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In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth is described as Macbeth's 'fiend like queen'. Is this an adequate judgement of her? Discuss.

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Introduction

Macbeth Essay Question: In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth is described as Macbeth's 'fiend like queen'. Is this an adequate judgement of her? Discuss. The statement of Lady Macbeth as Macbeth's 'fiend-like queen' is not an adequate judgement of her. Although she displays fiend-like qualities in planning and carrying out the murder of Duncan, the need for her to invoke dark spirits and consume alcohol prove otherwise. The agony Lady Macbeth suffers through sleepwalking and disillusionment later on in the play also shows she is not a 'fiend-like queen' throughout the play. Along with her husband, Lady Macbeth is presented in the opening scenes of the play as a noble and trusted woman. Upon first receiving the letter from Macbeth in Act 1, sc. 5, it is clear Lady Macbeth is a deeply ambitious woman with a great love for her husband. ...read more.

Middle

All of these actions show she is not naturally fiendish and needs to change her nature in order to aid her husband. Throughout the scene depicting the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth appears to have fiend-like qualities. Emboldened by alcohol and an unnatural state of mind, she appears to be strong and in control. She chastises Macbeth, 'infirm of purpose!' (Act 2, sc. 2) and returns the daggers to smear the servants with blood. Throughout Act 2 sc. 2 it seems to the audience as if Lady Macbeth has no conscience. However there is foreshadowing in this scene of the guilt which will later haunt her when she says: 'These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad' (Act 2, sc. 2 L34) Despite showing the nature of a 'fiend-like queen' for the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth is overcome with grief and her conscience after the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth's suicide in Act 5 sc. 5 is the only way she can relieve a profound sense of guilt. It emphasizes the fact that she is not fiend-like by nature and therefore suffers psychological consequences as a result of her previous fiend-like behavior and callous deeds. By ending her lift the audience sees Lady Macbeth's vulnerability. The flaw in Lady Macbeth was her ambition and obsessive desire for her husband to become king. To achieve this she has had to suppress her womanly qualities to carry out the murder. The audience does not condone her actions and at this stage she can definitely be described as a 'fiend-like queen.' Despite this, she cannot sustain the lack of emotion that would be inherent in a cold-blooded murderer. By presenting her troubled conscience through images of blood and sleepwalking, Shakespeare is encouraging the audience to feel sympathy towards Lady Macbeth and disregard her as fiend-like. Malcolm's judgement of her as a 'fiend-like queen' is not adequate to describe her throughout the whole play. ...read more.

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