Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth Amongst the most essential of characters in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is Lady Macbeth. Upon the introduction of Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth is brought into the plot of the play. In this soliloquy, Lady Macbeth comments on her thoughts after having read a letter from her husband, Macbeth, informing her about the witches prophecies on the possibility of Kingship. A variety of well-known topics are explored, including the revelation of the true traits of characters such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be What thou art promised; yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full othmilk of human kindness To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it.

What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst strongly win. Thoudst have, great Glamis, That which cries, Thus who must do if thou have it; And that which rather thou dost fear to do. Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have crowned thee withal. -Lady Macbeth, Act 1 Sc5, Lines 13 28 Her first thoughts are based on the reaction of the realism of Macbeth being Thane of Glamis, and possibly Cawdor as the witches predicted. This is expressed through the words What thou art promised.

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The idea of having soliloquy interacting with the witches predictions creates a sense of spirituality. This being Lady Macbeths first appearance in the play is effective as it allows the reader to associate this sense of spirituality and evil with her character, that has yet to have any substance to allow the reader to interpret her role by. She continues by expressing her fear over not being able to catch the nearest way due to Macbeths overly kind character. This is demonstrated through a variety of techniques. For example, Lady Macbeth explains how her husband would not play false nor would he wrongly win. This suggests a fair person with a kindness too powerful for him to be a false king, through murder.

The extent of Macbeths kind character is described as too full othmilk of human kindness. This is extremely significant as milk, similar to a mothers breast milk, is filled with the vital pureness and nutrition that a baby needs in order to grow. This can be used to mirror Macbeths kind character to the importance of a mothers breast milk in the eyes of a newly born baby. In addition, Lady Macbeths envy for her husband is shown through the compilation of words such as great, highly and holiliy. These words create imagery of religion and heavens to support her feelings towards Macbeth. The presence of the thought of heavens being the place of good after death can be used to mirror the extent of Macbeths kind character.

Lady Macbeth describes the action of murdering King Duncan through the words to catch the nearest way. The use of this euphemism to describe the action of killing Duncan can be seen as though she is trying to hide the harsh imagery of blood and violence in the action of murder. This is an example of Lady Macbeths diminishing sense of honesty. Throughout the course of the soliloquy, the developing theme of evilness continues to show through words such as spirits and metaphysical which produce an authoritative feeling of negativity. This form of negativity is extremely effective as it relates to the topic of the supernatural and unknown that causes for greater intrigue amongst the audience as a result.

Also, these words being said through Lady Macbeth gives the audience an opportunity to further build their personal folio of her character. The idea of having to call upon the spirits and gods, the most divine of beings also can be interpreted to suggest multiple meanings. The fact that Lady Macbeth has to call upon the most powerful of beings suggests the extent of Macbeths kindness, that only the most commanding of beings has the dominance to sway Macbeths conscience. Alternatively, the act of Lady Macbeth calling upon the most divine of beings can be interpreted to suggest the manner in which she plans to manipulate Macbeth. The fact that she is performing a ritual to the gods, as if she is seeking genuine help, suggests the desperation she is in. This is further justified by the use of the term Hie thee hither, which also suggests the desperation and haste she is in.

The manner in which she wants to manipulate Macbeth in is also shown when Lady Macbeth says she wants to pour my spirits in thine ear. The smooth, fluent and gradual movement involved in the action of pouring can be used to reflect the manner in which Lady Macbeth plans to transform her husband into a murderer slowly. This too can be symbolic towards the reinforcement of Lady Macbeths developing sense of evil as it shows that Lady Macbeth is trying to do this deed as discretely as possible, without any sudden changes that would otherwise make her actions fairly noticeable. The obscurity of pouring her evilness into Macbeths ear as opposed to the mouth is not only unexpected, but also cunningly discrete. In this line, Lady Macbeth uses the word spirits to represent the substance of her evilness that she wishes to pass on to Macbeth.

This shows her hunger and will power in which she would like to complete this deed in. This is achieved through the importance of the word spirits, a representation of ones body and soul. The fact that Lady Macbeth is willing to sacrifice her spirits reflects on the extreme levels of her will and hunger. This is also shown through the fluency of the manner in which she delivers her soliloquy. This shows that she feels very strongly for what she is saying as she does not run out of things to say.

Lady Macbeth says she wishes to chastise with the valour of her tongue. The tongue being a somewhat sexual body part can be used as a representation of a certain amount of sex appeal. At a symbolic level, sex appeal in this situation can be interpreted towards the fact that Lady Macbeth, being a female, will exploit her gender in luring Macbeth to change. This can reflect Macbeths weak heart as a result of his overly kind character. In addition, this shows the strong level of trust Macbeth has over Lady Macbeth to the extent that in their relationship, he puts himself in a position of danger.

