and kindness with "direst cruelty", hoping that the dismissal of all her gentle virtues will "stop [the] passage to remorse" (p.33). She calls upon the evil spirits to "unsex" her so that she can rid herself of all signs of femininity (p.33). Lady Macbeth commands the "murd'ring ministers" to "make thick [her]...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 719 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4100 literature essays, 1387 sample college application essays, 167 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in