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A Fiend-like Queen

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Introduction

A Fiend-like Queen At the end of the play Macbeth, Malcolm refers to Lady Macbeth as a "fiend-like queen". In this essay I will discuss how accurate this description is. I will separate the description into its two parts - "fiend-like" and "queen", and analyse each in turn. Throughout the book, our perceptions of Lady Macbeth and our sympathy and empathy towards her change constantly. At the beginning of the play, when she is first introduced to us, we immediately perceive Lady Macbeth as a character who is not easy to excite, as she reads Macbeth's letter that tells of the witches' predictions. Even though she is pleased and fully believes that Macbeth will become King, she worries straight away about his lack of high ambitions, and thinks that he is too fair and kind to succeed as King. However, she immediately changes with the news that King Duncan will be staying at her castle that night, and becomes ruthless and excited, as opposed to the calm and gracious lady we were led to believe she would be when in his letter Macbeth refers to her as "my dearest partner of greatness". Her ruthless side is shown as she quickly constructs a plan to murder Duncan, and works herself into an anxious frenzy. ...read more.

Middle

Immediately after the murder has been committed, she once more becomes ruthless and has no qualms about going to the scene of the crime to incriminate the dead King's guards. This indicates that the forces of evil possessing her have regained control, because any rational person that could not bring themselves to commit a murder would surely not want to go to the scene of the crime to smear blood onto two innocent men. Another point when her conscience breaks through is in Act 5 Scene 1, where one of her Ladies in Waiting calls for a doctor to observe Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking. Lady Macbeth acts almost schizophrenic, indicating a struggle within her between good and evil, and she complains about invisible spots of blood on her hands, and tells herself to wash them off. This is the real Lady Macbeth wanting to forget about the murder, and to rid herself of guilt, and distance herself from the more evil, possessed version of herself that conspired to kill Duncan. Her guilt shows that she does, however, possess queen-like qualities, which proves the latter half of Malcolm's description of her correct. When Macbeth calls her his "dearest partner of greatness" we imagine her as a very fair, and balanced woman, who is probably quite religious, which would have been seen as fashionable at the time the play was set. ...read more.

Conclusion

Instead of making the situation worse by constantly trying to talk to him, she leaves him alone. However, the situation is affecting her too, but she does not properly reveal this to Macbeth, so as to burden him with even more stress. Unfortunately, the guilt destroys Lady Macbeth before it destroys Macbeth and she commits suicide. This is probably her final act of protection, in that her killing herself prevents her from revealing the truth. In conclusion, the evidence clearly shows that Lady Macbeth possesses many queen-like qualities, including compassion, self-control, authority and clear thinking. Had she been the queen of Scotland through honest means, she would have been very successful, and loved by many. However, the case for calling her "fiend-like" is not so clear. Her evil does not seem to be innate. Rather, it appears to be caused by an outside force, or forces, such as Hecate and the three witches, or the Devil. This is indicated by the lines "Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty!" and Lady Macbeth's schizophrenic sleep-talking. A more accurate description of her would be "a possessed queen". Daniel Walker 12 February 2003 1 ...read more.

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