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9/30/2018

Character of Lady Macbeth


   Introduction:  It will be unfair on the part of a reader to judge the character of Lady Macbeth merely by her outward appearance. A close scrutiny of her character will indeed establish her as one of the most sublime tragic heroines of Shakespeare simply by virtue of her grandeur and strength. Much of her behavior in the play seems to be pretended and meant to bolster the dropping spirit of her husband. She acts as a guiding force to her weak husband and helps in giving intensity and completeness to the tragedy. In reality she is not just a cruel monster but is human and endowed with the natural tenderness of woman – a quality she simply suppresses in order to be a foul and treacherous murder.    Love for and administration for her husband:  When Lady Macbeth makes her first appearance in the play She is seen reading a letter from her husband I which he tells her, his “dearest partner of greatness”, of his success in battle, the prediction of the Witches and their partial fulfillment. In her comments on the letter she expresses her admiration for his greatness, and wishes for him all that he wishes for himself. But her interest in him and his career is totally unselfish. She makes these wicked plans , not for her own benefit, but for her husband’s advancement. Aware of her husband’s weakness, she is determined to further the schemes by using the whole force of her superior will rlto lead him into prompt Action:  “Hie thee hither,  That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,  And chastise with the valour of my tongue  All that impedes thee from the golden round,  To have thee crown'd withal”.    She is even prepared to sacrifice her femininity and her humanity to give “solely sovereign way and Masterdom” to her husband. Again we find her concern for Macbeth in Act III, Sc. II , when she tries to cheer up her husband and rid him of his “sorriest fancies” and tendency to keep alone.    Strength of will:  Lady Macbeth possesses “a frightful determined will” , an iron stability of resolve which is to her what imagination is to Macbeth. This feature transcends and dominates all others in her character. With the strength of this will she Influences her husband and guides his action, remedies his errors and helps him out of critical situations. Her determined will finds expression during her very first appearance in the play, in her immediate response to her husband’s letter:  “Glamis thou art, and Credit, and shalt be  What thou art promised”  But she is aware of her and her husband 's weakness. The singleness of purpose makes her determined to repress her femininity and encourage Macbeth into necessary action. Many other times of the play we find evidence of her strength of will.    Self-control and resourcefulness:  Lady Macbeth is capable of tremendous self control and practically when it comes to meeting crises. She checks all feminine sentiments when she sets about the business of preparing for Duncan’s murder. He advise to her husband is sound and practical:  “To beguile the time,  Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eyes,  Your han, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,  But be the serpent under it”  She displays the same wisdom when Macbeth, after murdering Duncan, returns to her, forgetting his excitement, to leave the dagger at the spot of the crime. She immediately perceives that the dagger and the blood on Macbeth’s hands are incriminately . So she ask him to wash the blood – “this filthy witness” – of his hands and carry the dagger back to Duncan’s chamber. She can also see the change of shifting the responsibility of the murder by screaming the faces of the grooms and blood. She then tries to jar Macbeth out of his emotional shock resulting from the crime, and when the sudden knocking at the gate is heard , she doesn’t loss her cool but can see the pressing need for quick positive action. She tell him:  “Get on your night-gown, lest occasion calls us,  And show us to be watchers – Be not lost  So poorly in your thoughts………..”  In many others time we get her this quality all through the drama.    Conscience not overwhelmed:  Despite her apparent cruelty, Lady Macbeth is certainly not without traces of conscience. She employs her strength of determination to keep  her conscience suppressed because without doing so she can never reach her goal. In Act III, scene II, her first private thought since since Duncan’s murder gives a momentary expression to her feelings of remorse at the heinous deed:  “Nought’s had, all's spent,  Where our desire is got without content   Tis safer to be that which we destroy  Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy…..”  However hard she tries to repress her conscience, gradually but surely it leads her to mental disorder. She continues this all through the play.    Uniqueness of characterization:  Lady Macbeth is undoubtedly the most fascinating character of Shakespeare. In spite of all her crimes and machinations the readers cannot help pitying her ultimate sufferings and premature death. To quote A.W. Verity again; “Lady Macbeth and Hamlet stands apart from the rest of Shakespeare’s creations in the intensity and perplexity of the interest they arouse. Of all the women Shakespeare has drawn, none exercise so strange a fascination (not event serpent of old Nile' ) as this fragile, indomitable northern Queen , who makes the great denial – denial her sex and greatly suffers , even to the death.”

