Lady Macbeth: Guilty or Innocent?

Topics: Macbeth, King Duncan, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 4 (1276 words) Published: March 27, 2003
In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth; one of the leading roles is Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is the wife of Macbeth, a warrior and cousin of King Duncan. As the play progresses and the plot thickens, Lady Macbeth changes. Her actions change, her words change, her personality changes, and her motivations change. Now the real question is; is Lady Macbeth guilty or innocent?

Upon Lady Macbeth's first appearance in the play she is very affectionate towards her husband. She reads her letter of endearment from her husband and is the symbol of innocence. The second her husband arrives at their home, however, Lady Macbeth jumps on her and tells him what to do. As the conversation continues Lady Macbeth literally tells her husband that he is not a man. The exact words she uses are:

When you durst do it, then you were a man;

And to be more that what you were, you would

Be so much more the man. (Macbeth I.vii.49-53).

It is evident that Lady Macbeth is not as innocent as she first appears. Lady Macbeth is also guilty when she is learning about Duncan's murder. She is so shocked by the discovery that she faints and is tended to. The biggest factor to Lady Macbeth's guilt though is her sleepwalking. She is sleepwalking and trying to wash her hands of the blood from Duncan's murder. Lady Macbeth screams to no one while sleepwalking. Are these the acts of an innocent woman?

What Lady Macbeth does not do also proves her guilt or innocence. In the very beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth allows others to do the dirty work that she herself cannot do. She allows her husband to kill Duncan; she herself does not commit the murder. Lady Macbeth tells her husband that she cannot kill Duncan because he looks so much like her father. This non-action makes Lady Macbeth appear just as guilty as if she were to do the murder herself. Lady Macbeth does not confess her guilt to her husband as well. Instead, Lady Macbeth sleepwalks throughout the night and refuses to confess...
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