Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's Equal Share in the Blame Essay

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's Equal Share in the Blame Essay

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In reading Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Macbeth, I noted that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were often given equal blame for crimes that were not equally committed. Lady Macbeth’s only crimes are in her words, which are treasonous, certainly, but she never actually murders nor does she hire others to kill for her; those offenses belong solely to Macbeth and thus, only he should be held responsible for them. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s villainy is portrayed as equal to Macbeth’s, though their crimes are in no way of the same magnitude, and when her husband becomes a tyrant, she shares his doom.
One of the recurring themes in Macbeth is that of choices and how they affect one’s fate. Macbeth’s fall from grace is not sudden or involuntary, but rather a slow descent made up of ill choices. Lady Macbeth may help in strengthening his convictions but ultimately, every choice was his. When first the witches cry “All hail, Macbeth, who shall be King hereafter” (Macbeth, I. 3. 50)! Foretelling Macbeth’s kingship of Scotland, my initial thought was that only a fool would heed the words of so dark a trio, fair though their tidings me be, as those who did could only come to a dark end. Macbeth listens to the witches of his own volition, without Lady Macbeth’s influence. In fact, it is only after Macbeth realizes that to seize the throne it must first be empty, that Lady Macbeth plays any role at all. She encourages Macbeth to take the most direct route to the crown by murdering King Duncan, and after a long argument, Macbeth declares “I am settled and bend up/ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat” (Macbeth, I. 7. 79-80), indicating that his decision has been made and that he will kill Duncan. Though Lady Macbeth may have helped...

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...lipsed by the evil that consumes her husband, and her image becomes tainted by association “Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,/ Yet grace must still look so” (Macbeth, IV. 3. 23-24). This concept well describes Lady Macbeth’s predicament in that because evil would wear the guise of goodness, true goodness is often ignored. Lady Macbeth comes to a tragic end, succumbing to insanity over guilt for crimes she did not commit and eventually killing herself. As, sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth mutters about the murders Macbeth committed, her doctor notes that “Unnatural deeds/ Do breed unnatural troubles” (Macbeth, V. 1. 67-68). In truth, Lady Macbeth does not share anywhere near the degree of guilt that Macbeth does, however, they are both involved in unnatural events. Unfortunately for Lady Macbeth, such aberrant occurrences often distort the truth.

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