Analysis of Lady Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s most remarkable tragedy Macbeth, Lady Macbeth displays a character which has been referred to even in the daily routines of people. This ambitious, cruel and manipulative character shows a great transformation throughout the play and turns into a weak character leading to suicide because of the fatal deeds she has planned. At the beginning she is the one who plans the “bloody deed” that triggers a series of other murders and vicious slaughters but these deeds which she is so proud of planning destroys her conscience and she ends her life in a state of madness.
At the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth, who is the wife of a victorious thane, is not satisfied with the position she is in and she is encouraged by the unnatural forces to become the wife of a king. Because she thinks Macbeth is too afraid and weak to perform such a deed she manipulates him to do the cruel deed, which is to kill the king Duncan. At the feast when the ghost of Banquo appears Macbeth is terrified. Lady Macbeth tries to reassure the guests and forces Macbeth to end up his strange behavior by saying “Are you a man?” This is the most effective and frequently used method of her; humiliating him by using his manhood and the gender difference. “When you durst do it, then you were a man! And, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more than a man.” She questions his manhood and motivates Macbeth by saying he will be much more than a man if he does what she wants. Another method she uses to manipulate is questioning Macbeth’s power and bringing out the weak parts of his character. “Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full of the milk of kindness… Art not without ambition but without the illness should attend.” She degrades Macbeth’s character by comparing it with her own character “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear”. With all the properties of her personality and her manipulative methods she tries to bring out the courage in her husband so that her evil plans will come true. “And screw your courage to the sticking-place and we’ll not fail!” In the play opposite to her feminity, Lady Macbeth reveals extreme cruelty in her own personality and acts. She is ready to the all kind of cruel and evil things in order to reach his goal. “How tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out.” This quote shows us how cruel Lady Macbeth can be when she wants something; she is even ready to kill and “dash the brains out” of a new born baby in order to reach his goal. We can also notice her cruelty and selfishness from the way that she views murder. She thinks murdering someone is just a small, unimportant deed that could be done and then cleared with a little bit of water. “A little water clears us of this deed: How easy is it then!” She doesn’t think about the person that just lost his/her life or the relatives of the person who was murdered. However, late in the play she understands murdering someone isn’t something that could be just cleared away by washing your hands and ironically her suicide is caused by her cruel underestimation of murder and death. A third characteristic of Lady Macbeth is her great ambition and determination. When she decides to do something nothing can stand on her way and she is ready to anything to destroy the obstacles. She is also very strong minded; unlike her husband Macbeth she doesn’t change her mind when she is decides to do something. Before killing Duncan, Macbeth pauses for a while to reconsider their plans about killing the king and he even decides to “proceed no further in this business”. However unlike Macbeth, Lady Macbeth doesn’t hesitate even for a second and with a great determination persuades Macbeth to continue in this bloody deed. This clearly shows us the difference between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; she is determinant and ready to deal with any obstacles on her way to reaching her goal. Lady Macbeth, one of the most powerful and scary female characters of Shakespeare, displays a manipulative, cruel and ambitious character and plays a crucial role in the course of bloody events. Despite all her ambition, manipulation and cruelty on the way to become a queen, her conscience begins to disturb her and she begins to show weakness in her character. She experiences a dramatic change in her character which leads, first to sleep-walking and then to suicide. Through the magnificent characterization and psychological transformation of Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare gives us the message that even if we deceive other people we can never deceive our self and our conscience will always judge us when we do something wrong.