From Macbeth's "partner in greatness" to "his fiend like queen" Trace the path of Lady Macbeth's downfall

Authors Avatar

From Macbeth’s “partner in greatness” to “his fiend like queen” Trace the path of Lady Macbeth’s downfall

 Lady Macbeth is a very controversial figure. She is seen by some as a strong willed women who is ambitious for herself and who is perceptive enough to identify her husband’s strengths and weaknesses, and ruthless enough to exploit them. They see her in her commitment to evil and in her awareness that the attainment of the Crown has not brought her the happiness she had previously expected, and finally, as one who breaks down under the pressure of knowing about the crime committed by herself and Macbeth. Others see her as a woman ambitious for her husband whom she loves. She recognises the necessary ability in him, and feels that, without her, he will never win the Crown. She allies herself with the powers of darkness for his sake, but here natural femininity breaks down under the strain of the twisted murder of Duncan and the alienation of her husband. She is seen as simple and realistic where Macbeth is problematical and imaginative. She can see what must be done; he visualises the consequence.

 There is a huge difference between Macduff’s “O gentle Lady ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak the repetition in a woman’s ear would murder as it fell.” ACT II, Sc.ii and Malcolm’s assessment of her as a “fiend-like queen” (Act IV, Sc.vii). So we must examine the text. To Macbeth, in his letter to her, she is his “dearest partner of greatness”, an signal of love and trust. We see her as she analyses his qualities and flaws and decides to overcome his principles, “hie thee hither that I may pour my spirits at thine ear” There is evidence that proves she wants him to be king.

Join now!

   When she calls on the powers of evil to unsex her and make her cruel, this implies that she fears her own womanliness and realises the abnormality of the murder of Duncan. She, like Macbeth is just an ordinary human being overcome with ambition. In this sense I do not truly believe she really loses her womanliness. The words (Act I, Sc. ii) “Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done’t” implies that she is still a woman with a feminine tenderness. She show herself strong willed and more determined than Macbeth, Act I, Sc.vii, ...

This is a preview of the whole essay