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Trace the role of Lady Macbeth throughout the play and consider whether she is anything more than a fiend-like queen.

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Introduction

Trace the role of Lady Macbeth throughout the play and consider whether she is anything more than a "fiend-like queen" The character of Lady Macbeth is very unlike the Lady Macbeth of historical reality. First of all, her name was not Lady Macbeth; it was Queen Gruoch of Scotland. Secondly, Queen Gruoch had a legitimate claim to the throne, unlike Lady Macbeth who had to plot with Macbeth to murder Duncan just to get to the throne. Finally, Queen Gruoch was a well liked and respected queen whereas Lady Macbeth was a "fiend-like queen" created by Shakespeare to be considered tyrannical. She is hated and seen as evil as she plots to kill Duncan and becomes drunk with power later on in the play. When we first meet Lady Macbeth, she has just received a letter from Macbeth who is writing from just after he has met the witches and told he will be king, and the letter carries details of Macbeth's promotion to the Thaneship of Cawdor and also mentions his meeting with the witches. At this point, Lady Macbeth doesn't seem fiend-like at all; in fact she seems like a caring wife because she seems to show support for her husband, and later on we feel some sympathy for her, as she begins to get left out of Macbeth's plans. ...read more.

Middle

This leads the audience to believe that Lady Macbeth has some sort of association with the witches, and therefore truly believe she is fiend-like. In fact, some people believe Lady Macbeth is the fourth witch, and is used to get inside Macbeth's head. Lady Macbeth conceives the entire plan to kill Duncan - which is "fiend-like" and not womanly - but Macbeth has a change of heart. This is when Lady Macbeth utilises Macbeth's weaknesses that only she knows, and begins questioning Macbeth's manhood, saying he would be a man when he's done the deed, not before to the point where he feels he must commit the murder in order to prove himself. At this point she goes as far as to say that (talking about a nursing baby): "I would, while it was smiling in my face Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn As you have done to this". This gruesome imagery shows us that the spirits must've taken every ounce of good that Lady Macbeth had left in her and turned her into a "fiend-like" being. This is the opposite of what one would expect of a wife and mother, and some people have compared Lady Macbeth to Lady Macduff, who is a loving mother and represents good in this play. ...read more.

Conclusion

A doctor is called in to help Lady Macbeth, but he states that because she does not have a physical illness, there is nothing he can do. The doctor says "More needs she the divine than the physical". The last thing we ever hear from Lady Macbeth is a message delivered to Macbeth that she is dead, under the assumption that she took her own life ("self and violent hands"). Suicide in Shakespeare's time seems evil, that the person had lost to despair. So, because of this, we once again are made to feel pity for Lady Macbeth. We cannot say she was a fiend. Lady Macbeth wasn't a fiend, for she did have a conscience, and we know this because she didn't actually murder Duncan and she did feel the repercussions of his death, right up until she took her own life at the end of the play. She was troubled and the witches certainly affected her life as much, if not more, as they did Macbeth's. Personally I believe that Lady Macbeth had some good in her soul, which led to a lot of the despair she went through towards the end of the play. However, she still did carry out all the evil deeds, and encouraged Macbeth into doing the wrong things. Therefore we can say she was fiend-like. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ryan Carse 11A ...read more.

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