Table of Contents
A Loving Wife
In the play, Lady Macbeth is the wife of the protagonist Macbeth and one of the most powerful presences of a female character in literature.
She is introduced to us in the play reading a letter from her husband who calls her his “dearest partner of greatness.” It tells us of their successful partnership in life and love.
She presents us the limitation which a woman faces who wants to achieve like a man in a culture fashioned after norms created by men for men. So, in her very first soliloquy, one can see her successfully describing the attributes of ambition normally reserved for a man and despairing over the fact.
Ruthless & Manipulative
Lady Macbeth is ruthless. She is equipped with the tools apt for acquiring power. She truly believes her husband will be crowned but she fears his nature which is “full of the milk of human kindness.”
She suppresses everything traditionally aligned with femininity. In her own words, everything her husband lacks after the aid of fate and metaphysical forces, she makes it up with “the valour of her tongue.”
In a very effective manner, she manipulates her husband out of calls of his conscience. The tools she employs is that of the female. She is perhaps more ambitious and power-hungry than Macbeth and in order to be so she is full of single-minded cruelty too. In a very conventional manner, she mocks the manhood of Macbeth which makes him override his moral hesitations.
Her character tells us of the restraints imposed upon a female personality due to gender-based preconceptions. Her character is constantly trying to “unsex” itself and she asks spirits for her blood to “make thick” and “stop up the access and passage to remorse.” In a very anti-mother way, she wants to stop having any feminine feelings and sensitivity.
The sharp non-conformity in her character brings her very close in similarity to the three witches in the play. She has an empowered sense to defy established authority, it is proved by the way she designs the murder of King Duncan without allowing any guilt or inhibition of fear.
A Powerful Lady
She has the faculty of power reserved for a man and when Macbeth questions his actions, she shouts, “what beast wasn’t, then, that made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.”
Towards the last two acts in the play, her strength gives in, her ambition descends into guilt and further into madness and death. The knowledge of misdeeds done by her husbands under her fast provocations disintegrates her psyche.
She finally confesses her crimes and her death shocks Macbeth into a realm in which he finally loses himself. The character of Lady Macbeth is the guiding support to the character of Macbeth.