Character of Lady Macbeth

Character of Lady Macbeth.

Character of Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth.

Character of Lady MacbethAnswer: Lady Macbeth is a character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (c.1603–1607). She is the wife to the play’s protagonist, Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman. After goading him into committing regicide, she becomes Queen of Scotland, but later suffers pangs of guilt for her part in the crime. She dies off-stage in the last act, an apparent suicide.

Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth is tremendous. She exercises great influence upon her husband’s decisions and actions. In fact, Macbeth is motivated to kill King Duncan by the will of Lady Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth is first seen reading a letter which her husband has written to her giving a brief account of his encounter with the Witches and the prophecies they made about his future. Lady Macbeth jump to the conclusion that the shortest way for her husband to become the King is to assassinate the present king Duncan. She thinks that her husband does not have that crookedness in him to perform the deed. She wishes him home at once, so that she can impart her own firmness of resolution to him and chastise him with “the valour of her tongue”.

Macbeth arrives home. He tells her that Duncan is coming there as a guest. At this Lady Macbeth said that Duncan will never go back from here and in a tone of the greatest determination, she urges him to get ready for the task of the assassination. She advises him to look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it. She takes charge of the whole enterprise for the sake of the sovereign power and authority which it will bring to them both. But Macbeth does not respond to his wife’s exhortation and merely says: “we will speak further”.

A little later we find Macbeth making a soliloquy in which he considers both the practical and moral objections to the proposed assassination of Duncan and comes to the conclusion that this enterprise should be abandoned. Macbeth tells her wife that Duncan has only a short time ago conferred honors upon him and that he has moreover, won high tributes from all sorts of people. Macbeth would like to enjoy this honors and tributes rather than murder Duncan. At this Lady Macbeth feels annoyed with him for having first vowed to murder Duncan and for now baking out of his original resolve. She asks him if she is now afraid of acting bravely in order to achieve his heartfelt desire to acquire the Kingship which she calls “the ornament of life”.


Lady Macbeth asks him if he would now leave coward in his own estimation. If he does not perform that act, she will regard his love for her to be a poor show. She reminds him that he was very keen to accomplish the proposed task when neither time nor place was favorable. She points out now that both time and place are now at his disposal. She goes on to say that if she had taken a vow to do the task, she would have done it at any cost, even if it had necessitated her plucking the nipple of her breast from the mouth of her baby and dashing out the baby’s brain.

Macbeth is overwhelmed by his wife’s feelings. He is afraid not only of the possibility of the plan miscarrying. Lady Macbeth assures that if he can screw the string of his courage, the plan will not fail. Lady Macbeth unfolds another plan to Macbeth. She says that she will make the two guards of Duncan drunk with wine so that the suspicious of murder falls on them. Macbeth is convinced. And two this he adds that they will smear the faces and the dagger of guards with Duncan’s blood so that the murder would certainly be attributed to them. On Lady Macbeth agreeing whole heartedly, he says that his mind is made up and that he will carry out the plan. It is obvious then that Lady Macbeth’s role in urging her husband to commit the murder is crucial. Without her instigation, he would not have committed the murder.

After Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth begins to dwindle. When Macbeth has become the king and he is contemplating the murder of Banquo, he does not consult his wife and hatches the conspiracy of Banquo’s murder without even informing her. Nor is Lady Macbeth able to influence her husband much in the Banquet scene when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost. She does try to restore him to normalcy by her words of advice and her efforts to cheer him, but she completely fails. Macbeth then tells her that he would go to the weird sister to know the future. In replay to this she is says that Macbeth needs sleep more than anything else. At these stages Lady Macbeth role is that of a companion and comrade. She has now absolutely no hand in his decisions. She is no longer a determining force.

Nest time we meet her, she is walking in her sleep and talking to her. She is now herself completely overcome by her sense of guilt. Ultimately, she completely breaks down under her overwhelming sense of guilt and kills herself. Even his death now cannot move Macbeth.

Thus Lady Macbeth influences Macbeth’s actions and decisions till Duncan is killed. After the murder of Duncan her influence on Macbeth deteriorates and finally cannot influence at all. Analysts see in the character of Lady Macbeth the conflict between femininity and masculinity, as they are impressed in cultural norms. Lady Macbeth suppresses her instincts toward compassion, motherhood, and fragility — associated with femininity — in favor of ambition, ruthlessness, and the single-minded pursuit of power.