Lady Macbeth

Lady MacBeth

The context of the text heavily impacts on the portrayal of characters, especially Lady MacBeth. Shakespeare portrays lady MacBeth as cruel, harsh, ambitious and manipulative women. She goads MacBeth by challenging his manhood and calling him a coward (Act 1 Scene 7) where as Polanski tends to portray her ambitious and manipulative actions through the use of a psycho-sexual power by a softer and tamer woman (Act 1 Scene 5), as there was more sexual freedom in the context of polanksi’s film.

In the context of Shakespeare women were classed at the bottom of society and would not have little impact on the positions of royalty if at all, this is not shown as Lady MacBeth is portrayed as a very masculine figure, powerful and ambitious. The film was made in the 1960’s, a time of sexual freedom and a rise in women’s equality. This impacted on how Polanski portrayed Lady MacBeth, giving a more truthful representation of Lady MacBeth even though her societal status is lower than it seemed in Shakespeare, she achieved her ambitions through manipulative psycho-sexual power, this seductive and wilful character still plays on MacBeth’s manhood. She leads the assassination by pulling his strings and it is not till after she loses this control the tragic downfall begins.  

Through the use of language, actions and soliloquies Shakespeare portrays the powerful, ambitious, masculine figure that is produce due to the context. The values of ambition, appearance and reality, guilt and conscience are all explored with these techniques.
The ‘unsex me’ soliloquy by Lady MacBeth in Act 1 Scene 5 uses the language “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!” to create the harsh and powerful character of Lady MacBeth

Shakespeare did not use stage directions but instead let the dialogue create the mood and establish the setting, dialogue such as when Lady MacBeth declares she...