Is Lady Macbeth a Monster Lacking in All Humanity
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It would be thought by many that Lady Macbeth is an inhumane monster, but in fact she is not. In many events throughout the play, her behaviour would suggest that she is immoral. I have studied the play ‘Macbeth’ by Shakespeare and will share with you some of the arguments showing that she is a monster and also those showing that she does with-hold a conscience and some goodness within her soul. After reading the letter, received from her husband informing her of his meeting with the witches, Lady Macbeth recognises how the witches words are beneficial to her.
The idea of becoming queen excites her, driving her towards greed. She knows that the only way to gain something you really want is to commit an evil sin, ‘Thus thou must do’, if thou have it;’. Lady Macbeth becomes monstrous in her speech, ‘unsex me here’, ‘make thick my blood’. This language would suggest that Macbeth’s wife is a truly evil woman, giving no sign of human sensitivity. However, if this was correct, why does Lady Macbeth have to ask for all goodness to be extracted from her? A real monster is already thoroughly evil. They do not have to seek the help of ‘spirits that tend on mortal thoughts’.
Lady Macbeth and her husband share a great deal of affection. This is not the characteristic of a cold-blooded, heart-less creature. As the play progresses, however, the marriage does deteriorate. Lady Macbeth is forceful and persuasive towards Macbeth, who is ‘too full o’ the milk of human kindness’, pushing him towards the murder of Duncan. Although this is very harsh and evil, surely it is just due to a very natural human quality – ambition? In the time that the play ‘Macbeth’ is set, ruthless and brutal behaviour was not uncommon. Love is also shown by Lady Macbeth towards her father. Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t. ‘.
She could not commit a sin against some one who reminded her so much of a person of which she held deep feelings for. This love is a feature of a human with sensitivity. Macbeth suffers from tremendous guilt and fear of his crime. He has a strong desire to discuss this with his wife. She dismisses his worries, ‘these deeds must not be thought’. This could be seen as a negative characteristic, showing no love or care for him. It could mean that she has no remorse for the deed that she is so closely involved in, all of these are the values of monstrosity.
This dismissal could perhaps be due to Lady Macbeth’s manner of dealing with anything which concerns her. She may be someone who denies their worries, unlike her husband, who recovers better when he has analysed his thoughts with another person. ‘Nought’s had, all’s spent,’. Up until this point in the play, she is portrayed as confident and strong. This line, however displays some worry and doubt in herself and her crimes. She is showing a value that would be forbidden to a beastly, savage creature – insecurity.
Lady Macbeth is clearly embarrassed of her husbands peculiar behaviour in Act 3 Scene 4. She is trying to be entertaining to their guests, disguising her and Macbeth’s wrongful deeds. When he disturbs the banquet, she tries to control and excuse him. ‘This is the very painting of your fear;’. His actions could result in curiosity from the guests, which could then result in the unravelling of the couples terrible acts. ‘You have displac’d the mirth,’ she is quite evidently ashamed and concerned of the way that Macbeth is handling his guilt and fears.
It seems that Lady Macbeth is again suffering from insecurity. The most obvious scene, showing the existing humanity in Lady Macbeth is in her final one, Act 5 Scene 1. She suffers from a guilty conscience, walking in her sleep and re-enacting the murder of King Duncan. ‘Out, damned spot! ‘ Lady Macbeth has become angry of the evil taking over her, which has driven her to madness. ‘What, will these hands ne’er be clean? ‘ She is agitated, realising that she has been so merciless, which breaks her ‘all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. .
Her disturbing behaviour clearly proves that Lady Macbeth is not a monster, for a monster is purely and insanely wicked. They would not allow murder, or any of the crimes that she or her husband committed affect them in such a way that it did to Lady Macbeth in this scene. In conclusion, I believe that Lady Macbeth is not a monster lacking in all humanity, because although there are many cold – blooded, evil and cruel events that she was closely involved with in many occasions throughout the play, she does show some signs of sensitivity.
She shows love and affection, guilt, fear and most importantly, ambition. I think that this final characteristic is the only reason for her cruelty; she wants to hold the title of being queen and this drives her to be evil to achieve this role. Ambition is a human value and not that of a monster. It was this reason that she had to ask for all goodness to be removed from her body, which again shows that she is humane, as she was not evil to begin with.