• 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...

Introduction

"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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    This shows the picture of guilt that lies in the heart of Lady Macbeth and she is truly frightened by what has happened in her palace. But Lady Macbeth soon starts to speak some sense by saying, "All we need was to wash our hands and be clean of this deed."

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

    During the preparation, it is revealed that Macbeth wants to see Banquo dead. Macbeth hires murderers to carry through the task. At this point, we see a turning point in drive and control in the couple:- "Be innocent of the knowledge, dear chuck..."[Act Three Scene Two Line 45] Macbeth now

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

    Her fiend like ways, as to compliment Macbeth on his decision she describes how she would "dashed the brains out" of a defenceless baby for her cause. The audience would be horrified as a mother of the Jacobean period should be motherly and et while Lady Macbeth is the antithesis.

  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. Was this your judgement of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? "The dead butcher and his ...

    This is the time when Macbeth intends to murder him. This was carried out by Macbeth with the persuasion of Lady Macbeth. She persuaded him, by dropping hints of the new power they could inherit, but never spoke to him of what the consequences could be from their actions.

  2. To What Extent Do You Agree With The Idea That Lady Macbeth Is A ...

    He shows this by wanting to protect her from danger; this is shown when Macbeth says to her "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck." At the same time Lady Macbeth is very ambitious, she has one big ambition to become queen as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to become king.

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

    This is seen in her when she decides, without consent from her husband, which was seen in Elizabethan days as unacceptable, that her and Macbeth would commit an act of murder against the King, ''...That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan/Under my battlements...''.

  2. A Fiend-like Queen

    When Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches they cannot determine the sex of the creatures "that look not like th' inhabitants o' th' earth, And yet are on't" that they see before them. This ties in later with Lady Macbeth saying "Come you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex

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