How does the passage of Lady Macbeth in Act scene 5 dramatize Shakespeare’s central concerns in the play and how does his selection of language and imagery bring these concerns to life?
By common knowledge, ‘raven’ is a bird symbolic of mystery or of omen and through the passage of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 where she utters “The raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements”, it is meant to signify a foresight and a manifestation of curse from which may be suspected that the character function of Lady Macbeth is amply in control of fates and wicked schemes in the life of a captain who is bound to murder a king due to an ensuing greed for the throne. In part, this foreshadows the central theme in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” especially as it readily conveys the truth about the nature of Lady Macbeth including the ill motives that comprise her thoughts which would bring forth the main conflict in the story.
Tragedy in such work possesses theme that depicts how, in general, women assume the significant role of directing men’s fate instead of that which serves an epic triumph when Shakespeare could have otherwise thought about creating Macbeth under attempts to portray an aspect of realism. The strong character of Lady Macbeth in the story is claimed to have fulfilled the major task of placing weakness upon the protagonist in order to meet the ultimate ill-fated end. This is further given evidence the moment the lady exclaims “And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood … And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, / That my keen knife see not the wound it makes”. Apparently, it is through Lady Macbeth that the playwright is able to convey the extent to which the influence of a woman could affect a man’s thoughts and actions toward a decision which later shapes his unfortunate destiny.
It may be observed that Shakespeare operates on language such that he selects bitter-sharp words as “mortal”, “unsex”, and “murdering ministers” in Act 1 Scene 5 in order to impress upon the audience the kind of attitude that constitutes the looming of the tragic subject. Equivalently, the playwright opts to necessitate images reflected via the “raven”, “blood”, “milk for gall”, “thick night”, “smoke of hell”, “keen knife”, as well as “the blanket of the dark” so that figures of doom may be felt at depth in association with the intensity of provocation at the events that follow. With the manner by which Shakespeare manages to utilize these literary devices altogether, it occurs truly imaginably possible for Lady Macbeth to materialize the leading intentions made implicit at the onset of the play. Hence, the selection of Shakespeare’s language and imagery at each initial stages is perceived to be quite essential to the life of tragedy particularly on the principal object of concern it is rendered to deliver during the progress or behavior of the story within the midsection of “Macbeth”.
Shakespeare, W. “Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 5.” Shakespeare Navigators. 2012. Web. 3 June 2012. http://www.shakespeare-navigators.com/macbeth/T15.html.