• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"His fiend-like queen" Does this seem a fitting judgement of Lady Macbeth?

Extracts from this document...


"His fiend-like queen" Does this seem a fitting judgement of Lady Macbeth? Upon beginning the play, one first believes that Lady Macbeth does indeed possess the evil, inhumane characteristics of a fiend. Within minutes of reading Macbeth's letter, in which he informs her that according to the prophecy of the witches' he is a "king that shalt be", she contemplates regicide, in the belief that "fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have [Macbeth] crown'd withal." Though this introductory scene portrays her as "fiend-like", despite condemning Macbeth for being "too fill o' the milk of human kindness", she herself is worried that "compunctious vistings of nature" will " shake [her] fell purpose" of murder. She then turns to demonic spirits, calling them to "fill [her] from the crown to the toe full of direst cruelty." It is the feminine traits of compassion and fallibility often attributed to women of the Jacobean era that causes to Lady Macbeth beg the spirits to "unsex [her] here [...] and take [her milk for gall]", for women's capacity for cruelty was considered to be inferior to that of men. Lady Macbeth is fully aware of her weaknesses both as a human and especially as a woman that may "impede [them] from the golden round." From this we see that Lady Macbeth is not naturally evil, for she calls upon the supernatural to aid her in the murder they are planning to commit. ...read more.


Paranoia causes Macbeth, against his wife's wishes, to hire murderers to kill his former friend Banquo, and his son Fleance. Lady Macbeth feels that "[their] desire is got without content" and begs her husband to "leave this" when he hints at disposing of Banquo. He ceases to involve his "partner of greatness" in his plans and she is evidently no longer dominant in the relationship. Instead Lady Macbeth is now in the position which befitted a Jacobean wife, for, according to prevalent Christian belief, the husband was the head of the family. Whereas Macbeth appears to no longer possess a conscience, Lady Macbeth is plagued by hers. She sleepwalks regularly, for "unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles" and is afraid of the dark, having "a light by her continually", even carrying a candle whilst sleepwalking. This is in contrast to the time when she called "come thick night"; she is afraid of the darkness which she once summoned. She, who scorned Macbeth when he feared that regicide will cause them to "jump the life to come", now fears eternal damnation. She pleads with the damning guilt to leave her, crying "out, out damned spot". In her disturbed sleep she instructs herself to "wash your hands", in the hope that "a little water will clear [them] of this deed. However, it is soon clear that Macbeth's fear as to whether "all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood/Clean from [his] hand" is not unfounded, for Lady Macbeth soon despairs that "these hands [will] ne'er be clean." ...read more.


This, if anything, is proof that Lady Macbeth is not "fiend-like". Lady Macbeth regrets their actions, begging her husband to cease his murdering, a sign that unlike her husband, she still possesses a morsel of humanity. Lady Macbeth is by no means evil, for evil has no conscience, whereas the conscience of Lady Macbeth is very much in evidence As an audience we witness, through the medium of the stage, the breakdown of Lady Macbeth. We watch her eventual unravelling, from her initial ambitious determination to murder the king, to her final, desperate act of suicide. We gradually realise, that Malcolm, blinded by the knowledge that Lady Macbeth was instrumental in his father's death, is too harsh in his judgement of her. By showing signs of remorse, not to mention an unwillingness to kill Duncan and an inability to be cruel without aid, Lady Macbeth proves that she has not the evil of a fiend. She is certainly not without conscience, having been tortured by guilt, nor is she without feeling, for she has known "how tender 'tis to love". I conclude, therefore, that though Lady Macbeth is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a "gentle lady", she is certainly no fiend. Though, at the beginning of the play she may have appeared to be as evil and inhumane as a fiend, by its closing, she is seen to be a wretched, desolate woman who deserves our pity. Joelaine Fitch 11L 1 Joelaine Fitch ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Is Lady Macbeth a Fiend-like queen?

    On the night the Doctor is there, she enters, carrying a candle. We find out that she now has to have a light with her as she sleeps: "'tis her command."

  2. At the end of the play Malcolm calls lady Macbeth a fiend like queen. ...

    She also makes it sound as if it's going to be extremely easy to carry out and accomplish the killing of Duncan. "Unguarded Duncan" making sound defenceless which he is, which shows how evil lady Macbeth is.

  1. Lady Macbeth - A fiend like queen or lady of remorse?

    "How tender' tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you..."

  2. Does Shakespeare Present Lady Macbeth as Fiend-Like?

    her husband's actions extremely easily, she is able to manipulate her husband by accusing him of not being manly and so she gains what she wants, this is seen first when she is able to force her husband into killing the King, ''...To-morrow, as he purposes...O never/Shall sun that morrow

  1. At the end of the play, Malcolm calls Macbeth a butcher and Lady Macbeth ...

    This is evident when she says, "Unsex me here," In her soliloquy she calls the spirits of darkness to take her natural womanliness and to fill her with bitterness, poison and wickedness. Lady Macbeth doesn't want any feelings left over of regret in her conscience, as this will repeatedly haunt her.

  2. Is Lady Macbeth a Fiend-like Queen?

    I think that sums it up, she's trying to be someone who she is not, someone more powerful then men, someone who is not scared o anything, and extremely vulnerable a that. The audiences first impression of Lady Macbeth are that she is obviously ambitious which in turn makes her quite evil.

  1. To what extent do you agree with Malcolm's description of Lady Macbeth as a ...

    "The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan." At this time, the raven was strongly associated with evil, so this heightens the sense of the unnaturalness of what she is planning. She goes on to demand these spirits to so alter her that she will not feel any guilt or shame.

  2. How far are you given the impression that Lady Macbeth is merely a "fiend ...

    In act 1 scene 7, Lady Macbeth's fiend-like and pernicious personality is clearly shown. She completely manipulates Macbeth, she uses both her femininity and her innocence as potent persuasive techniques when she asks the question "what beast was't then That made you break this enterprise to me?"(Act 1 scene 7 line 46).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work