Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth character analysis

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1056
Topics: Macbeth, 📗 Book, 🧔 William Shakespeare
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Introduction

The definition of the dynamic character is the following: “It is a person that undergoes severe character changes or revelations throughout the story.” Lady Macbeth is perceived as a perfect example of such a character.

At the opening of the play Macbeth, written by the world-famous playwright William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth can be seen as a highly ambitious and manipulative person, implying an overall sinister-like personality. However, as the play continues, Macbeth’s wife changes from a smug lady concerned with gaining more power to one who seems regretful of their actions.

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Who Is Lady Macbeth

Through her interactions and statements, the reader views her transformation from a sinister being into a guilty soul. In the play’s opening, Lady Macbeth is a highly manipulative individual who essentially has enough power to overturn her husband’s conscience and impact his motives. It is evident through the events that ultimately led to the death of King Duncan. Lady Macbeth insults her husband’s manhood by stating: “What beast was’t then that made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man…”.

This statement supports the argument about heroin’s manipulative manner, providing crucial insights into Lady Macbeth’s character. Additionally, this attack on Macbeth introduces a vital theme of the play: the correlation between gender and violence. Lady Macbeth connects masculinity to violence, so she has to resort to effective measures to achieve her goals. She claims he is not manly enough because he hesitates to murder the King. The snarky tone reveals how dominating Lady Macbeth is in their marriage. During the later part of the play, Macbeth succumbs to the darkness of betrayal and bloodshed. It consequently also intensifies her fiendish attributes.

Lady Macbeth can override all her husband’s hesitation and manipulate him into committing these cruel acts. Through persuasion and unconstructive criticism, she manipulates her husband, suggesting evil and sinister-like deeds, the ones Lady Macbeth can’t commit herself.

Who Makes Lady Macbeth a Negative Character

There is a specified affinity between manipulation and ambition in this story. Lady Macbeth’s ambition pushes her to persuade her husband to murder innocent people. The first example of her decision is evident in her monologue: “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promised.”  Ironically, this tone does not save this character but, on the contrary, makes the reader alert of her. This event draws the reader’s curiosity and creates a feeling of anticipation of something evil happening with the characters in the following parts of the play.

Hence, the reader can indicate the critical role that Macbeth’s wife plays in the build-up of darkness later on. Despite everything mentioned earlier, the preliminary example of Lady’s ambitious behavior is noticeable in the plot for her husband to become King. As proclaimed by the witches, Macbeth would become a King eventually. However, how this would become a reality is never discussed until Lady Macbeth is introduced to the audience. When the reader is first presented to her, she asks for spirits to “unsex me,” as followed by the quote: “The language suggests that her womanhood, represented by breasts and milk, which are usually symbols of a nurturer, prevents her from performing acts of violence and cruelty, which she associates with manliness.” These words reinforce the essential link between gender and violence explained in the play.

This statement displays her enormous ambition to become queen, demonstrating she will go to any lengths to accomplish her final goal. The plan designed by Lady Macbeth also shows her great ambition to become Queen of Scotland. Lady Macbeth expresses to Macbeth: “O, never shall sun that morrow see!” referring to the murder of King Duncan, which provides yet another evidence of her great ambition. Lady Macbeth is so overwhelmed by her ambitions that she fails to contemplate the potential consequences her actions may have on her and her husband, as well as their health and well-being. This eager and relentless ambition forces her to agree to whatever it takes, putting any morals and good judgment on pause.

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However, it is also her blind ambition that leads to her fast-approaching downfall. Aside from Lady Macbeth’s sinister tendencies, there is proof that suggests that there is a compassionate and guilty feeling individual buried inside. The first piece of evidence that this person is struggling with guilt overwhelming her is noticeable through her statement: “where our desire is got without content.” This passage refers to the queen’s lack of fulfillment and hints that all her actions are meaningless, implying remorseful feelings.

Another crucial indication of her guilt is explained when Lady Macbeth wanders around in a trance, appearing to be sleepwalking and not controlling herself. At this point in the play, we learn of her deepest regrets and guilt eating her from the inside with every step she takes.

It is evident when we hear her saying: “Out, damned spot,” indicating that she cannot wash the blood she has off her hands. These actions play a central role in reinforcing another theme: appearance versus reality (Lady Macbeth appears wide awake while she is near unconsciousness). These guilty feelings inherently lead to her downfall via her suicide. She is paying the tremendous cost for her actions out of greed and ambition by taking her own life.

Here lies the truth about this particular character: Lady Macbeth experiences a change of heart, resulting in objective evidence that she indeed is a dynamic character. But, unfortunately, that switch takes place too late, as it can no longer save the woman from the death she deserved for her selfish actions.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, based on Lady Macbeth’s interactions with other characters and statements made throughout the play, the reader gains tremendous insight into her true character. As the play progresses and character revelation happens, we see her change from a profoundly ambitious and persuasive individual hoping to gain more power to a regretful and remorseful soul not knowing how to handle the weight of their previous actions. It thereby proves that Lady Macbeth is a dynamic character. The change has created a sense of sympathy in the eyes of the reader, and consequently, her actions cause her ultimate death, a perfect ending.

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