Lady Macbeth Is A Fiend Like Queen

2921 words - 12 pages

Lady Macbeth Is A Fiend - Like Queen

In William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" the audience sees two very
different sides of Lady Macbeth. At the start of the play Lady Macbeth
is shown to be ruthless, conniving, fiend-like and remorseless. The
phrase fiend-like conjures up an image of a cruel, evil and wicked
person. In the play the audience sees that Lady Macbeth has a lust for
power. She believes that her ambition to become queen will come true
after reading Macbeth's letter with tells her of his meeting with the
witches and their prophecy that Macbeth will become king. Shakespeare
wrote "Macbeth" so that throughout the play tension is built up and
the play relates strongly to witchcraft and the supernatural to which
audiences at that time could relate to.

The play Macbeth appeals to the audience as throughout Shakespeare's
life witches and witchcraft were the object of morbid and fevered
fascination. Between 1560 and 1603 persecution of witches reached
terrifying proportions. Hundreds of people, nearly all women, were
convicted as witches and executed. Witches were credited with
diabolical powers. They could predict the future, fly, sail in sieves,
bring on night in daytime, cause fogs and tempests and kill animals.
It was believed that witches allowed the devil to suck their blood in
exchange for a "familiar," a bird, reptile or beast to act as an evil
servant. Accused witches were examined for this mark, a red mark on
the body where Satan had sucked blood.

King James I was as fascinated by witchcraft as any of his subjects.
In 1590 it was alleged that a group of witches had tried to kill him.
Fired by this experience King James personally investigated other
witchcraft cases. In 1597 he published "Demonology" a book on
witchcraft. When he became King he ordered its immediate printing.
England was a Christian country. Although deep divisions existed
between Protestants and Catholics, nearly everyone believed in heaven
and hell, and lived in fear of eternal damnation, a consequence of
witchcraft. People who watched Macbeth saw in it the signs of a man
and woman seized by demonic possession.

Signs of demonic possession include going into trances "look how our
partner's rapt," changed appearances "why do you make such faces?"
inability to pray "amen stuck in my throat," visions "is this a dagger
which I see before me?" and invitations to evil spirits to possess
one's body "come, you spirits."

Lady Macbeth believes that for her ambition to be queen to come true
she needs to kill the current King and calls upon evil spirits to help
her. In the 16th century murdering a King would be regarded as much
worse than an ordinary murder, as people believed in the Divine Right
of Kings. People believed that Kings were appointed by God. Only
somebody who is truly evil would even...

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