To What Extent is Lady Macbeth a `fiend like queen'?

Categories: Macbeth

To understand this question we must first understand the meaning of fiend, the dictionary definition of this word is: Fiend: a devil: one actuated by the most intense wickedness or hate: an addict: a devotee With this as a guide we can relate to what is in the play, and where Lady Macbeth speaks we can match it against what she means with these words, this will be able to answer our main question and be able to back with discussion.

The theme of the play is ambition, murder and love. We first look at Act one and the last three scenes five, six and seven, this is where the Lady is introduced and starts to play her role. We can see in the first of these scenes straight away, show her strength, she receives a letter about how her husband has been confronted by the three witches and told of how that they "hail, king shalt be!" she talks to herself saying "Glamis thou art, and cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promised" from this we can see how much she wants her husband to be in power, because she knows with this she will become stronger and more powerful with it, she is ambitious and very focused in these first few thoughts.

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As the messenger enters and then leaves leaving the news of "the king comes here tonight" begins to make the lady think some more, she tells herself "the raven himself is hoarse" making us think that she is a nasty piece of work, black and evil.

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She knows this is the perfect place for power to come to her and her husband, she feels this is the "fatal entrance of Duncan" she thinks with her power and her mental strength he will not leave here alive and they will gain control of everything. In her castle is where she can work best " under her battlements" is where they gain this power, for this she need to loose all of a woman's thoughts and feelings, she prays to the spirits: "to unsex me here, and fill with me the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty; make thick my blood" The audience, at this point can see her thoughts, and realise that a plot to kill the king is being hatched and that Lady Macbeth will do everything in her power to make this succeed.

In scene six the king enters Macbeth's castle and is taken under this beautiful and protruding lady of innocence, she tells the king " in every point twice done, and then double done", saying she has made this castle his home and made sure everything is right for him. But Duncan is more interested in Macbeth himself and asks, "where's the thane of cawdor" but still makes comment of the lady's hospitality. He then again praises the Lady "give me your hand conduct to mine host we love him highly, and shall continue our graces towards him. By your leave, hostess" She is a good actor and lured the king into a false sense of security, he now thinks everything is perfect and he is in the most safe and capable hands he can be in. As of course his right hand man Macbeth will stand by his side. Scene seven is a key turning point; this is where Lady Macbeth is at her best and her strongest.

This is also the stage where the control and power of the Lady is all on her side and where Macbeth relies on her solemnly. If she is to succeed with her plan it will be decided now. After the first encounter with the wife he takes a moment alone and thinks of what the lady had said earlier "if it were done, when `tis done, then `twere well it were done quickly" he thinks it must be done fast, get it out of the way. But he feels that this killing cannot be just like the battlefield otherwise "this blow might be the be-all and the end-all" for the king, him and everybody else in the land. His thoughts run wild but he still faces the consequences if there were any, and "we still have judgement here" this tells us that he has a conscious and loves his king like a brother. As his subject he should not be the one killing him, as a guest in the castle he should be protecting him "who should against his murderer shut the door" again showing that he feels he cannot betray the king even for the power he would receive. Macbeth also talks of no reason to do it, and himself cannot think of one reason to do it he says "that's tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur.

To prick the side of intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'er-leaps itself And falls on the other" This passage tells him and us that only ambition will only drive him to murder the king and gain his power, and he feels that this is not good enough and is not the reason he is looking for and needs. Macbeth still on this question of murder, is confronted by the lady and she then begins to play the pressure game: "From this time such I account thy love. Art thou afeared to be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art desire" Got him thinking, wavering in power, but also putting an ultimatum she is really saying if you love me you will kill him, our love is strong enough to kill and take his power. The lady has full control and power, which she has had since the start of the play. Macbeth seems to me to be week and feeble at these stages in front of his mistress, his minds restless and will be easy to control.

She will not use her hand to commit this act; there is no blood lust in her as there is in Macbeth for he is a great soldier. She then applies the greatest pressure by saying: " I have given suck, and know how tender `tis to love the babe that milks me would, while it was smiling in my face. Have pluck'd the nipple from his boneless gums and dash'd the brains out" She is telling this Macbeth to force his mind, telling him that she has had a baby, which is now dead, but if still alive would have killed it as she "had so sworn as you have done to this". This is the final blow for Macbeth and the ferocity and the one of the most intensive speeches full of hatred forces Macbeth to the limit: " if we should fail" This is the crushing for the audience and Macbeth, the question is saying if we were to do it and we would fail what would be next for us. He is on the verge of killing his king and with the wickedness of the lady there is little or nothing he can do about it.

She has been a true fiend like in these few first encounters, she wants to kill for ambition but nothing more, but she is most intense in way to power Macbeth. From the start of the murder we can already see the lack of strength in Macbeth himself; he is already having illusions as he enters near the king's chambers. He says, "is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward y hand? Come let me clutch thee" and yet of course there is nothing there, it is a figment of his imagination, he still does "have thee not, and yet I see thee still", maybe the lady's control over him and the power she has applied, pushed him too far over the boundary and is now even showing early signs of insanity. The murder is now done, but within this first day of the murder there is already a sign of the power change and the control change.

