The Scottish play

The Scottish play, Macbeth, is both Shakespeare’s shortest play and his bloodiest. Shakespeare wastes no line in expanding the symbolism and characterization, and this is highly apparent in Lady Macbeth’s unconscious mutterings to herself in Act V. (5.1. 30–35; 36–39; 42–43) At first, they seem simply the late night ramblings of a madwoman; however upon closer inspection her speech has very symbolic implications as to the character of both Lady Macbeth and her husband, as well as the play itself.
First and foremost, the character of Lady Macbeth must be discussed. Most known for her cold ambition, she starts the play as a foil for the almost contemplative Macbeth, who has little intent to actively seize power. Thought the entirety of their discourse and the act of killing Duncan itself, she chastises his doubt, calling him “infirm of purpose” (2.2.50). Her shrewdness only serves to amplify Macbeth’s own unwillingness to kill, and vice-versa. Back to Act V, Lady Macbeth is still serving as a foil, but their roles are very much reversed