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In early modern period of history women had much fewer rights and
privileges. Woman, in Shakespearian times occupied a lesser status to
men in society and there were also limitations on what a woman could
do in a marriage. This is reflected in the marriage of Lady Macbeth
and Macbeth. The husband has more responsibility than his wife.
Lady Macbeth is the dominant partner in the Macbeth marriage. Anything
she says goes. She is a strong and very persuasive influence on her
“Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here…make
thick my blood…” she asks.
She is seeking supernatural assistance. Lady Macbeth further asks
these “spirits” to come to her women’s breasts and take her milk for
When she reads the letter written by Macbeth she is thrilled and
excited if Macbeth becomes king she will be queen, a prospect she is
most happy with.
“Hail, King that shalt be.”
“Glamis thou art and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promis’d…”
This is when Lady Macbeth herself begins to formulate her evil plans
to kill Duncan, not Macbeth.
Through this stage of Lady Macbeth plotting to kill King Duncan we see
an entirely different side to the benevolent queen. We learn that she
is most evil, as she calls on evil spirits to aide her conquest into
building up confidence to perform the heinous act of murder against a
We learn that her thoughts turn to ones of malevolence, but yet
Macbeth is hesitant.
When she shared her thoughts with Macbeth he was very nervous about
murdering the king. Duncan was the king whom he loved and looked up
to, whom he served. He could not bring himself to do such a deed. He
was extremely nervous but Lady Macbeth was yet again extremely
“If we should fail?” he asks
“We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’l not
fail” she replies.
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"Macbeth as a Fiend Like Queen." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Feb 2020
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Here Lady Macbeth is questioning Macbeth’s masculinity, saying that he
is a coward. Lady Macbeth was prepared to do the unlawful deed.
“…had he not resembled my father…I had don’t…”
This shows a positive, emotional side to this otherwise committed
In Act 2 Scene Three, Lady Macbeth pretends to faint to take the
pressure of Macbeth. This is quick, clear and very clever thinking;
she does this because Macbeth admits to killing the guards.
In Act 3 Scene Two she becomes very uneasy as Macbeth will not tell
her what is happening over Banquo. He does not tell her he is getting
someone to murder him.
Lady Macbeth regains her strength at the famous Banquet scene when she
again comes to Macbeths rescue when he sees Banquo’s bloody and gory
ghost. She is very good at covering their tracks.
“Sit worthy friends. My lord is often thus and hath been from his
This totally convinces her listeners.
In Act 5 Scene One she begins to sleep walk which reflects her guilty
conscience. Her murderous past is now beginning to haunt her. She is
clearly disturbed. She has to be seen by a doctor as every night it
gets worse. Macbeth discusses her condition with both the doctor and
Lady Macbeth’s lady in waiting.
As Macbeth slowly began to regain his strength and confidence Lady
Macbeth seemed to fall the other way, she got weaker and weaker.
Both the doctor and her lady in waiting had to keep a close eye on
her. She was having nightmares, reliving the night of the evil murder.
She began to sleep walk and she muttered strange things such as;
“Here is the smell of blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not
sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!”
Later she had to sleep with the light on and her maids kept a close
eye on her, especially at night,
This went on for sometime until her death was announced. Lady Macbeth
had possibly committed suicide. Macbeth although he is her husband
seems not to even care. It sounds as though it is an inconvenience to
him at this time. Maybe this isn’t the case; maybe he just doesn’t
have the time to mourn her death as the battle has begun.
Lady Macbeth has clearly become the fiend like queen from her strong
able partner that drove the evil plan and easily covered their tracks.
Despair has replaced her ambition and strength of purpose and finally
she has paid the ultimate penalty for her misdeeds – death. Macbeth
recovered some of his valour but Lady Macbeth got caught up in an
inescapable downward spiral from which she was unable to recover. Her
evil ways and fiendish actions resulted in Malcolm naming her ‘a fiend