The strive and ambition for power can seem to be utter perfection, but one should be careful what they wish for because that power and ambition may cause their eventual downfall. An example of this would be shown in Lady Macbeth’s character in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. Lady Macbeth’s strive for power leads her into a dark tunnel of guilt and a battle with herself subconsciously and consciously.
For one thing when Lady Macbeth hears of her husband’s newly gained title of Thane of Cawdor, and the witches’ prophecy, her immediate thoughts are of murdering the King. The witches said that it was fate that would bring Macbeth the throne, so the fact that Lady Macbeth displays early signs of dark ambitions so quickly is quite startling and conveys her lust for power. At one point Lady Macbeth states:
“Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be/ What thou art promised. Yet I do fear thy nature. / It ...view middle of the document...
Her drive for power is ruthless and is almost certainly the cause of her downfall because she feels the extreme guilt that comes along with attaining the throne the way she did. The audience witnesses Lady Macbeth’s overwhelming guilt firsthand in Act V when she begins to slip into insanity. A doctor who is watching over Lady Macbeth exclaims, “Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds/ Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds/ To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets” meaning that Lady Macbeth’s guilt makes it impossible for her to hide the terrible acts they have committed. Her mind is rebelling against the unnatural fiend that ambition has turned her into. This runs along with the theme of power causing destruction to one’s self.
Along with her power lust, Lady Macbeth battles with her conscience and subconscious. Towards the end of the play Lady Macbeth starts to sleep walk and speaks of the horrible deeds she has done or assisted in doing, further displaying her guilt. During one of her episodes Lady Macbeth yells, “Out damned spot!” (V, i, 35), the spot being her mind believing she has the blood of all of the people she has helped killed on her hands. This shows how much her guilt has affected her, while awake she represents composed courage and ruthlessness, but whilst asleep Lady Macbeth ripens a disturbed and guilt-ridden mentality. She is no longer forced to pretend to portray her darker side. Due to the fact that she is able to feminize herself rather than calling upon spirits to give her the murderous mentality of a man. The raging war within her mind supports the theme that lust for power causes eventual destruction of one’s conscience. This is because her guilt leads to her eventual suicide because she was unable to live with herself after all of the terrible things she had done throughout her life and the deeds she forced her husband into doing as well.
As one of Shakespeare’s most evil characters ever, Lady Macbeth plays a tremendous role in how the play turns out. Lady Macbeth’s strive for perfection leads to extreme guilt and self-loathing as well as her personal destruction.