Lady Macbeth

’s Actions And Effects In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper

Lady MacBeth has an important role in the events of Shakespeare?s play ?MacBeth.? Her intentions and actions directly influenced MacBeth, however the results did not always come out as she intended them. A.C. Bradley states, ?They [the characters] strike into the existing order of things in pursuance of their ideas. But what they achieve is not what they intended; it is terribly unlike it.? This is exactly what happens with Lady MacBeth.

Shakespeare first introduces Lady MacBeth into the play in Act I, Scene v when she asks the spirits to ?unsex? her and ?fill me, from the crown to the tow, top-full / of direst cruelty!? and give her the strength to make a plan to kill Duncan. Lady MacBeth intends to have her husband kill Duncan so he can ascend to the throne and be the King of Scotland. All Lady MacBeth wants is for MacBeth to be successful and become king, but she does not believe that he has the ability to do the things needed, such as kill Duncan, on his own. She believes that he needs an extra push, and that is exactly what she gives him. At first, the result of her intentions are exactly as she plans them out to be. MacBeth kills Duncan just as she tells him to. Here, her intentions turn out as she wants them to. Duncan is dead, and MacBeth is now able to rise to the throne.

After MacBeth kills Duncan, the results of Lady MacBeth?s actions start to go wrong. It is first possible to see this in Act. III Scene iv at the banquet when MacBeth sees the ghost of Banquo and Lady MacBeth has to hide everything he has done. She tells the guests, ?Think of this, good peers, / But as a thing of custom: ?tis no other; / Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.? Here she is telling everyone to ignore MacBeth?s strange behavior. She then proceeds to kick them out saying, ?Stand not on the order of your going, / But go at once? Once MacBeth killed Duncan, he became ?strong enough? to kill without the encouragement of his wife, but cannot handle the mental repercussions. Lady MacBeth initiated this by pushing him to murder Duncan. She never dreamed that MacBeth would have a break down or become the killer that he ends up becoming. This is the first instance where it is possible to see where her good intentions for the advancement of her husband resulted in something less than good and what she had intended.

The ultimate repercussion to Lady MacBeth?s action is in Act V scene i. In this scene Lady MacBeth has gone crazy from her actions. As she states her hands, ?will…ne?er be clean? and she will never be completely rid of her actions and realizes ?what?s done cannot be undone.? In this scene, Lady MacBeth?s intentions, no matter how good they were, were what killed her. She only wanted to help her husband, which she did. And even though it was her destiny to help MacBeth become king, the way she did it was of her own will. She was the one who chose the path to her destiny, and had to deal with the consequences which were, in this case death.

Lady MacBeth?s intentions were good and honorable to her husband, but her actions were not. She pushed him to murder Duncan, and in doing so, destroyed his heart and conscious. She caused him to become what he did. She even knew that if she hadn?t pushed him then he never would have been able to kill Duncan. With her first step in helping MacBeth become king, she doomed them both- him in the physical world and her in the supernatural world. Bradley said, ?They act freely, and yet their actions bind them hand and foot? and that is exactly what happened in this play with Lady MacBeth, only her actions not only effected her, but MacBeth as well. It was the path that she chose to achieve her intentions that brought her and MacBeth to their ends.


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