Lady Macbeth Essay

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The play ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare uses an array of characters to show the corrupting power of uncontrolled ambition. Lady Macbeth is essential to the play as she drives Macbeth’s wavering conscience to commit regicide because she generally thinks that it is best for her husband. It is only later when she realizes that they have gained nothing from it, and begins a down spiral into madness. Even though Lady Macbeth is initially the driving force of Duncan’s death and the downfall of her and Macbeth’s death, many admirable qualities are shown through her.

Lady Macbeth’s admirable traits can be characterized in three groups: ambition, persuasion and loyalty. Her ambition and strength are among her most exquisite traits which is first shown in act one scene five when she delivers one of her most famous speeches, ‘Come you spirits// That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here…’When she says‘Stop up th’access and passage to remorse// That no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose…’Shakespeare employs figurative language to show Lady Macbeth’s determination/passion for power, and how she wants nothing to ‘shake her fell purpose’ which is admirable because it not only shows her desire, but also shows the extent of what she would do to receive what she wants.

When Macbeth decides to ‘proceed no further’ in the killing of Duncan, another admirable trait of Lady Macbeth’s is presented: manipulation (i.e. persuasion.) As Macbeth uses clothing imagery to convey his sudden change of plan, ‘which would be worn now in their newest gloss// Not cast aside so soon’, Lady Macbeth rises quickly to his challenge, and continues this metaphor. ‘Was the hope drunk// Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath is slept since// And wakes it now to look so green and pale…’ Here, Lady Macbeth asks if the motivation flared within him was like a coat he could take on and off.
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