- The desires and ambition of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth drove them to commit the most hideous act.
- Innocent thoughts and ambition become corrupt when you cast aside your moral judgment.
- Loyalty and kingship replaced by the sweet taste of success.
- Thesis statement: Lady Macbeth, unlike her husband, is unscrupulous. Her strong nature overpowers her husband’s forgiving nature and causes him to think evil. She becomes the most ruthless female, committing one act after another leaves her satiated with blood.
- Macbeth questions the three Witches predictions (“All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”). 1.3. 51 Lady Macbeth seized the opportunity of her husband becoming king and she queen so she puts he evil thoughts in motion.
- She does not think that her husband possesses the courage to kill Duncan so she calls on the gods to make her into an evil being (“”Make thick my blood; stop up the access and
passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature ..nor keep peacebetween the affect and it”). 1.5. 44-53
- Lady Macbeth is becoming restless because her husband is refusing to go along with her evil plan. She decides to do the evil act herself but cannot bring herself to do it as the king reminds her of her father. She continues to taunt him (“Hie thee hither that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valor of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round”).1.5. 28-33
1. Lady Macbeth takes up the position of leader in the household and asks the gods to
Change her gender and fill her with such cruelty.
2. She calls for the dagger and questions Macbeth’s change of heart toward her bidding
(“What beast was ‘t then, that made you break this enterprise to me?”) 1.7. 53-58
3. Lady Macbeth had no fear she just wanted the position of becoming queen. Intent on that
purpose she calls for the dagger “infirm of purpose. Give me the daggers” 2.2. 68-69
Macbeth had a change of heart about carrying out the plan and when he told Lady Macbeth
she calls him a coward and questions his manhood
1. She said to her husband “Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it
since? And makes it now to look so green and pale at what it did so freely? 1.7. 40-48
2. She told him that when he had committed the deed then he would be a man (“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. 1.7. 53-58 Are you a man? 3.4. 70
3. The murder is carried ou,t and Lady Macbeth becomes ill. She walks around talking to
herself and sleepwalking.
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One; two. Why then ‘tis time to do ‘t. Hell is murky.
Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeared?”5.1. 34-39
4. She begins to confess, and she reveals the things that they did to Duncan. She finally
Realizes that they had committed and unpardonable act and that they would be
punished. (“To bed, to bed! There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come,
give me your hand! What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed!” 5.1. 64-66
Lady Macbeth’s strong will and her belief in the metaphysical led to her demise. She is
Bully and bullied her husband into believing that the predictions made by the witches
would work. She dominated her husband, and he was too weak to see that this plot
would lead nowhere.
‘Macbeth’ – Account for the power of Lady Macbeth as a character and as a villain
In William shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ Lady Macbeth becomes the dominating figure in the entire play and overshadows the good intentions of her husband. She connives and schemes the death of the king without even stopping to think for a moment that this plan would not work in their favor. Lady Macbeth gets what Lady Macbeth wants, and so she works on her husband’s conscience. Macbeth ponders over the situation and, he is caught between wished he knows to be evil and a sense of moral judgment. He laments the situation and questions himself about the host becoming the murderer “as his host, / not bear the knife myself / Besides this .. his faculties so meek / hath been so clear in his great office / that his virtues will plead like angel” (1.7. 14-19). He imagines himself as a horse and an incompetent rider. He tells Lady Macbeth that he wishes to have no part of this plot to harm the king as he has just been honored by a man and will not have his honor dragged in the mud. But Lady Macbeth has something that is contagious, and it takes over Macbeth. They have cast off all feelings of the human heart, and they have transformed themselves into devils; Lady Macbeth asking the gods to ‘unsex’ her and, Macbeth forgetting that he is born of a woman. The ordinary life is transformed into a world of darkness.
Macbeth, an honorable man, was returning from battle and is met by three witches who made their predictions. He reacts strongly to this and though full of ambitions he is too much of a coward to play false. But two of the Witches predictions had already come true, so the witches words were running through Macbeth’s head. He questioned Banquo about his desire for his sons becoming king. Banquo sought to downplay the issue, saying that if he were to believe all he hears then he has hope to believe that one day he would really be made king of Scotland. He warns Macbeth by saying , “that .the instruments of darkness tell us truths / win us with honest trifles / to betrays in deepest consequence” (1.3. 124-126).
Lady Macbeth is ambitious and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to satisfy her selfish ambition. Here are two persons who are in love with each other. Macbeth calls her his ‘dearest partner of greatness’. He shares the good news of the battle with her and tells her that he wants to share the good news with her before he gets home. He says she deserves to hear of the greatness that is promised to her. Here we see that Macbeth has the ambition of becoming king but pushes it aside as he reveres the king. Lady Macbeth however begins to read between the lines and thought to herself that whatever greatness is promised to her and her husband she will make sure that they both get it.
