William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" displays how the psychological needs of a person drive him or her to act the way they do. Shakespeare, throughout his various works, gives us several perfect examples of just such characters. However, one of these characters seems a touch more unstable, considerably more insane, than any other figure conceived by the playwright. The woman in question is Lady Macbeth, fallen queen of Scotland; of all the tragic characters portrayed in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is perhaps the single most tormented and increasingly unstable. Lady Macbeth fulfills her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her "our honored hostess." Macbeth’s wife, a deeply ambitious woman who lusts for power and position she is loving to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to be king. Early in the play she seems to be the stronger and more ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill Duncan and seize the crown. After the bloodshed begins, however, Lady Macbeth falls victim to guilt and madness to an even greater degree than her husband. Her conscience affects her to such an extent that she eventually commits suicide. Interestingly, she and Macbeth are presented as being deeply in love, and many of Lady Macbeth’s speeches imply that her influence over her husband is primarily sexual. Their joint alienation from the world, occasioned by their partnership in crime, seems to strengthen the attachment that they feel to each another
This increasing mental instability is without a doubt, the key factor in Lady Macbeth’s eventual physical downfall. Lady Macbeth’s questionable mental status becomes apparent the first time the reader is introduced to her character in Act 1, Scene 5. In this scene, the lady has just received a letter from Macbeth informing her of the weird sisters’ prophecy that he shall become King of Scotland. She immediately...
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