Lady Macbeth Character Analysis

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 16:34   /   Views: 1 436
Lady Macbeth is often considered to be Shakespeare’s most famous and evil female character. We see that she is much stronger, more ambitious and more ruthless than her husband through out the play. Lady Macbeth is the one that convinces Macbeth that he must commit the murders so that he can become more powerful. We also see a more complex side to her personality. We see her battle with herself when she has to balance her ambition with the social constraints that have been placed upon her as a woman.
We see many instances of Lady Macbeth being much stronger and more determined to achieve her aspirations of becoming powerful and important than Macbeth. When Macbeth is first confronted with a situation where he will have to commit a murder to continue his rise to king, he is very uncertain and struggles with the idea. He says that he is not afraid of the crime itself, but instead the consequences of such a violent act, “If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well, It were done quickly. If the assassination, Could trammel up the consequence, and catch, With his surcease success.” When Lady Macbeth discovers this, however, she becomes determined to make him change his mind, manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections. She denies him his manhood, his courage and all things that he held most dear. This makes Macbeth commit the murder, despite still holding doubt and fear inside of him, just to prove himself to her. Lady Macbeth’s admirably strength of will is shown throughout the murder of King Duncan, as it is she who steadies her husband’s nerves immediately after the crime has been perpetrated.
We also see a more complex side to Lady Macbeth’s personality before Macbeth kills Duncan. We see that Lady Macbeth had been into Duncan’s chambers and set it up so that Macbeth could commit the murder. She had drugged the chamberlains and placed the knifes for Macbeth to commit the murder with, but more importantly, we also see that Lady Macbeth had tried to kill Duncan, but failed, “Had he not resembled, My father as he slept, I had done 't.” This shows us a less brutal and more sensitive side to her personality than is seen before, and shows us that beneath her ambition and greed, she is not truly an evil person. It shows that she still has a conscience and that she does not find pleasure in committing violent crimes, but merely uses them as a means to an ends. This side of her personality is only emphasized when she starts to slowly slide into madness after the murder of Duncan. If she were a ruthless killer, she would not think twice about the death of a single man. Lady Macbeth is affected so severely by her guilt that by the close of the play, she has been reduced to sleepwalking through the castle, desperately trying to wash away an invisible bloodstain. Lady Macbeth’s sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope. Significantly, she kills herself, signaling her total inability to deal with the legacy of their crimes. This is, ironically, what Macbeth feared about the murder, and was the reason he did not want to commit the crime, until Lady Macbeth herself talked him into it.
Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth to convey the theme of the relationship between gender and power. It is implied that masculinity is linked to violence and ambition, but femininity is not. Shakespeare, however, seems to use her, to undercut these ideas. Lady Macbeth uses female methods to achieve power, that is, manipulation, to further their supposedly male ambitions. Women, the play implies, can be as ambitious and cruel as men, yet social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own.

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