Development of the character of Lady Macbeth

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Development of the character of Lady Macbeth

It is a difficult task, to discover the essence and origin of a character and their trends, which so often surprise us by their existence where we least expect. Therefore, from what is known about Lady Macbeth is what should be written about her character. Lady Macbeth is amongst the most essential of characters in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Upon her introduction in Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth is brought into the plot of the play.


If I was asked to describe the lady in one word it would be ambitious. A person who collapses on reaching success, after striving for it with single-minded energy, is the figure of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. She fulfills her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her “our honored hostess.” She is loving to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to be king. This outcome will benefit her and her husband similarly. She immediately concludes that “the fastest way” for Macbeth to become king is by murdering King Duncan.

She goes through a drastic change in the play. At first there is no hesitation, no sign of any internal conflict in her, no dispute, but that of overcoming the principles of her ambitious and yet tender-minded husband. She is ready to sacrifice even her femininity to her brutal intention, she asks the dark evils to unsex her and take all the traits of a human conscience, which lie within her. Without reflecting on the crucial part, which this womanliness must play when the question afterwards arises of preserving the aim of her intention, which has been attained in the course of a crime.

She makes Macbeth kill his beloved king by taunting him and insulting him by using words such as coward and also says I fear thy nature, It is too full othmilk of human kindness; We see that, like Adam who gave in to Eves urging, Macbeth falls into the same trap, which eventually leads to their downfall as a couple. She did not comprehend that her nature is very similar to Macbeths at the start. Although later on she admits that she could not kill Duncan herself because he, resembled her father while he slept. This proves to the reader that she still has her womanly instincts and outlook, which shows us that the so-called spirits do not exist. It was all in her head but she only began to realize this later on in the play.

The lady understands her husband well and has the power, and ambition, which he lacks. She allowed this aspiration, not for herself but for her husband, to overcome her and afterward even destroy her life, and her husbands furthermore; which in time lead to their death. On various occasions in the play, she takes charge of the situation. For example in Act two, scene three after Duncan is murdered and all tension is upon Macbeth and she faints (or pretends to faint) and takes some of the attention away from her husband, onto her self. Another act of a, partially, selfless act was during the banquet in Act three scene four whilst Macbeth is envisioning Buanqo, she dismisses the guests on her husbands behalf, so any notions of suspicion does not arise. Although despite all of her concealing of the truth for Macbeth, their relationship is crumbling and breaking down drastically.

Although the Lady was strong, passionate and extremely ambitious at the start of the play, towards her death she becomes exceptionally distraught. As time advances, her pretended strength diminishes as she fights the torments of her conscience, Her conscience begins to whey upon her and she begins to walk as she slept. The burden of Lady Macbeth’s conscience becomes too great for her and her mental and physical condition deteriorates. Her attempts to suppress her conscience fail. Before the kings slay she mentions that water will clear them of this crime, but later on she becomes more aware of her guilt she utters that all the perfumes of Arabia cannot sweeten this little hand. This contrast signifies how Lady Macbeth changed from