Lady Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Discuss whether or not you feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth
There are certain aspects of Lady Macbeth s character that suggests she is good and therefore her downfall increases my sympathy for her by the end of act 5. But I would also argue that she entailed evil to fuel her sleeping ambition that would make her nemesis, her mental collapse, fully justified.
Lady Macbeth s role as a supporting wife at the start of the play exceeds the duties of a normal wife. She is the Eve to Macbeth s Adam and is tempted. Although Macbeth hints at the idea of taking the crown in his letter home, it is Lady Macbeth s ruthless determination to make him king that persuaded him to murder Duncan. Did she do this in the interests of Macbeth or was it to fulfil her own ambition? I would argue that it was to fulfil her own ambition because she decided straight away that murder was the best option to take without any regard to guilt, in this view I have no sympathy for Lady Macbeth because it is a sign of her inner evilness.
To commit the murder of King Duncan Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits that tend on mortal thoughts . She evokes evil to commit the deed and loses her identity; I would then argue that if she has lost her identity then she has lost her soul and that, in my opinion, makes her a monster. This is illustrated by her willingness to dash the brains out of her baby, if she had one. The loss of her feminine qualities exemplifies her knowledge of the consequences of killing Duncan, this is demonstrated when she asks the keen knife see not the wound it makes . This reveals her hope that she will not feel any guilt after the murder and she naively believes that a little water clears us of this deed ; these examples show that Lady Macbeth knew the deeds she was going to commit were evil and therefore sustains my unsympathetic feelings for her.
Although I have expressed unsympathetic views about Lady Macbeth, I do feel that a certain amount of sympathy arises from Act 5 Scene 1, which tends to hide her previous evil deeds. Lady Macbeth has not been seen by the audience for some time, this is because Macbeth has shut her out of his life and she has become isolated and lonely. Lady Macbeth s mental collapse is caused by her acknowledgement of her share of guilt and is expressed by images of Duncan s blood, will these hands ne er be clean?
This is also a contrast to her belief that water cleanses the conscience of any guilt. Lady Macbeth s mental collapse reinforces the idea of Scotland being diseased under Macbeth s reign and because he was not put their by divine right he cannot cure her.
Lady Macbeth s role as a supporting wife resurfaces again in scene 5. She is now afraid of the dark, which is in contrasts to her earlier wishes for darkness to conceal the murder. Lady Macbeth is haunted by dreams, like Macbeth ( O full of scorpions is in my mind ), and sleep walks; this echoes my last sentence in that she is now taking on the trauma and guilt from her husband. This reveals Lady Macbeth s compassion and love for her husband and this, in my opinion, makes her a good wife.
I would argue that her feelings of guilt shows that stopping up the passage to remorse has not worked and the goodness inside Lady Macbeth has prevailed, that is why she has a guilty conscience. Despite her suicide she has shown that good always overcomes evil, and maybe Lady Macbeth is a metaphor for the whole play in general that good always prevails in one form or another. That striking metaphor compels me to sympathise with Lady Macbeth s downfall because, like Macbeth, she could have been a good, honest ruler.
From the evidence I have given about the two sides of Lady Macbeth that influences my decision, I am rooted in a sympathetic paradox between Lady Macbeth s mental downfall, which increases my sympathy for her, and her evil ambition, which makes me feel unsympathetic towards her. My feelings for and against Lady Macbeth form an equilibrium of sympathy for Lady Macbeth