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The Misunderstood Lady Macbeth Essay

886 words - 4 pages

Although Lady Macbeth seemed callous and cruel in the beginning of The Tragedy of Macbeth, the reader begins to see events that negate her maliciousness as the play progresses such as her statement about how she would have killed King Duncan if it was not for his resemblance to her father, the murder of Banquo, and the loss of her sanity in the last act. At first, Lady Macbeth could have been characterized as evil and fiendlike due to her ambition and manipulation of Macbeth. By the end, however, one begins to see how guilt, shame, and regret alter her emotions. Shakespeare uses this change of emotions in order to give the reader insight on why Lady Macbeth was not the monster she claimed to have been. The emphasis of the evil and monstrous qualities in the beginning are contrasted at the end with the feelings of remorse.

The first clue that showed that Lady Macbeth was not a monster was her statement about how she would have killed King Duncan if it was not for his resemblance to her father. After Macbeth revealed to her that there was a possibility of him becoming king, she told herself that Macbeth was too kind to do the evil things necessary to become king. She called to the spirits to make her more of a man and less of a woman. She also asked them to thicken her blood so she would not be affected by feelings of remorse or guilt. When Macbeth arrived at the castle, he was unsure whether or not he should kill the king. When Duncan arrived, Lady Macbeth persuaded and manipulated Macbeth to go through with the murder by questioning his manhood. After Macbeth murdered Duncan, the reader begins to see that Lady Macbeth was not as cruel as she claimed to be when she said, “Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done ’t.”(2.2.12-13) This implies that she too has some “milk of human kindness”.

Furthermore, the second event that shows that Shakespeare did not want the reader to judge Lady Macbeth severely was the murder of Banquo. Lady Macbeth was not part of Banquo’s murder. She had initially told Macbeth that he should stop worrying and that he should not kill Banquo because he was already the king of Scotland. When Macbeth tells her that he is still done killing, Lady Macbeth says, “ Come on, gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks.”(3.2.29-30) After Duncan’s assassination, she no longer wanted to kill anymore. The only reason she wanted to kill Duncan was to become queen. She did not want Macbeth to ruin anything by killing...

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