When Macbeth told her of the Witches’ prophecies, she ignores his fears and coaxes him into believing that he could really be king. She realizes that they would have to kill Duncan. She prays for the strength to do the act and prays that she might have no feeling of remorse in doing what she has to. So she puts the plans in motion. Lady Macbeth says that the things that you sometimes want requires doing certain things to obtain it; certain things that you are afraid to do, but once done you will not want to be undone. She was determined to do just that, to become great. She prayed that the evil might “make thick my blood, stop us the access and passage to remorse” (1.5. 38-39). Being strong-willed and forceful in nature, she manipulates her husband to think that he could carry out an act of becoming king and everything would be all right.
She is stronger in nature and forces Macbeth to kill the king. She chides him for being too “full ‘o the milk of human kindness” (1.5. 16-18). Devoid of all human emotions, Lady Macbeth, puts her thoughts and idea in motion. She drugged the guards to make access to King Duncan’s room easily accessible for her to go in and kill him. She gives Macbeth the dagger and tells him to go and commit a crime. Lady Macbeth showed no pity or mercy for anyone because she had the ambition of becoming queen, and no one was going to stop her. She dominated her husband and did not feel sorry for him when he showed fear in committing a crime. She chided him for being a weakling and questions his manhood. She says, “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 (1.7. 53-58). She asks him “Are you a man?” (3.4. 70).
Lady Macbeth takes over and becomes the dominant male. She found him brooding over the issue and confronts him strongly. He told her that he cannot go through with this business, and she blasts him for first suggesting it. She lashed him with her tongue, dismissing his fears as being foolish. She told him when he first suggested it he was a man, not the pale and cowardly man standing before her. She knew what she needs to do and chastised her man for not having the guts to do what he needs to do. She goes into action and calls on the gods to change her gender and make her not like a cowardly female but a brave soldier. She relishes in the joys of having ultimate power and that that power was theirs if he only listens to her.
Lady Macbeth had her plans well laid out, and Macbeth could not fight against that powerful will. He begins to ‘steel’ himself to do the wicked deed. Macbeth, torn between his wife’s love and the commitment he has to the king. She told him that his love would be nothing if he does not go through with the act. Lady Macbeth puts herself in the position of power at all times and tells Macbeth to leave things to her. She manipulates him and even though he is not in agreement with the murder she makes him do it. She has many faces, sometimes the devoted wife and the graceful hostess, then at other times the manipulative wife who uses her womanhood against him. She threatens to leave him if he did not do her bidding.
Lady Macbeth is the gracious hostess. She makes sure that all preparations were in order and making sure that she checks it herself three times. Duncan calls her “most kind hostess.” She admonishes her husband to look like the innocent flower and let the kings and his guests see welcome in his eyes. His face should never betray him “Look like the time / bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue / Look like the innocent flower / but be the serpent under ‘t.” Lady Macbeth’s desire for power leads her to commit a murder in her home. She drugged the guards and waited. She remains untroubled. Macbeth’s mind was in deep turmoil. He paced up and down the great hall thinking that he saw a dagger floating in the air. Lady Macbeth watched him from the shadows and willed him to go into Duncan’s room. When the deed was done Macbeth freaked out, but she kept her composure. She sent him back with the daggers, but Duncan crying like a child and trembling could not go back. She snatched them from his hands and went into the room.
When Lady Macbeth returns, she finds him crying and looking at his hands in horror. He said that all the water in the seven seas could not wash away all the blood and make them clean. She keeps her composure. She told her husband that her hand were as red as his, but damned if she allows that to make her feel ashamed. She would never be a coward. She casually sends for water to wash his hands, “Get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand” (2.2. 46-47).
Lady Macbeth did not have any fear. She did not think anything of her actions, and she bade her husband come to bed. Macbeth was rather surprised at her actions when he tried to recount the events of the murder. She said to him “Consider it not so deeply / these deeds must not be taught after these ways / so it will make us mad” (2.2.30-34). The king is dead and Lady Macbeth tries to cover up the crime, and not draw attention to herself and her husband. She pretended to be faint and had her attendants take her to bed. She hides her emotions and does not break down easily under pressure. She is a real villain who bores her way into her husband’s mind and clouds his vision with impure thoughts. She is a deceptive woman who makes her husband believe that she was doing it out of love for him. She takes over his whole being by making him believe that he could not achieve greatness without her, and all he was doing to get it was removing obstacles and made the witches predictions come true.
Lady Macbeth was the cause of her husband’s downfall. He was a good general in Duncan’s army and was happy for the honor that was bestowed upon him. When the witches made their predictions he thought that indeed it would be nice to be king. His ambitious plans however would not get out of hand if he had kept them to himself. He told his evil wife who had tasted blood before and was not afraid to taste it again. It is rather ironic that a brave soldier would fall for the “whiles” of a mere woman, but Lady Macbeth was far from being a mere woman. She was the devil incarnate. She coaxed, and scowled, and emasculated her husband until he became a whimpering child. She used him to kill Duncan and then to cover it up, but the powers of the witches were stronger. Banquo’s words came back to haunt them “ .the instruments of darkness tell us truths / win us with honest trifles / to betrays in deepest consequence” (1.3. 124-126).
Adventures in English Literature. Pegasus Edition. Harcourt Brace, Inc. ISBN 0-15-334855-0 pp.
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Crowther, John, ed. “No Fear Macbeth.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 31 Oct.