The Tragedy of Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare explores the life of Macbeth, a loyal Thane to King Duncan. Three witches inform Macbeth of a prophecy that will allow him to become king, unfortunately, ambition and greed take control of Macbeth. With his wife’s encouragement, he kills King Duncan and takes the throne. Afterward, Macbeth’s fears and guilt lead him to commit even more crimes to secure his power. His fears of getting his crown taken lead to his downfall and is eventually killed by those he has wronged. There are several character traits portrayed through various characters in the play. Lady Macbeth is a unique character, who has greatly impacted the tragedy. With either being ruthless or manipulative, Lady Macbeth can accomplish many evils through her husband.
Throughout the duration of the play, Lady Macbeth exhibits her ruthlessness. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth receives news that he is to become king, he quickly sends a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth. The Macbeths’ decide to murder the current king. In Act one scene seven, Macbeth is fearful of the terrible crime they are about to commit and Lady Macbeth eagerly states “We fail?/ But screw your courage to the sticking-place/ And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep-/ Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey/ Soundly invite him—his two chamberlains/ Will I with wine and wassail so convince/ That memory, the warder of the brain,/ Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason/ A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep/ Their drenchèd natures lie as in a death/.”(60-68) Lady Macbeth is telling her husband to not worry about the murder they are going to commit. She explains her plan to kill the king. The Lady Macbeth elucidates that when King Duncan is asleep, she will get his guards intoxicated so they will not be able to recall anything that happened that night, and so Macbeth is capable to kill the King. When it comes time to kill the king, Macbeth returns to his wife with the daggers in his hand. The Lady angerly exclaims in scene two of Act two “Infirm of purpose!/ Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ Are but as pictures. ‘Tis the eye of childhood/ That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,/ I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal,/ For it must seem their guilt./”(51-56)
Lady Macbeth appoints her husband as a coward, that she will complete the crime herself. She tells Macbeth that the dead people cannot hurt the living any more than pictures can, that only children are afraid of such things. Lady Macbeth will cover the guards in King Duncan’s blood to make them seem guilty. Throughout the entirety of the play, Shakespeare constantly reminds the audience on how ruthless Lady Macbeth is. The extent she goes to in order to receive power is unimaginable, but she manages to achieve whatever she has set in her mind, even if she needs to manipulate people.
Lady Macbeth commits crimes with her husband, and for a majority of the play, she needs to manipulate him in order for him to do as she wishes. Once Macbeth was sworn in as king, he needed to kill Banquo and his son, so he will remain King. After Macbeth has been informed that Banquo was killed, he begins to have visions. Macbeth’s guests begin to become worrisome, and it is up to Lady Macbeth to assure them that everything is okay. Macbeth continues to state that he is seeing spirits and Lady Macbeth states “O proper stuff!/ This is the very painting of your fear./ This is the air-drawn dagger which you said/ Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts,/ Impostors to true fear, would well become/ A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,/ Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!/ Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,/ You look but on a stool./” (III, iv, 61-69) Due to Macbeths fears, he is seeing hallucinations.
Lady Macbeth reminds him of when he saw a floating dagger leading towards King Duncan. The lady compares Macbeth to a woman in fear of a scary story. She shames him and mocks him that when the vision goes away all he will see is a stool. By Lady Macbeth comparing him to a woman, she takes away his manhood. She hopes that this will make him stop embarrassing themselves in front of their guests. Later on in the play, Lady Macbeth is ill and one of her servants observe her sleepwalking “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One: two:/ Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my/ lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear/ who knows it, when none can call our pow’r to/ accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man/ to have had so much blood in him?/” (V, i, (36-41) Lady Macbeth is reliving her past of when she had killed Duncan. She attempts to clean her hands of the blood, but it is not there. She remembers Macbeth being afraid to kill the King, she mocks him of being a soldier. She asks why they should be afraid if no one can blame them. Lady Macbeth mocks and lowers Macbeth’s manly hood, so he can accomplish great evils for her.
For the duration of the play, Shakespeare reminds the audience what kind of person Lady Macbeth is. Right from the start of the tragedy, we learn the ways of Lady Macbeth. From being the ruthless woman to manipulating her husband, Lady Macbeth is willing to risk everything for power. Before the great murder of King Duncan, she creates a foolproof plan on how they will kill him, but when it comes to the time of the crime, Macbeth gets scared and she needs to take away every ounce of man he is in order for him to continue with the crime. She does this throughout the play and it works.
Shakespeare reveals that no matter what power someone may hold that death will find them. Lady Macbeth died as a very ill person, most likely because of all the crimes she committed with her husband.