English 4A 16 October, 2011 The Truth behind Lady Macbeth In the play, “Macbeth”, the character that stands out the most is Lady Macbeth. Her role in this story is significant, she is an evil, ruthless, and ambitious person. She is responsible for the murders that her husband commits because she was bloodthirsty for the crown. In fact, she then becomes more eager to get the crown than Macbeth himself and soon realizes that once you commit one violent act, there is almost no way of ever turning back.
An analysis of Lady Macbeth reveals that she is a powerful character who adds complexity and depth to a play about murder, madness, and revenge. Due to her ambition to become queen, Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to murder king Duncan. She accuses Macbeth of being a coward believing that he is not worthy enough to match his acts with hi desires telling him “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art in desire? ”(1. 7. 39-40).
Lady Macbeth is trying to bring out the evil within her husband, she wants to provoke him into doing this terrible deed so that Macbeth will no longer be afraid and shall be devoted to murdering Duncan. She is aware that she has control over her husband which she is using against him. Macbeth does not tolerate being called names by his own wife or by anyone else, he states “I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none”. To him his wife’s opinion is very important and he is determined to prove his manhood.
This shows Lady Macbeth’s manipulative power against Macbeth and how she can use his emotions to gain her personal desires which was the crown. Once her husband has decided to go through with it she then begins to plan out the murder. Careful planning is something Lady Macbeth seems to do very well, she shows this when she is planning Duncan’s death. They both decide that the best time to kill Duncan is when he has fallen asleep, “What cannot you and I perform upon Th’unguarded Duncan? ”(1. 7. 69-70). This shows Lady Macbeth’s intelligence and how she is able to be prepared for such a devious crime.
She acknowledges the fact that Macbeth could get caught so she concocts another plan to blame Duncan’s officers for their murder. “What not put upon his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell? ” (1. 7. 70-71). She is confident that her husband will get away with everything as long as he shows no fear and sticks to plan. Without a doubt she shows her fearlessness and loyalty to his terrible act. Not feeling any remorse, she is able to skillfully let go of guilt and skillfully get rid of evidence.
As Macbeth comes back to her after the deed is complete he is very shaken up and extremely paranoid that someone saw him with the bloody daggers. Lady Macbeth tells him, “These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so it will make us mad” (2. 2. 34). By saying this she believes that you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing evil, you should just get it done and move on because thinking about it will only drive you crazy. Also she thinks when commiting violent acts such as murder make sure to get rid of any evidence that will lead people to believe you are a suspect.
Frustrated and upset that her husband came home bathed in blood and the daggers in his hand she states, “Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. ”(2. 2. 52-53). She is extremely disappointed in Macbeth for being so careless and cannot believe that he did not go through the well thought out plan smoothly. In her eyes he is still a coward and does not know how to behave calmy when feeling guilty. Throughout the play her character develops drastically, for example in the beginning of the play she is cruel, evil, and fearless, then soon starts change and become a new person.
At first she would have done anything in her power to get something complete especially if she was sworn to it,in fact she says that she would have killed her own child, “I would, while it was smiling in my face…dashed the brains out. ” (1. 7. 56-58). This signifies the depth her character adds to the story, her remorseless attitude and her evil ways make it interesting and encourages the reader to keep reading so that they can find out exactly what she will do next. Actually, without Lady Macbeth, none of the murders in the play probably would have happened since she is the one responsible for all of them.
Even though Macbeth physically did the crimes, she believes she is more noble and just as strong as any man, “That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold. ” (2. 2. 1). What this means is that the wine that the men drink makes them drunk, however it gives her strength to do evil things. Towards the end of the story she realizes that crime does not pay off and regrets what she has done, however at this point it is too late. After all of the murders and blood that has been shed she begins to feel guilty.
Realizing what she’s done, “Nought’s had, alls spent,…tis safer to be that which we destroy. ”(3. 2. 5-7). Crime brings no happiness so why bother doing it when you gain nothing but pain. The worst part of crime is once it has been done there is no way of taking it back, which is exactly what Lady Macbeth thinks when she says, “What’s done cannot be undone. ”(5. 1. 59-60). It is ironic that she feels regretful because of the fact that she was the one who felt that fear and regret was only for the weak and despised cowards.
This goes to show how much her character has developed and leads to her turning point in the play where she has a breakdown. Her conscience finally gets the best of her and in the last act of the play she has become insane. This scene is the most important because it describes all of the things Lady Macbeth has gone through. She feels responsible for everything and wishes to take it back. At this point she has completely lost her mind, she is speaking in rhymes, “The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now? ”(5. 1. 37).
Macduff was the Thane of Fife and she is wondering what has happened to his wife, which shows that she was unaware of how Macbeth slaughtered his family. So much blood has been shed that it makes her sick, “Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. ”(5. 1. 44). After all of the pain and agony she has caused and what she has become, Lady Macbeth has had enough. The doctor later tells her husband that she has committed suicide which marks the end of the sad and tragic story of her character.
In conclusion, throughout the most powerful tragedy story of Macbeth we see the development of Lady Macbeth’s character. Seeing her go from evil and fearless to a regretful coward is really eye opening on how significant her role is. It truly shows her complexities and the depth of such a powerful character. That is why this play is one of the greatest and most famous of Shakespeare’s work. Works Cited Shakespeare, William, and Alan Durband. Macbeth Modern Version Side-by-side with Full Original Text. Hove, S. Aust. : Townsend School for the Visually Impaired, 1986. Print.