Character Analysis of Lady Macbeth
Character of Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth is one of the most fascinating and complex characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth.” She is the wife of the titular character, Macbeth, who becomes consumed by ambition and a thirst for power. Lady Macbeth is often described as the driving force behind her husband’s actions, and her character undergoes a significant transformation over the course of the play. In this essay, we will explore Lady Macbeth’s character in detail, analyzing her motivations, her relationships with other characters, and the role she plays in the play’s themes.
At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is presented as a powerful, ambitious woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. She is fiercely loyal to her husband and is determined to help him become king, even if it means taking drastic measures. Lady Macbeth’s first soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 5, reveals her desire for power and her willingness to manipulate her husband to achieve it. She says, “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, / Stop up the access and passage to remorse.” This quotation shows that Lady Macbeth is willing to give up her feminine qualities in order to become more ruthless and determined.
Lady Macbeth’s relationship with her husband is also an important aspect of her character. She is deeply in love with him and is willing to do anything to help him achieve his goals. However, as the play progresses, their relationship becomes strained as Macbeth becomes more and more consumed by his ambition. She tries to support him and convince him to stay true to his goals, but she is unable to control him completely. This is evident in Act 3, Scene 4, when Lady Macbeth tries to comfort her husband after he sees the ghost of Banquo. She says, “Are you a man? / …This is the very painting of your fear; / This is the air-drawn dagger which you said / Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts, / Impostors to true fear, would well become / A woman’s story at a winter’s fire, / Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!” This quotation shows Lady Macbeth’s frustration with her husband’s weakness and her attempt to shame him into action.
Lady Macbeth’s character undergoes a significant transformation over the course of the play. At the beginning, she is a strong, confident woman who is determined to help her husband achieve his goals. However, as the play progresses, she becomes more and more consumed by guilt and despair. This is evident in Act 5, Scene 1, when Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and trying to wash the imaginary bloodstains from her hands. She says, “Out, damned spot! out, I say! – One: two: why, / then, ’tis time to do’t.– Hell is murky! – Fie, my / lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we / fear who knows it, when none can call our power to / account? – Yet who would have thought the old man / to have had so much blood in him.” This shows Lady Macbeth’s guilt and her realization that her actions have had terrible consequences.
In conclusion, Lady Macbeth is a complex and fascinating character who plays a crucial role in the play’s themes of ambition, power, and guilt. She is a strong, ambitious woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. However, as the play progresses, her character undergoes a significant transformation as she becomes consumed by guilt and despair. Lady Macbeth’s relationship with her husband is also an important aspect of her character, as it highlights the struggles and conflicts that arise from their shared ambition. Through her character, Shakespeare explores the dangers of unchecked ambition and the devastating effects that guilt and remorse can have on the human psyche. Lady Macbeth’s iconic quotes, such as “Out, damned spot!” and “What’s done cannot be undone,” have become enduring symbols of the play’s themes and the complexities of human nature.
Read More: Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Written by Koushik Kumar Kundu
Koushik Kumar Kundu was among the toppers when he completed his Masters from Vidyasagar University after completing his Bachelors degree with Honours in English Literature from The University of Burdwan. He also completed B.Ed from the University of Burdwan.