Lady Macbeth’s Guilty Character Through the Play

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Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we are gathered here today to not only prosecute Lady Macbeth but to hold her responsible and guilty for treason and conspiracy to murder. We will provide witnesses who can testify to her manipulative character, to the persuasive and conniving woman she really was, and to the troubled wife she became. Before I state the specifics, I want to paint a picture of her desperate acts and how she was the ultimate driving force behind her husband’s actions.

You may remember the prophecy that Macbeth was told by three witches, which was that he would become King and would soon be crowned. He dreamt of this news his whole life and he knew he would do anything to fulfill this dream of his. In order to become King though, King Duncan would need to die. Macbeth told his wife, Lady Macbeth, about this news he received when he returned home. He sent his wife a letter explaining what the witches told him, and the messenger delivered it. After Lady Macbeth read the letter, she quickly revealed her eagerness and ambition to try and fulfill the prophecy. She became so keen on becoming Queen of Scotland that she persuaded her own husband to kill King Duncan, despite his objections. Macbeth’s lack of ambition allows him to be manipulated by his wife because she questions his masculinity. This leads Macbeth to want to prove himself, and that is done by killing Duncan.

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After persuading Macbeth into killing him, Lady Macbeth proceeded to plan on how to frame the King’s guards for the murder. She set a plan to smear Duncan’s blood all over the grooms and replace their daggers so that they could be properly framed and so that there would be no doubt about who committed the murder. Her plan didn’t end up working though because Macbeth forgot to leave the daggers with the grooms. In fear of getting caught, Lady Macbeth went to the scene herself and smeared Duncan’s blood on them. Then, she planned to quickly go to bed with her husband and wake up shocked the next morning when others find his lifeless body.

Following Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth was found sleepwalking. This was significant because it depicted her guilt and her insanity after plotting Duncan’s death. Her guilt-ridden mind exposed herself by recalling the deaths of King Duncan, Lady Macduff, and Banquo. Lady Macbeth started to rub her hands in a washing motion as if she was cleaning off the blood from her hands when sleepwalking. She spoke the words “A little water clears us of this deed.” The gentlewoman and doctor heard and witnessed those actions without Lady Macbeth being aware. She seemed to be suffering from a psychological disorder that caused her to recall fragments of the events of the murders. She had hallucinations and it was obvious she felt guilty about the whole situation. Her guilt showed that she was partially responsible for the murder of Duncan.

On this day, we will call several witnesses to the stand who can testify to Lady Macbeth’s guilty character, her greedy habits, and her psychological disorder. First, we will call the gentlewoman to the stand who will testify that she has heard Lady Macbeth say things that essentially amount to a confession of Macbeth and her wrong-doing. Second, we will call the doctor who witnessed Lady Macbeth sleepwalk and who will testify her reason to believe Lady Macbeth was driven to madness because of her guilt. Last, we will call the messenger to the stand who can testify to Macbeth’s letter to Lady Macbeth and her willingness to assist her husband in the murder of Duncan. 

Most agree Lady Macbeth should be disciplined due to her actions, and that she should have to face the consequences. Lady Macbeth planting the weapons on the guards gives her reason to be guilty of accessory to murder. She came up with the whole idea, convinced Macbeth to go through with the murder, helped plant evidence, and even acted like her husband was innocent when she knew exactly what was going on. Although she didn’t fully commit the deed, she should be convicted of being a conspirator. 

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