Introduction:
It will be unfair on the part of a reader to judge the character of Lady Macbeth merely by her outward appearance. A close scrutiny of her character will indeed establish her as one of the most sublime tragic heroines of Shakespeare simply by virtue of her grandeur and strength. Much of her behavior in the play seems to be pretended and meant to bolster the dropping spirit of her husband. She acts as a guiding force to her weak husband and helps in giving intensity and completeness to the tragedy. In reality she is not just a cruel monster but is human and endowed with the natural tenderness of woman – a quality she simply suppresses in order to be a foul and treacherous murder.

Love for and administration for her husband:
When Lady Macbeth makes her first appearance in the play She is seen reading a letter from her husband I which he tells her, his “dearest partner of greatness”, of his success in battle, the prediction of the Witches and their partial fulfillment. In her comments on the letter she expresses her admiration for his greatness, and wishes for him all that he wishes for himself. But her interest in him and his career is totally unselfish. She makes these wicked plans , not for her own benefit, but for her husband’s advancement. Aware of her husband’s weakness, she is determined to further the schemes by using the whole force of her superior will rlto lead him into prompt Action:
“Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
To have thee crown'd withal”.

She is even prepared to sacrifice her femininity and her humanity to give “solely sovereign way and Masterdom” to her husband. Again we find her concern for Macbeth in Act III, Sc. II , when she tries to cheer up her husband and rid him of his “sorriest fancies” and tendency to keep alone.

Strength of will:
Lady Macbeth possesses “a frightful determined will” , an iron stability of resolve which is to her what imagination is to Macbeth. This feature transcends and dominates all others in her character. With the strength of this will she Influences her husband and guides his action, remedies his errors and helps him out of critical situations. Her determined will finds expression during her very first appearance in the play, in her immediate response to her husband’s letter:
“Glamis thou art, and Credit, and shalt be
What thou art promised”
But she is aware of her and her husband 's weakness. The singleness of purpose makes her determined to repress her femininity and encourage Macbeth into necessary action. Many other times of the play we find evidence of her strength of will.

Self-control and resourcefulness:
Lady Macbeth is capable of tremendous self control and practically when it comes to meeting crises. She checks all feminine sentiments when she sets about the business of preparing for Duncan’s murder. He advise to her husband is sound and practical:
“To beguile the time,
Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eyes,
Your han, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it”
She displays the same wisdom when Macbeth, after murdering Duncan, returns to her, forgetting his excitement, to leave the dagger at the spot of the crime. She immediately perceives that the dagger and the blood on Macbeth’s hands are incriminately . So she ask him to wash the blood – “this filthy witness” – of his hands and carry the dagger back to Duncan’s chamber. She can also see the change of shifting the responsibility of the murder by screaming the faces of the grooms and blood. She then tries to jar Macbeth out of his emotional shock resulting from the crime, and when the sudden knocking at the gate is heard , she doesn’t loss her cool but can see the pressing need for quick positive action. She tell him:
“Get on your night-gown, lest occasion calls us,
And show us to be watchers – Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts………..”
In many others time we get her this quality all through the drama.

Conscience not overwhelmed:
Despite her apparent cruelty, Lady Macbeth is certainly not without traces of conscience. She employs her strength of determination to keep  her conscience suppressed because without doing so she can never reach her goal. In Act III, scene II, her first private thought since since Duncan’s murder gives a momentary expression to her feelings of remorse at the heinous deed:
“Nought’s had, all's spent,
Where our desire is got without content
Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy…..”
However hard she tries to repress her conscience, gradually but surely it leads her to mental disorder. She continues this all through the play.

Uniqueness of characterization:
Lady Macbeth is undoubtedly the most fascinating character of Shakespeare. In spite of all her crimes and machinations the readers cannot help pitying her ultimate sufferings and premature death. To quote A.W. Verity again; “Lady Macbeth and Hamlet stands apart from the rest of Shakespeare’s creations in the intensity and perplexity of the interest they arouse. Of all the women Shakespeare has drawn, none exercise so strange a fascination (not event serpent of old Nile' ) as this fragile, indomitable northern Queen , who makes the great denial – denial her sex and greatly suffers , even to the death.”

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