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There are two arguments as to whether Lady Macbeth is a fiend or a tragic figure. In my opinion, Lady Macbeth can sometimes appear as a fiend, but the overall view I have of her is as of a tragic figure, who in the end is so guilt-ridden

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Introduction

The definition of a fiend is 'an evil spirit' or 'a very wicked or cruel person'. This word conjures up many images in my mind, very much like the definition of what a fiend is. Notions of a person with no conscience or mercy enter my mind. What enters your mind when this word is implemented could change your views entirely. The first time we meet Lady Macbeth is when she is reading aloud a letter received from Macbeth. As soon as she has finished reading the letter, her thoughts immediately turn to the murder of Duncan. There is no hesitation, she has decided that she will do everything she can to make sure Macbeth becomes king. "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be what thou art promis'd". Lady Macbeth knows her husband has the ambition needed to commit treason, but is concerned he hasn't got the evil in him to correspond with this aspiration. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's minds immediately consider the possibility of taking the king's life when they are informed of the witches prophecies. Macbeth says "my thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical", which is implying that in his head, are visions of murder, but he does not yet know whether this will be carried out. Lady Macbeth, in contrast, believes whole-heartedly that this unlawful killing will take place. Lady Macbeth is power hungry, and she shows no deliberation over what might go amiss, or the consequences of her actions. Lady Macbeth's considerations may well be all because she cares about Macbeth, and wants to provide him with what he lacks, 'the illness' that should accompany such ambition, so that he can fulfil his true potential. Lady Macbeth, immediately as she hears of Duncan's arrival, calls on the supernatural force's to remove all that makes her a woman, so she can perform the slaughter of the king. ...read more.

Middle

She divulges her very detailed and well thought out plan to Macbeth. A detailed plot is more likely to have impact, as it gives the impression nothing can go wrong. Lady Macbeth disregards the consequences, shows no mercy for her king and is in relentless pursuit of power and authority. When Lady Macbeth talks about what has made her become bold, this also proves the point that she has not got the full evil in herself, as the alcohol she's consumed has stimulated her further to commit the crime. When Lady Macbeth couldn't kill Duncan we see a glimpse of humanity, she did it because she genuinely felt she couldn't bring herself to murder someone who so closely resembled her father. If this was the case, it proves that Lady Macbeth isn't as cold and hard-hearted as she is primarily portrayed. We know this is her mind, as she speaks alone. Macbeth regrets the murder immediately; he is distraught that he could not say 'amen'. 'I am afraid to think what I have done'. He cannot go back and face what he's done; he's so racked with guilt. Lady Macbeth on the other hand has to be strong, Macbeth has brought the murder weapons back, Lady Macbeth has to return them, and does it with no mercy for the king, she has not thought of the consequences yet, but this will come later. Lady Macbeth tries to downplay the murder that has so recently been committed, 'consider it not so deeply. I think inside she is considering it, and this point is proved by her actions later on in the play, where she recounts the murder, replaying the conversations between her and her husband. 'A little water clears us of this deed' is crucial, and again shows that Lady Macbeth thinks her mind can be freed from what they've just done by washing their hands. ...read more.

Conclusion

She was selfish in the way that she wanted the murder to go ahead so that she could gain power, and calls on evil to support her, as she doesn't contain it within herself. Some people might then argue that if she invited them in, she certainly deserves the dissolution of her mentality. I don't think Lady Macbeth was aware of what the evil spirits would do to her. However, even if she was aware, would she still have called on them? I think not, but some could claim that she is so heartless she would have. Lady Macbeth never worries about the consequences until afterwards. Then it is too late for her to stop what she started. Lady Macbeth maintains human emotion throughout the whole play, for example, where she cannot kill the king because of his resemblance to her father. She is selfless in the way that everything she did, taking the daggers back, hatching the plan etc, was for Macbeth. She was totally devoted to him, even though he deserts her, when she needs him most. It is no coincidence that as soon as we sense the Macbeth's growing apart, Lady Macbeth's madness sets in. All in all, I don't think Lady Macbeth deserves what she gets. Macbeth committed further crimes, yet he only showed initial guilt, but once he is past that, he becomes an unstoppable brute. She is a loyal, devoted character who is so isolated that she sees no way out. There is so much pressure, the murders of Banquo and Lady Macduff's family return to haunt her conscience, even though she played no part in them. She is even feeling guilt for her husband's murders, surely not a fiend-like quality? All of the pressure mounts up and she sees no means of regaining her life, and therefore decides to end her existence. She didn't do it because she was weak, she did it because she was guilty and repentant. ...read more.

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