To What extent is Lady Macbeth Pure evil? Do you agree?

Topics: Macbeth, Core issues in ethics, Evil Pages: 4 (919 words) Published: October 11, 2005
Throughout Shakespeare's "Macbeth", Lady Macbeth is consistently depicted as one of Shakespeare's most evil and frightening female characters, however, she is only evil to the extent of lacking the judgement of her behaviour. Pure Evil can be defined as having only 'inhumane' qualities or constantly being morally depraved. Two of Lady Macbeth's main qualities expressed are ambition and guilt. These qualities are perfectly humane, however it is her choices of how to achieve this ambition, through manipulation and cruelty that gives her some evil qualities.

Ambition is one of the qualities expressed by Lady Macbeth when she is first introduced in the play. Ambition is a part of human nature and being ambitious can be defined as being 'eager for success'. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter from Macbeth, she was ambitious for Macbeth, her husband, to become everything that he can be, while she was also aware of the "illness" that should attend ambition.

"Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be

What thou art promised; yet I do fear thy nature,

It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness...

Hie thee hither,

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear

And chastise with the valour of my tongue..."

This can appear as ruthless and evil, yet it also shows Lady Macbeth's loyalty and love for Macbeth. Just as Macbeth is ambitious for the throne, Lady Macbeth is driven to assist him and for this reason, Lady Macbeth cannot be considered pure evil.

One of the ways Lady Macbeth chooses to achieve her ambition is through manipulation. Lady Macbeth herself is the driving force behind Macbeth's actions. She manipulates Macbeth with remarkable effectiveness and overrode all the objections of his conscience. She uses blackmail and repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit the murder of Duncan to prove himself:

"...From this time,

Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard

To be the same in thine own act and valour

As thou...
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