Lady Macbeth More Tragic Than Fiend

2027 words - 8 pages

At the end of the play, Malcolm refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as “this dead butcher and his fiend like queen” (5.7 .114). In your view, how appropriate is this description of Lady Macbeth?
At first, one could easily summarise that Lady Macbeth is indeed a fiend like queen. Throughout the play, she does seem to be the driving force behind Macbeth, causing him to murder and commit devilish deeds. Malcolm had of course had a reason on why is view on the Macbeth’s was like it was. Together they had destroyed his family, and almost the whole of Scotland. However is calling her a “fiend” a true interpretation of her as a character? A fiend implies an incarnation of pure evil, capable of doing horrific deeds and manipulating those around them to do whatever they wish. Is this actually the case with Lady Macbeth? Or is she rather a much more tragic figure, someone who was herself deceived, and lost everything in her bid to get it all?
After reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there is little doubt that Lady Macbeth is one of the main factors that cause Macbeth to carry out the murder of the king. We first meet Lady Macbeth is in 1.5. She is at first alone with a letter from Macbeth, telling her of his encounter with the Wayward Sisters, and how the first prophecy (that he would become Thane of Cawdor, 1.3 109) has come true. It is here we first see the transformation of Lady Macbeth. She instantly thinks of murder as the way for him to become king (“seize the quickest way, 1.5), despite the fact that the murder of a king would be considered a crime against God back in Shakespeare’s time. Most would not consider it. So here begins the transformation. She clearly has a desire to turn into this devilish character, and to commit the murder. In her transformation she conjures up such h horrific images, that the audience becomes deeply disturbed by what she is going through. She asks to be “unsexed” and “to be filled toe top with the direst cruelty”. Her desire to become this fiend, this creature of evil is apparent throughout the scene, and the play.
Despite there are many reasons against the murder, she ignores them all, with little remorse. She doesn’t mind the fact that they would be killing not only an old, sickly man, (in Trevor Nunn’s production of the play, Duncan seems very frail and old) but also a King. In the time the play was written, it would have been considered against the Divine Right of Kings, meaning that the crime would be against God himself. This does not seem to affect Lady Macbeth at all. She strongly contrasts Macbeth, who is himself worried. Strangely for the time, she (the woman) is the dominant force in their relationship. In 1.5 she dominates the dialogue, and also has the last word at the scene. This all shows her power over Macbeth, and this is something she exploits frequently. According to her, He has ambition enough to become King, she claims, but he lacks the courage and is too kind to act on it( “too full o’th’milk of...

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