An Analysis on Lady Macbeth's Role in Her Husband's Downfall

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Murderers often have their loss of innocence pegged entirely on themselves, particularly if they kill out of ambition. In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth however, it is Lady Macbeth who is the catalyst for her husband's doom. In the play, a war-hero is confronted by three witches who give him a prophecy that he will become king. The only way for this to happen however, is if the current king dies and he usurps the throne. This idea horrifies him, and he immediately pushes the thought out of his mind. But, being the naturally ambitious creatures that humans are, the thought of becoming king still lingers in his mind. Macbeth makes the mistake of telling his infinitely-more cruel and ambitious wife about the prophecy, and she is able to intimidate him into going along with her plan to kill the king and claim the throne for themselves. Macbeth and his wife eventually do become royalty, but his kingship is plagued by misery, tyranny, insanity, and paranoia. This eventually leads to his fall from grace. In order to truly understand this malevolent woman's effect on the play, one must examine who she is, how she manipulates her husband, and how her actions cause Macbeth's ruin.

In writing, there are few female characters quite as frightening as Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is a deeply ambitious person, who has a lust for power and position unmatched by any of Shakespeare’s female characters. Minutes after she reads the letter from her husband regarding the prophesies, she begins planning Duncan's murder and how they will quickly usurp the throne. Her strong, and ruthless nature can easily been seen, such as when she claims that she would rather “dashed the brains out” (1, 7, 59) of her own infant had she sworn to do that the same way he had sworn to kill Duncan. Even the thought of this is reserved for the most monstrous type of people, and the intensity of how she says it instills fear in Macbeth. She uses this to intimidate Macbeth into going along with the...
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