Lady Macbeth as a Morally Wrong Character in the Play

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“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways” (Buddha). Often people are drawn to things like power, money and expensive objects, however acquiring these things can change a person’s mindset to do what is morally wrong. This creates an evil within their mind, which can cause them to follow an evil path by committing more criminal acts. Similarly, in William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, Lady Macbeth becomes involved in her own evil behaviour as she tries to achieve power through manipulating her husband to perform criminal tasks. Lady Macbeth should be know as more evil and machiavellian than Macbeth for these three reasons; she criticizes Macbeth’s moral code, wishes to suppress her gentle feminine instincts, and forces personal domination in her relationship.

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It is shown in Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy that she truly has an evil mindset from the beginning of the play. She sees an opportunity to be very powerful, but to make sure the witches prophecies becomes true, she utilises her evil mindset. “Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it”. This quote displays that Lady Macbeth believes Macbeth is too weak to perform an evil task. Macbeth is full of kindness, but Lady Macbeth wishes to take away that quality. She shows a ruthless ambition and general immorality that characterizes her nature. She makes fun of how Macbeth is a kind man who doesn’t want to cheat and deviate from the moral path in order to achieve his goals. “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty”. Lady Macbeth wishes to have power in this instance which must come to her in the form of masculinity since this action is not something a Lady should do. In the quote she shows that she wants to reject all her softer feminine attributes so that she can have the strength, ruthlessness, and courage to pursue the murder of king Duncan herself. Evil is now fully captured her thoughts as she hopes for more evil: “Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers”. Lady Macbeth is asking her for her milk to be replaced with poison and unmasks her truly evil mindset. She wishes to take away the qualities of her female body that are beneficial to life to be replaced with toxic chemicals that will destroy life. Lady Macbeth’s immoral mind has destroyed the thought of kindness and love which will now have an effect on Macbeth's future.

Lady Macbeth wishes to compromise her femininity for her ruthless objective but instead reaches to her husband to carry the burden. “his two chamberlains Will I with wine and wassail so convince That memory, the warder of the brain, Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason” . Lady Macbeth sets the scene for Macbeth and uses her skillful words to influence him to kill the king. Even though she doesn’t commit the act herself, the persuasion she uses and her sinful plan makes it clear she is far more evil than Macbeth. Lady Macbeth creates an excuse and says “He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done ’t.” She lies and pretends that king duncan resembles her father and uses emotional appeal to further persuade her husband to continue with this action. The method of trying to be innocent and hide your evil was even mentioned by Lady Macbeth earlier in the play and shines a light on her true colours. “Bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t”. Lady Macbeth speaks to Macbeth and advises him to look like an innocent man and hide his evil. She is the brains behind the murder and knew exactly how to make someone else commit the crime for her. Lady Macbeth is far more machiavellian than her husband, and shows this through her desire to extinguish her feminine gifts.

As we see in the play, Lady Macbeth dominates in her relationship. She shows power over Macbeth and can achieve what she desires through simple persuasion. It is shown how she applies her tricks of using emotional blackmail to make sure Macbeth does as she asks. “From this time Such I account thy love”. Lady Macbeth is questioning how much Macbeth loves her since he overexaggerated how ambitious he is she assumes that her exaggerated how much he says he loves her. Within this scene Lady Macbeth also utilises rhetorical questions for increased persuasion and even accuses Macbeth of being a coward. “As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, ” Like the poor cat i' th' adage?”. This quote shows her crafty approach to get Macbeth to do what she wants. Lady Macbeth starts to undo his self image of bravery and pokes at his weak spots. She attempts to strip Macbeth of his pride and masculinity for her own good. “When you durst do it, then you were a man”. Lady Macbeth asserts dominance by questioning Macbeth’s bravery because she knows Macbeth will be easy to persuade if he feels the need to defend his reputation. She capitalizes on this by also attacking his sense of masculinity at the same time. Lady Macbeth shows her evil mindset as she forces her dominance in the relationship to achieve her desires.

In conclusion, Lady Macbeth is a morally wrong character in the play ‘Macbeth’. She is undeniably more evil than her husband Macbeth due to the fact that she attacks his moral code, wishes to conceal her feminine qualities, and dominates through manipulation in their relationship. Lady Macbeth is the true villain and is certainly far more machiavellian than Macbeth. 

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