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Is Lady Macbeth the villain of the play?

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Introduction

Is Lady Macbeth the villain of the play? The fact that Lady Macbeth is called 'a fiend-like queen' by Malcolm automatically makes the audience view her as a demon, thus making the audience dislike her even more. Lady Macbeth could be viewed as an evil demon or as a supportive and guilt-eaten wife. However there are many events and circumstances which we should take into consideration before any conclusions are formulated. Lady Macbeth's deceptive, persuasive and potentially witch-like manner should not be overlooked. Although she is the instigator of many of the tragic events in the play, she also comes across as being a loyal and supportive wife. We first meet with Lady Macbeth in Act 1, Scene 5 where she could be viewed as being very close to Macbeth as it seems that she knows him very well. When she reads his letter she does not mock him or doubt his character once which shows that she could indeed be the loyal wife. Although she sees Macbeth as being kind and brave, she also shows her witch-like qualities when she says that she will pour spirits into his ear to make him have more courage in order to kill Duncan to gain the throne; "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear." Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits to remove her gentler feelings so that she doesn't feel any guilt or fear. ...read more.

Middle

Neither Macbeth nor Lady Macbeth think straight in this scene, but it is Lady Macbeth that decides to return to Duncan's room with the daggers and put them next to the guards to ensure that their plan goes as they intended. This could be her way of helping put the murder to a complete close and to ensure that they do not feel guilty. Lady Macbeth then plans an alibi and tells Macbeth that she does not feel guilty. The enormity of his crime grows along with the confidence of Lady Macbeth which could be a sign of worse events to come. When news of Duncan's murder goes around the castle, Lady Macbeth again acts well in the defence of herself and Macbeth by covering up her guilt and knowledge of what's happened by fainting in order to draw attention away from Macbeth as not to give too much away. The fact that Lady Macbeth is a consummate actress creates a feeling of insecurity in my mind as whether to trust her or to doubt everything she does, which I am sure is a feeling felt by any reader or audience of the play. The fact that Lady Macbeth is the villain of the play so far is somewhat changed when we reach Act 3, Scene 1 when we see that Macbeth plans to murder Banquo. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Act 5, Scene 5, Lady Macbeth does actually commit suicide, this is true evidence that Lady Macbeth could not live with the guilt of what has happened and her unhappiness; "The queen my lord is dead." The news of Lady Macbeth's death brings great sorrow upon Macbeth and this makes him realise the futility of his life. This would say that he loved Lady Macbeth and that maybe she wasn't the pushy and cruel wife that she appeared to be. I conclude that Lady Macbeth was not the villain of the play because she was driven to suicide by the actions of her husband's actions which she realised were wrong as soon as they were carried out. She did not take part in any of the murders she was merely the instigator of one. The fact that she could not bare to live any longer due to being over come with remorse makes me think that she obviously felt sorry for what happened and that she could not be a villain if she realised the serious nature of what happened as many people do wrong but do not realise that it was wrong. I think that the reason that she planned the murder of Duncan was to fulfil her husband's ambition and to become queen, a title which she did not feel greatly any way. Elizabeth Claire Roxburgh ...read more.

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