Anna -Traits of Lady Macbeth

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth: With an Introduction and Notes. Ed. Kenneth Deighton. London: Macmillan and Company 1896, Shakespeare Online, 10 Sept. 2013, Print.
This article talks about the various traits of Lady Macbeth. She is a strong character in the play. Of all Shakespeare’s female characters she stands out far beyond the rest because of her remarkable character- ambition, cruelty, strength of will and dissimulation. At the beginning of the play itself, one can understand that she has far greater strength of will than her husband. She never wavers despite of Macbeth been hesitant and distrustful of his powers. She is very ambitious, in fact when she reads her husband’s letter, she is so determined on the plan of Duncan’s murder to be pursued and nothing stops her from it until the goal of her ambition is reached. She shows her power over her husband, when he hesitates for committing the crime.
Macbeth. “If we should fail?
Lady M. We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking-place
And we’ll not fail.” I. vii. 59-61.
Another trait of hers is her dissimulation and cunningness. When she welcomes Duncan to their home, her conduct towards him shows that she is perfect in the art of dissembling. She is very capable of planning and carrying out Duncan’s murder by dissimulation and cunningness so that no suspicion would rest upon on Macbeth or herself.
“All our service
In every point twice done and then done double
Were poor and single business to contend
Against those honours deep and broad wherewith
Your majesty loads our house.” I. vi. 14-18.
Her presence of mind is commendable, in the scene where she is informed of Duncan’s intention to stay at the castle, she betrays her joy at the opportunity presented to her and when her husband returns , she stays calm and she never loses her presence of mind even in a situation like that. She even goes back and carry out the unfinished business of the plot when she discovers that Macbeth had forgotten to smear the grooms with blood. She is stronger than Macbeth in terms of mental strength, knowing her husband’s weakness; she assumes the manly part and calls upon the evil spirits to fill her.
Even though LadyMacbeth is portrayed in a devilish manner, she is still affectionate and that is proved in two of her scenes ; on the night of Duncan’s murder , it was her affectionate memory for her dead father which alone made her pause in the midst of the crime. She is not selfish but rather her whole ambition is for her husband. She proves to be a devoted wife throughout the play.
Her character and the strength of her will are evident throughout the play; but the climax surprises us all. During day she continues to be the mistress of her emotions, but during night ‘her fear-infected mind to the deaf pillow will discharge its secrets. She is affected by her deeds and goes into a traumatic condition; her unnaturally strained conscience and power of dissimulation avenge themselves during her sleep, and the somnambulist, self-betraying, acts as it were all the secret guilty scenes over again. In the torture of her hardened heart she complains with groans of anguish that the smell and stain of blood will never wash away. She ends her life with suicide. To conclude, Lady Macbeth is a distinguished character in the Shakespeare’s Macbeth not only because she is been portrayed as a strong character but also because she is in a way breaking the stereotypes of women. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth appears as a calm, gentle person, but later reveals her true nature to be a demon behind a mask. Unlike many of his other plays where the female roles are portrayed as weak and helpless individuals inferior to men, a new character merges. Lady Macbeth reveals that women are equivalent to men; even superior in some cases. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the audience is introduced to Lady Macbeth who opposes the stereotypical woman and leads the mediocre Macbeth into darkness. However, since Lady Macbeth is ravenous for power, uses manipulative tactics, and femininity, she has led herself to her disappointing demise.
In the beginning, Lady Macbeth appears as a calm, gentle person, but later reveals her true nature to be a demon behind a mask.


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