25th May 2017 — L.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. 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. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
Lady Macbeth, in the tragedy Macbeth written by Shakespeare, is going to aid Macbeth in the murder of King Duncan dead so she can become queen.
When she says “Unsex me here,” she is asking the spirits that “tend on mortal thoughts” to unsex her and strip away her feminine qualities because she is going to be aiding Macbeth in the murder of Duncan in order to become queen of Scotland. “Feminity” in Western culture (especially at Shakespeare’s time) was synonymous with kindness, gentleness and compassionate, the opposite qualities needed in order to commit a crime such as murder. She also needs to be filled “from the crown to the toe top-full” with “masculine” qualities such as courage and strength and most importantly “direst cruelty” in order for her to kill King Duncan.
She realises how guilty she will feel about his death that she needs to “Stop the access and passage to remorse.” She wants to rid herself of reasoning, worry an fear. She doesn’t want to talk herself out of her evil plan.