Honors English 10
December 1, 2010
Lady Macbeth – Fair is Foul, Foul is Fair
Are a person’s actions borne out of their nature rather than circumstances in which they find themselves? It is a question that has existed since the start of humanity, with some arguing that people are born with a certain nature and character, and therefore cannot change, while others contend that a person’s nature does not matter as much as how they react to circumstances and the environment around them. Shakespeare engaged this question through his character Lady Macbeth in his play Macbeth. Lady Macbeth certainly reacted to her particular circumstances, but were her actions due to her inherently foul or evil character, or did the opportunity to seize power corrupt her fair nature? Although Lady Macbeth was initially the fair wife of Macbeth, her ambition coupled with opportunity led her to conspire and help execute murders until she realized how she had become foul. After Lady Macbeth read her husband’s letter, she soliloquized, “Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valor of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have thee crowned withal.” This shows that Lady Macbeth was initially the fair wife of Macbeth through her devotion, loyalty, and love for Macbeth. She wanted to help him succeed and even drives his ambitions to be king. She wanted to fulfill the prophecy for Macbeth to be king, and desired to remove any fears that may stand in the way of Macbeth becoming king. Even if it was by treachery and unethical means, Lady Macbeth wished for her husband to be happy and to get what he wanted. This quote has also been interpreted that she merely wants power for herself, and she was only manipulating her husband for her own selfish gain. However, her ambition was for her and Macbeth to be happy. Rather than lust for power, her ambition was out of...