“Macbeth”- Dark. Evil. Tragic. A revered play written in the 16th century by the famous playwright: William Shakespeare. The theme of “Macbeth” is centred on how power and the thirst for it can corrupt a person and lead to their insanity. Power-hungry and manipulating Lady Macbeth, with the help of the prophecies of the three malevolent witches, persuades the eponymous Macbeth to kill his king, so that she can be the queen. But unfortunately, for her, her plans do not ultimately run smoothly. Both Macbeth’s guilty conscience and his wife’s insanity give them away and eventually lead to their down fall. The purpose of this essay is to discuss to what extent Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as a truly evil character throughout the play.
From her very opening scene Shakespeare depicts Lady Macbeth as being cold and full of evilness. In act 1 scene 5, Lady Macbeth is introduced reading a letter from Macbeth. Already the audience can see she has evil plans. “Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear
And chastise with the valour of my tongue.” (Act 1 scene 5)
This exhibits that she wants Macbeth to come back home so she can persuade him to do the evil deed. Later in the scene, Lady Macbeth is afraid that Macbeth is too weak and too compassionate to be a murderer, therefore she asks the gods to replace all her goodness and femininity with cold haunted evilness. This is clear when she calls the evil spirits;
“...Unsex me here,
Make thick my blood,
Stop up th’access and passage to remorse...
Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall...” (Act 1 scene 5)
So that she can poison her husband’s mind. The audience’s first impression of her is as a remorseless, cold evil wife. This prepares the audience for the evilness she is capable of later in the play.
Later Shakespeare reveals what Lady Macbeth is capable of. Act 1 scene 7 is the scene when Macbeth hesitates and doesn’t think killing his king is an ideal solution. Frustrated, Lady Macbeth is aware that the only possible way for her to convince her husband is by putting him down, insulting him as being a coward and questioning his manhood.
“Which though esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem...” (Act 1 scene 7)
Because insults did not convince Macbeth, she then begun telling him he won’t be a man if he won’t do it. “When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man.”(Act 1 scene 7)
This shows how anxious and desperate she was to rule, she was so determined that she dared to talk to Macbeth without any respect, which would be unusual for a woman at that time. But her behaviour begs the question: if she wanted to be a queen so much why doesn’t she just done it herself?
Shakespeare shows a glimpse of humanity in Lady Macbeth when she explains why she didn’t kill the king, Duncan, herself. After Lady Macbeth drugged the king’s guard she states that she would have...