Lady Macbeth - More Tragic than Fiend

Powerful Essays
At the end of the play, Malcolm refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as “this dead butcher and his fiend like queen” (5.7 .114). In your view, how appropriate is this description of Lady Macbeth?

At first, one could easily summarise that Lady Macbeth is indeed a fiend like queen. Throughout the play, she does seem to be the driving force behind Macbeth, causing him to murder and commit devilish deeds. Malcolm had of course had a reason on why is view on the Macbeth’s was like it was. Together they had destroyed his family, and almost the whole of Scotland. However is calling her a “fiend” a true interpretation of her as a character? A fiend implies an incarnation of pure evil, capable of doing horrific deeds and manipulating those around them to do whatever they wish. Is this actually the case with Lady Macbeth? Or is she rather a much more tragic figure, someone who was herself deceived, and lost everything in her bid to get it all?

After reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there is little doubt that Lady Macbeth is one of the main factors that cause Macbeth to carry out the murder of the king. We first meet Lady Macbeth is in 1.5. She is at first alone with a letter from Macbeth, telling her of his encounter with the Wayward Sisters, and how the first prophecy (that he would become Thane of Cawdor, 1.3 109) has come true. It is here we first see the transformation of Lady Macbeth. She instantly thinks of murder as the way for him to become king (“seize the quickest way, 1.5), despite the fact that the murder of a king would be considered a crime against God back in Shakespeare’s time. Most would not consider it. So here begins the transformation. She clearly has a desire to turn into this devilish character, and to commit the murder....

... middle of paper ...

...e, rather than that of a “fiend”. Her actions later on in the play support that, and also I think had it not been for her own personal greed and her naivety in believing in the witches were right, perhaps this play would not have been the same. Whilst she did beg to become this “fiend” and perhaps for a short time was, we later see indeed that it was just a cover, a mask over her true self. It was the witches who tricked her, and in the process caused her to become mad. This therefore strongly refutes the claim that Lady Macbeth is a “fiend”. A fiend would not have broken down in such a way after just a murder; rather a fiend would be expected to grow in power and pride after committing such a deed. However we see the opposite with Lady Macbeth. To me she seems much more of a tragic figure, one that was misled and exploited by the true evil of the play, the witches.
Get Access