The effort in which Lady Macbeth is going to put in into making Macbeth evil to murder Duncan is expressed through the words chastise and valour. This is achieved through the harsh and commanding tones of these words. The fact that she wishes to discipline him, through the word chastise, can be seen as though Lady Macbeth feels like a teacher to Macbeth in this situation. Being the teacher, Lady Macbeth feels that she is superior and in control towards Macbeth. This also contributes towards the development of Lady Macbeths character of one not only of utmost evilness, but also a character with plenty of fortitude.

This is further strengthened by the supremacy of the word all. The extent of her confidence is further shown in this single word as it shows that she is fearless of anything that stands in her way. Lady Macbeth working extremely hard to make her husband perform the murder emphasizes her greedy character to the extent that she is prepared to jeopardize her husbands stature and pride in society for the sake of her own glory. Throughout the soliloquy, Lady Macbeth uses a mixture of euphemisms to symbolize the crowning of Macbeth. For example, she uses terms such as golden round and what thou art promised.

This choice of using euphemisms can be interpreted to further show Lady Macbeths true character. The fact that she is ashamed of what she is planning suggests a negligible quantity of humanity that may provide as one of the very few positive traits in Lady Macbeths character. On the contrary, this could suggest otherwise. The first images that come to mind when the word golden is used, is that of joyous riches and significant wealth. This image can be used to reflect her greed for riches and wealth emerging from the position of her becoming Queen as a result of Macbeths kingship.

Lady macbeth

Discuss whether or not you feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth
There are certain aspects of Lady Macbeths character that suggests she is good and therefore her downfall increases my sympathy for her by the end of act 5. But I would also argue that she entailed evil to fuel her sleeping ambition that would make her nemesis, her mental collapse, fully justified.


Lady Macbeths role as a supporting wife at the start of the play exceeds the duties of a normal wife. She is the Eve to Macbeths Adam and is tempted. Although Macbeth hints at the idea of taking the crown in his letter home, it is Lady Macbeths ruthless determination to make him king that persuaded him to murder Duncan. Did she do this in the interests of Macbeth or was it to fulfil her own ambition? I would argue that it was to fulfil her own ambition because she decided straight away that murder was the best option to take without any regard to guilt, in this view I have no sympathy for Lady Macbeth because it is a sign of her inner evilness.

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To commit the murder of King Duncan Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits that tend on mortal thoughts. She evokes evil to commit the deed and loses her identity; I would then argue that if she has lost her identity then she has lost her soul and that, in my opinion, makes her a monster. This is illustrated by her willingness to dash the brains out of her baby, if she had one. The loss of her feminine qualities exemplifies her knowledge of the consequences of killing Duncan, this is demonstrated when she asks the keen knife see not the wound it makes. This reveals her hope that she will not feel any guilt after the murder and she naively believes that a little water clears us of this deed; these examples show that Lady Macbeth knew the deeds she was going to commit were evil and therefore sustains my unsympathetic feelings for her.


Although I have expressed unsympathetic views about Lady Macbeth, I do feel that a certain amount of sympathy arises from Act 5 Scene 1, which tends to hide her previous evil deeds. Lady Macbeth has not been seen by the audience for some time, this is because Macbeth has shut her out of his life and she has become isolated and lonely. Lady Macbeths mental collapse is caused by her acknowledgement of her share of guilt and is expressed by images of Duncans blood, will these hands neer be clean?
This is also a contrast to her belief that water cleanses the conscience of any guilt. Lady Macbeths mental collapse reinforces the idea of Scotland being diseased under Macbeths reign and because he was not put their by divine right he cannot cure her.


Lady Macbeths role as a supporting wife resurfaces again in scene 5. She is now afraid of the dark, which is in contrasts to her earlier wishes for darkness to conceal the murder. Lady Macbeth is haunted by dreams, like Macbeth ( O full of scorpions is in my mind ), and sleep walks; this echoes my last sentence in that she is now taking on the trauma and guilt from her husband. This reveals Lady Macbeths compassion and love for her husband and this, in my opinion, makes her a good wife.
I would argue that her feelings of guilt shows that stopping up the passage to remorse has not worked and the goodness inside Lady Macbeth has prevailed, that is why she has a guilty conscience. Despite her suicide she has shown that good always overcomes evil, and maybe Lady Macbeth is a metaphor for the whole play in general that good always prevails in one form or another. That striking metaphor compels me to sympathise with Lady Macbeths downfall because, like Macbeth, she could have been a good, honest ruler.


From the evidence I have given about the two sides of Lady Macbeth that influences my decision, I am rooted in a sympathetic paradox between Lady Macbeths mental downfall, which increases my sympathy for her, and her evil ambition, which makes

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