Essay on Lady Macbeth



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Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth is probably the most complex character of the whole play: sharp and false, she is the mind behind her husband’s actions, she is the real planner of the king’s murder and, for this reason, she’s the one that feels more the responsibility of the awful deed.
The most interesting thing about Lady Macbeth is that she is a changing character, because she modifies the way she acts several times, during the play. At the beginning she shows a pitiless personality, cruelty and brutality, “I would… plucked my nipple from his boneless and dashed the brains out” (1.7.55-6). She convinces her husband to give up all his principles, his loyalty to the king and his faith to God, to pursue the ambition of power and greatness. Nothing could dissuade her determination and shake her “fell purpose” (1.5.43-4), she is ready to act as an hypocrite to gain the king’s favor, because the ambition to be queen completely dominate her. However, when she actually has to do the deed, she starts to vacillate: he isn’t able to kill Duncan because he remembers her of her own father: “Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t” (2.2.13). This is the point where all her good feelings start to break out of the cage where she imprisoned them and for the first time Lady Macbeth shows to have some scruples, to have a conscience, that same sense of fault that will drive her insane. In fact, after she has induced her husband into the first killing, well aware of the murders that come after, she starts to get worse and worse, until the regret will make her prefer to die than to live a damned life full of sorrow.
Another point that can’t be disregarded is the relationship between Lady Macbeth and her husband: in the first part, Macbeth is completely dependent on her, and she understand him really well “your face, my thane, is a open book” (1.5.60) and uses this ability to manipulate him. Moreover she’s not afraid to challenge him and she doesn’t really care about his feelings, as when she gets rid of him with a simple “consider it not so deeply” (2.2.28). Lady Macbeth is much more of a man, she is the one that has control over the couple. Anyhow, as Macbeth becomes more and more involved in the business, she looses confidence, until the roles are switched and she can’t bear the load of her fault anymore. The queen is the weak, now, and Macbeth will have to continue alone on the decay path that she stretched before him.