The Controversial Character of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth

In most literary works, there is often an accomplice assisting the protagonist. Sometimes the helper is the mastermind. Such is the case in Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare. Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and frightening female characters. She is a more evil character than her husband. This is portrayed through her ambition and determination, manipulation and ruthlessness.

From the start and throughout the play, the reaction to the witches’ prophecies about Macbeth becoming king meant two different things to both husband and wife.

Macbeth writes to his wife, to inform her, and she responds “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promised” in her soliloquy. She means to take action and starts to plan out how Macbeth will murder King Duncan. Though Macbeth hesitates, Lady Macbeth stays firm on her intention “But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.” At one point, she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself.

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She intends to get Macbeth crowned king, so that she would be queen and intends to get what she wants by any means necessary. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s ambition and determination is driven from her wickedness.

Lady Macbeth plays a major role in influencing her husband to take the path that he does. She is the key which effectively unleashed Macbeth’s true side of evil. When Macbeth declares that he no longer intends to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth, outraged, targets his manhood: “When you durst do it,” she says, “then you were a man.

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” In the soliloquy, she says “unsex me here”, to strip her off her feminism and make her more like a man, so that she could murder Duncan herself. This is a form of manipulation as well, making her seem more masculine as to belittle Macbeth. Lady Macbeth invokes her supposed masculine ‘virtues’ for cruel, dark purposes.

Lady Macbeth is more ruthless than her husband and her ruthlessness is what fueled Duncan’s murder. “My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white.” Quoted by Lady Macbeth, this implies her showing no traces of remorse, and assuring Macbeth that it is fine and to stop feeling guilty. Also when she says “Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under ’t”, this shows us how she is telling him to be: he must be like the devil—all smiles on the outside but secretly prepared to strike treacherously. This exactly how she is! Thus, Lady Macbeth’s ruthlessness another key reason for her evil character.

To conclude, Lady Macbeth is a more evil character than her husband, in the Shakespearean play ‘Macbeth’. This is shown through her ambition and determination, manipulation and ruthlessness.

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The Controversial Character of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth. (2020, Sep 23). Retrieved from

The Controversial Character of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth

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