Essay on the Image of Lady Macbeth

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The Image of Lady Macbeth 

 

Macbeth, one of the greatest tragedies written by William Shakespeare, tells a story about uncontrollable ambition, which destroys Macbeth and his wife. Interpreting the play using the mythological approach, Lady Macbeth exhibits a profound image as the terrible mother,  more so than the “weird sisters.” Her evil intention foreshadows the awful fate and destiny of her family. The force that drives Lady Macbeth is her insatiable thirst for power.

            Macbeth does not have clear ambition to kill King Duncan till Lady Macbeth suggests him to do so. In Act I, Scene III, Macbeth finally encounters the witches and acknowledges
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As a strong character, she misinterprets ¡§Behind every great man there is a woman.¡¨ Consequently, she is the one who strongly endorses Macbeth to usurp the monarch and has him to eliminate some people who have the possibilities to recover the kingdom. As the wife, she perfectly understands his husband’s inner conflict. In other words, Lady Macbeth has a strong insight of human nature. As a result, she knows exactly how to dominate over her husband and the means to stimulate him.

            What thou art promis’d: yet do I fear thy nature;

            It is too full o’th milk of human kindness

            To catch the nearest way.

(Act I, Scene v, lines 14-16)

Certainly, it makes Macbeth suffer from the confliction between ambition and loyalty. When he tries to retreat his plan, his wife prevents him from doing so, and, of course, the project of assassination still on the way. Hereof, Macbeth is precisely controlled by the Lady and loses his Jeffersonian principles. If this foregrounds the female figures, Lady Macbeth is also equated with the Witches in more specific ways.3

            Lady Macbeth appears as an image of the terrible mother in the following ways.