Lady Macbeth: A Wife in Support of Her Husband
One of the main characters in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, has been an object of intense criticism. Although sometimes regarded as cruel and vile, evidence exists that Shakespeare did not intend for her to be judged so harshly. By evaluating her character in relation to her actions, her overall relationship with Macbeth, and her death, we can see that Shakespeare quite possibly wanted Lady Macbeth to be judged in association with the actions of Macbeth. What appears to others as ruthlessness and ambition, is really her loyalty and love for him. Just as Macbeth is ambitious for the throne, so is Lady Macbeth driven to assist him. All of her actions are done out of devotion and allegiance to Macbeth.
Throughout the play, the character of Lady Macbeth is developed through her actions, which reveal her inner cravings. She plays the important role of one who gives incentive to Macbeth, as well as one who supports him through difficult times. She is the catalyst who starts Macbeth's thinking. She possesses an aspect which cares for the future of her husband, and therefore inspires him to pursue the possibilities. More important than advocating actions to take the kingship, Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to remain strong. When his weaknesses appear, she remains firm. Because of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth achieves success. Once set on attaining the crown, Lady Macbeth pushes Macbeth to remain valiant and assists him in his pursuits. The goals of Macbeth become her aspirations as well. When Macbeth informs Lady Macbeth of his new found glory, she immediately begins thinking of the possibilities that lie in the future. Her initial desire to help Macbeth take the crown becomes clear when she speaks, "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" (I.v.26-30). Although it...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Elements of Literature. Ed. Robert Anderson et al.
6 volumes. Austin: Holt, 1989. 6: 254-329.
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