Lady Macbeth: Unsexed and Uncovered
Lady Macbeth progresses throughout the play from a seemingly savage and heartless creature to a very delicate and fragile woman. In the beginning of the play, she is very ambitious and hungry for power. She pushes Macbeth to kill Duncan in order to fulfill the witches prophecy. In Act I, Scene 6, she asks the gods to make her emotionally strong like a man in order to help her husband go through with the murder plot. She says, Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty! Also, she does everything in her power to convince Macbeth that he would be wrong not to kill Duncan. In Act I, Scene 7, she tells him, What beast was t then That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; Be so much more the man. Later on in the play, Lady Macbeth begins to show some small signs of weakness. The first sign of weakness comes in Act II, Scene 2 when she says that she could not kill Duncan because he resembled her father. She explains, Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done t. The other example of some weakness in Lady Macbeth s character is in Act III, Scene 2 when she tries to comfort Macbeth by telling him not to worry about what he has done to Duncan and is about to do to Banquo. She tells him, How now, my lord! Why do you keep alone, Of sorriest fancies your companions making, Using those thoughts which should indeed have died With them they think on? Things without all remedy Should be without regard: what s done is done. Perhaps the most ironic change in Lady Macbeth s character comes at the very end of the play. Throughout most of the first four acts of the play, she has been the strongest character, always leading Macbeth and pushing him to carry out their plot, but in Act V we begin to see that she wasn t as strong as she had appeared. First, in Act V, Scene 1 we see a troubled Lady Macbeth who is sleepwalking. She seems to be very troubled by blood, presumably that of King Duncan. Some of the comments she makes are, Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? , What, will these hands ne er be clean? , and Here s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Later, we learn of Lady Macbeth s tragic fate as Seyton announces to Macbeth, The queen, my lord, is dead. In conclusion, we see that Lady Macbeth s savage nature was only a facade; underneath that facade, she was really one of the most fragile characters in the play.