Lady Macbeth Is Worthy of Praise
Prometheus is known for his rebellious choice to give fire to humanity and thus the value of his character is rarely acknowledged. Prometheus is a God in Greek mythology that sacrificed what he knew to be right for those which he loved. It is evident that Prometheus posses admirable qualities that define his character, and his choices exclusively define his situation. In Macbeth, William Shakespeare depicts Lady Macbeth as a woman who is irrational and makes wrong choices, yet upon closer scrutiny, Lady Macbeth should actually be praised for her passion and her wisdom.
Although she allows her ambitions for her husband to override her moral compass, it is these same harsh decisions that ultimately impart great wisdom to her. Like the Greek myth of Prometheus in which he gives humans fire to enhance civilization, Lady Macbeth’s immoral actions are motivated by her desire to enhance the life of her husband. This comes at a great personal cost to Lady Macbeth. Parallel to Prometheus’ lesson, there is much to admire in the cautionary tale of Lady Macbeth: to live a life with passion and understanding is more meaningful than to live a life with no errors and no wisdom.
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First Lady Macbeth remains completely dedicated to Macbeth despite his unbridled hunger for power. Her love is unconditional, and her complete devotion to him as a wife is admirable. Moreover, Macbeth has little inner strength without Lady Macbeth’s strong mentality to bolster him. It is her counsel and aid that ensure he is able to act to seize the kingship. Finally, it is Lady Macbeth’s ability to obtain wisdom from her mistakes-to understand the nature of Divine justice-that solidifies her as a passionate character worthy of praise.
Lady Macbeth’s wifely devotion defines her not only as an admirable person but also as an admirable wife. Many women support their husbands, but very few are so devoted they are willing to sacrifice their lives for their husband’s well being. In order to help Macbeth follow through on the murder of Duncan and receive the power that is “rightfully” his, Lady Macbeth called to the “spirits that tend on mortal thoughts” to “unsex [her] [and] fill [her] with direst cruelty”(1:5:40-43). Lady Macbeth sacrifices her feminine qualities and dissolves her compassion and empathy in order to fully support her husband.
Lady Macbeth is a woman who acts on her own choices, she is passionate about her husband and chooses to help him despite the extreme personal sacrifice. Macbeth brutally murders his cousin and superior, King Duncan, and Lady Macbeth helps to clean up the evidence. She chooses to do this because Macbeth loses his mental stability at the sheer thought of what he has done. She asks Macbeth to “give [her] the daggers [and is reprimanding him for having] “the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil”(2:2:53-55).
By taking on the spiritual challenge that coincides with Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth shows her complete devotion to her husband. She took a risk by planting the bloody daggers on the servants because she could have been blamed for the entire murder if she was caught. This sacrifice clearly displayed that she was not only willing to risk her spiritual safety for her husband, but her physical safety as well. Thus, Lady Macbeth took great risks for her husbands benefit. Such unflinching devotion to her husband is worthy of admiration.
During the Shakespearean era it was unheard of for a woman to possess the strength of character exhibited by Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth has the strength to act on her convictions without indecision. Specifically, Lady Macbeth resolves to aid Macbeth in his murderous pursuit and immediately acts on her decision. Moreover,While cleaning her bloody hands Lady Macbeth speaks to her husband about how she does not tolerate his indecision over the murder. ”My hands are of your colour:but I shame To wear a heart so white”(3:2:63-64).
Likewise, Lady Macbeth shows her strength of character in permitting herself to feel guilty for her sinful actions. Shortly after the murder of MacDuff’s Family, Lady Macbeth’s comments on her remorse while sleep walking. ”Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. ”( 5:1:50-53). Her ability to take on responsibility displays her strong mentality. She can accept her mistakes and take a strong lesson from them. Lady Macbeth’s strength causes her to grow into a wiser person, and this quality presents her as a character worthy of praise.
As the play concludes, Lady Macbeth’s wisdom is evident in her clear grasp of divine justice. During a sleep walking scenario, Lady Macbeth speaks of how she no longer fears human persecution because she understands that “hell is murky” and eternal life is her only concern (5:1:26). Lady Macbeth understands the power of the divine order;that God alone has the power to pass judgment on her. Thus, she no longer feels the need to fear who knows about her cruel actions. “What need we fear knows it,when none can call our power to account”(5:1:37-38).
It is this realization that signals that Lady Macbeth has changed her perspective. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth has influenced her husband to be ambitious for power to the point where he discards his morals. She does this with great reason – she believes that societal power is vital. She later comes to the conclusion that she was mistaken and moral power defines eternal life and takes precedence over societal power. Lady Macbeth leaves the world with a strong understanding of divine justice and divine retribution. Her cruel acts ultimately lead to her inner wisdom, proving her praise worthy.
Lady Macbeth was completely devoted to the man she loved, had unique inner strength and held a thorough understanding of human justice. These admirable qualities identify her as a character deserving of praise. Discovering one’s inner self is the most important journey in life. Despite the path that Lady Macbeth takes to discover herself, she understands how to be passionate, wise, and morally connected at the end of her life. These characteristics are what define Lady Macbeth, and not her wrong choices. Overall, Lady Macbeth holds a specific type of intelligence: she was not logical as she was passionate.
To live a passionately fulfilling life is superior to living a life with no passion and thus no wisdom at all. Lady Macbeth has the intelligence to fully identify this. Lady Macbeth made wrong decisions that lead to dire consequences. If she had not made mistakes she would have left her life in ignorance of proper morals. Prometheus, like Lady Macbeth, chose to act against what he knew to be right. Lady Macbeth discards her morals for her husband, and Prometheus gave fire to humans and turned against Zeus. Both of these wrong decisions lead to Prometheus’s and Lady Macbeth’s understanding of moral goodness.
Prometheus repented for his rebellion by receiving physical punishment, Lady Macbeth repented for her rebellion by receiving spiritual punishment. The purpose of life is to discover the value of goodness and the emptiness of evil. Although Lady Macbeth and Prometheus did not have a restful ending, they lived with full understanding of the consequences of their moral decisions. Lady Macbeth is wise, and to be wise is to be worthy of praise.
Page Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Washington Press, 1992. Print.