Not only did he kill the king, he in fact killed the guards in the morning and said that, "o yet I do repent me of my fury that I did kill them" he says this to try and cover up the act and blame it on the guards. By saying: "who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to makes Love known?" This was well said to by Macbeth, to say that he loved the king so much he had to kill the murders because the love that he had for the king gave him courage to avenge the death of Duncan But Lady Macbeth still thinks that, " a little water clears us of this deed" she now has the power that she wanted with being the Queen but still wants to rid the fact that she thought of this plan and had anything to do with it. At the start of the play Lady Macbeth was an addict for ambition and strived to do her best and succeed but in doing this, has forced Macbeth to be a stronger man himself, and the evil and power that the lady fed him has given him new strength and goals to achieve.

As the Queen sits by, Macbeth begins to secure his position on the throne and sets to hire mercenaries, for him to be safe "our fears in Banquo stick deep and in his royalty of nature reins that which would be feared" for him to be safe the roots of Banquo must be eliminated because he is something that Macbeth must fear. Also he must conquer other people who are threats to his throne, even the men that have fought with him in battle are now his prime targets, Banquo and McDuff are favourites but also the king's sons are a major threat for the future as they get older and more power is passed on to them. Without the Queen he hires two murders and tells them that "both of you know Banquo was your enemy" this is the first stages of Macbeth's to eliminate his rivals.

He know feeds off the power of killing and not the Lady, her evil has gone and was left behind in Macbeth. As he plans to kill Banquo, he tell his killers to keep him as far away as possible to any link "always thought that require a clearness and to leave no rubs nor botches"; this is said to his killers to keep the king safe from suspicion, he doesn't want mistakes and does not want them bungling anything. When the Lady finds out about his charade she tells Macbeth "what's done is done" but for the King it is not, he must feel secure and for him to do this he must wipe all known threats to the throne. Macbeth although now evil, does not feel his evil is powerful enough " we have scorched the snake, not killed it" his evil was weak before he killed Duncan and is now in threat again of becoming feeble but he says this will heal up and "she'll close and be herself", meaning that he feels that a wound of weakness has opened but will heal up soon.

Lady Macbeth is now on her downfall, Macbeth now controls the amount of talking, and he is now overpowering the Queen; she has now little to do with her husband, he has grown a blood lust and is now intending to feed it with the deaths of Banquo and probably McDuff or his family. With the Queen now playing down her part, she still protects the king on the night of her banquet where the death of Banquo was placed. His son Fleance hath escaped from the kings Murders but know the king faces two final challenges, as the night moves on the king is asked "may it please your highness sit?" then as Macbeth moves towards to the chair the harrowing figure of the dieing Banquo as a ghost appears: "here had we now our country's honour roof'd where the grac'd person of our Banquo present" His conscience still playing apart, forces the image of Banquo in his mind forcing to shout in this madness, with Lennox and the lords saying that no one is at there he is still deluded and says "which of you have done this", "thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me" he has now really astounded his members with this profound argument that someone is sitting in his seat.

But Lady Macbeth still in control of her mind and thought s quickly resumes the problem: "sit worthy friend: my lord is often thus and hath been from his youth" She covered for the king by saying he has had a mental illness from his early age also saying by ignoring him he will regain his thoughts quicker. Also by the lords noticing him he will be offend him " and extend his passion". When the ghost disappears he regains himself and tells his lords "to those that know me. Come, love and health to all" trying to rectify the situation he has placed himself in, his wife has calmly put the situation to one side and has been able to let the king get on with business.

This side does not resemble a "fiend like queen" at all; she has stood up for the king and protected him from any kind of rumours that could have been caused by this. Unfortunately towards the end of the play the Queen begins to suffer in health and mind, she starts to perform every day tasks in her sleep, in her sleep walk " she rubs her hands" the doctor says this resembles the action of "washing her hands" and with her speaking as well while she performs these tasks mentioning "yet here's a spot". These spots being blood on her hands from the killing she begins to get more furious about it "out, damned spot! Out I say one; two: why then `tis time to do't" the one and two being the rings of the bells which symbolises the death of Duncan to her.

In scene five the price of her conquest is shown, as she becomes more and more mentally ill; there is to be only one outcome and that is to be felt harshly by the King himself, "to hear a night shriek" he cried then the news came "the queen my lord is dead" and with this he replied "she should have died hereafter" meaning she would have died sometime or other this shows that he still has the little bit of evil left in him, although the scream in the air still puts the hairs on his back on end. The queen is now dead and her ambition to become the Queen was reached but short lived. With the question of the queen being a `fiend' one is still unsure, her power and control over Macbeth at the beginning was cruel and evil with the way she went about it.

She fed him with evil and strength he did not have as a man and used what he had as a soldier to pressure him into the killing of Duncan. Once after that she lost power over him, he fed off the kill, off his threats and the evil from the three witches which did then prophesy his downfall. From the way she was slowly diminished of her power I do not think that she is a `fiend' like queen, her killing at the start was for love and power which I think most of the lords and the commanders of his armies all dream of and with Macbeth with a chance to take it did and took it quickly but his lust for blood and with the insanity of the Queen growing by the day there was little left for these two lovers.

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To What Extent is Lady Macbeth a `fiend like queen'?. (2017, Oct 22). Retrieved from

To What Extent is Lady Macbeth a `fiend like queen'?
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