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Lady Macbeth In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2803 words - 11 pages

Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Throughout Macbeth, we are introduced to several interesting
characters that influence events for good or bad. Perhaps the most
complete character of all could be argued to be Lady Macbeth. Lady
Macbeth often takes centre stage and reveals her emotions to the
audience through several soliloquies. Because she is such a complex
character, the audience has to make their own conclusions about her
personality and drive behind her actions. To me, she appears at first
to be loving but ambitious. By the end of the play, Lady Macbeth is
revealed to be cruel but loyal, aggressive, ruthless and neurotic. The
fact that she kills herself shows how mentally unstable she becomes.

Lady Macbeth plays a crucial part in the key events surrounding
Macbeth. Throughout the play we see her determination build to a point
where she pushes Macbeth and herself over the edge. We see that as
soon as Lady Macbeth reads her husband's letter telling her of the
witches' predictions she instantly starts to plan the murder of King
Duncan. As soon as Macbeth returns home, she quickly plants seeds of
ruthless ambition into his mind and we watch her guide him along the
treacherous path of murder and deceit. When Macbeth starts to have
doubts, she rapidly persuades him to go ahead with the King's murder.
We see that at the time when Macbeth starts to crack under the
pressure, Lady Macbeth is the one who covers up his mistakes and
soothes his erratic nerves. An example of this is when Macbeth sees
the ghost of Banquo. He starts to incoherently mutter and Lady Macbeth
has to throw the guests out just so that he won't reveal their doings.
It is not until later on in the play that her guilt comes right back
at her and she subsequently suffers a nervous breakdown, which results
in her suicide.

We first are introduced to Lady Macbeth reading the letter from her
husband in Act 1 Scene 5. From this scene we learn that she is
ambitious, "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art
promised…" Her ruthless side has not been revealed yet because she
just says that she wants her husband to be King, she doesn't go in to
any gory details. We do not learn how she will do this until later on
in the play. It becomes clear that she holds high hopes for her
husband. At first it may appear to be just because she loves him, but
as the scene progresses, we find out that she is actually determined
that she will be Queen. Basically she is going to use Macbeth to
satisfy her own desires. She also gives the impression that she feels
Macbeth is too honest to be King, that he is "too full of the milk of
human kindness". She realises that he will probably reluctantly kill
the King and so she may have to push him along. We can see this by the
eagerness she shows in wishing her...

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