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Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil?

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Introduction

Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as good or evil? By Makez Rikweda In this essay I shall be discussing whether Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth to be good or evil I shall be doing this by scrutinising Lady Macbeth's actions and thoughts and then analysing them to see whether they are the actions of a good person or an evil person. Furthermore I'm going to articulate what women were supposed to be like in Shakespeare's time and seeing whether Lady Macbeth was a typical women Shakespearean time, I will be using Lady Macduff (another female character in Macbeth) to compare Lady Macbeth to. I will also be looking carefully at other influences that would effect my judgement on Lady Macbeth's character such as religion in the Shakespearean age. Then I will look at how a modern audience would perceive Lady Macbeth's character. Overall after looking at all these factors I shall conclude by deciding whether I think that Lady Macbeth is evil, good or neither. Lady Macbeth who is the wife of Macbeth plays a very important and pivotal role in the play as it is Lady Macbeth who persuades Macbeth to kill king Duncan which leads to a whole load of other events eventually resulting in the death of both Macbeth and herself. We first meet Lady Macbeth when she receives a letter from her husband Macbeth telling her about Macbeth's freakish encounter with the three witches who correctly predict him to become Thane of Cawdor and soon to be king. When Lady Macbeth reads about the encounter, her soliloquy gives us an impression of what kind of person she is as she wastes no time in planning the death of the king showing her to be an ambitious and cruel woman willing to persuade Macbeth to kill another human in order to further her and Macbeth's ambitions. She suspects that Macbeth's nature is " too full o'th' milk of human kindness" to kill King Duncan just to become king, she knows that Macbeth hasn't got it in him to kill an innocent and good man like Duncan. ...read more.

Middle

She is trying to relieve herself from the pain her conscience and the fact that she helped kill Duncan and in turn help transform her husband into a paranoid murderer. "Look how she rubs her hand...washing her hands", here Lady Macbeth who is fast asleep, tries to wash imagined blood from her hands. This is significant as it shows us that she has a conscience and seems to be tortured by her past actions. This would not be the case if Lady Macbeth was truly evil as she wouldn't care and by her actions, it is obvious that she is heavily burdened with guilt. "Will these hands ne'er be clean? ...Here's the smell of blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" shows us that Lady Macbeth is severely troubled and that she cannot get away from her troubles, not even in her sleep. She constantly refers to her hands and how they will never be clean despite the number of times she washes them. Whatever thoughts that may have formed in our head about Lady Macbeth are now shattered into little pieces as Lady Macbeth proves that she is in fact good by showing us how troubled her actions have made her. Women in the time of Shakespeare were a lot like dolls. They were supposed to be seen and not heard and were never asked for their opinions or thoughts on any matter. They were supposed to be obedient and loyal to their husbands who were their superiors. Women were made to stay at home and due to the lack of education were not allowed to get jobs therefore relying on their husbands for money, food and clothes. The lack of employment made them dependent upon men and because of this dependence upon men, Shakespearean women had to be gracious housewives who could not question what their husbands said. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth is more like a modern woman unlike Lady Macduff who is the weak housewife who isn't the least bit ambitious or confident. When faced with a problem Lady Macduff wouldn't have a clue what to do and would probably wait for her husband to deal with it which in today's society is looked down upon as nowadays women are equal to men and are completely independent like Lady Macbeth. In conclusion I think that Lady Macbeth is a human being and like human beings she makes mistakes. Her view of morality was blocked by her thirst for success and her love for Macbeth and despite her planning the murder and manipulating Macbeth into killing Duncan, I think that she only did it out of love and therefore she wasn't truly evil, just a little overpowered by ambition. Also after she helped convert Macbeth into a crazed and paranoid man, Lady Macbeth started to become troubled. She started to walk, talk and pretend to wash her hands whilst asleep and eventually she committed suicide which showed that she did have a moral side and that her past actions got to her showing the audience that she wasn't truly evil as someone truly evil wouldn't give a second though to their victims. Some people might argue that at the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth was truly evil but after Duncan was murdered, she began to turn good. But I personally think that she wasn't evil at all as all that she did, she only did it out of her love for Macbeth and the fact that she killed herself shows us that she is good. Her last action of suicide was the final and grand sign that Lady Macbeth did in fact care about the lives changed and lost due to her and she did regret her actions. In my opinion Lady Macbeth was never evil and every single action that she did was empowered by love therefore making it impossible that Lady Macbeth was evil. By Makez Rikweda 10RO 1 1 ...read more.

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