The Downfall Of Lady Macbeth

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The Downfall of Lady MacbethMacbeth is a play full of magic, mystery, and murder. The variety ofplots, as well as the interesting characters, force the reader to pay fullattention at all times. Unfortunately, one of these characters is a victim ofher own imagination. Although Lady Macbeth adds much positive flavour to theplay, her character is revealed through her aggressive attitude with her husband,her inhumane disregard for life, and her guilty conscience.

Lady Macbeth is very assertive when dealing with her husband’shesitations about murdering Duncan:”O never shall sun that morrow see! Your face… is as a book where men May read strange matters. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flowerBut be the serpent under’t.”This urging causes Macbeth to possess black and deep desires’, which lead himto murder the king. She takes it upon herself to pressure him and therefore,her bold character is revealed. Macbeth’s intentions would have been lessserious if his wife was not more anxious than he was. She, more than herhusband, is to blame for the death of King Duncan, due to her relentless pursuitof power and authority.

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Lady Macbeth is a heartless fiend with an savage disregard for life.

This is evident in the manner in which she downplays the murder of Duncan to herhusband:”A little water clears us of this deed; How easy is it, then! Your constancy Hath left you unattended…

Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us, And show us to be watchers. Be not lostSo poorly in your thoughts.”She tries to make Macbeth believe that committing the murder was not a viciousdeed and that washing their hands will wash away all the guilt. Macbethexclaims that “all Neptune’s ocean” will not wash the blood from his hands.

Lady Macbeth appears at this point to be a ruthless killer working on behalf ofthe prince of darkness, which solidifies her character and gives the audiencenew insights to her psychological state.

The audience is lead to believe that Lady Macbeth will never feel anyguilt concerning the murder, but her guilty conscience is displayed near the endof the play. She begins to sleepwalk and relive the murder in her mind:”Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two; why, thentis time to do’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord–fie!a soldier, and afeard?”Lady Macbeth’s character seems somewhat stable until this scene and is it nowthat we learn that she is mentally ill. The doctor and the Gentlewoman witnessher exploits and they are the first people to discover that the murder of KingDuncan was committed by Macbeth with the help of his wife. The guilt of themurder has become unbearable for her, to the point of taking her own life “byself and violent hands”. The characteristics of her personality become obviouswith her death, leaving the audience free to form various opinions about her.

During the course of the play, we see the disintegration of LadyMacbeth’s solid character, through her actions with her husband, her ownopinions of first-degree murder, and finally watching her try to cope withobvious guilt. Her downfall is complete when she kills herself, appearing to bea case of severe mental anguish. Her tragedy is now one that is shared aroundthe world by millions of Shakespeare’s faithful followers.

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