Lady Macduff of Macbeth Essay example

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Lady Macduff of Macbeth

In reading Shakespeare's tragic drama Macbeth, one meets only one good woman - Lady Macduff. The remaining female characters are basically evil. Let's consider mainly Lady Macduff and only briefly the three witches.

Blanche Coles states in Shakespeare's Four Giants that Macbeth's wife had considerable leverage over her husband's mind:

This was her opportunity to do as she had promised herself she would do after she had read the letter - to pour her spirits into his ear, to chasten with the valor of her tongue all that might impede him from the golden crown. We may be sure she took this opportunity to use all her monstrous powers of persuasion. (48-49)

In Fools of Time:
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Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare contradict the impression that Lady Macbeth is all strength:

[. . .] she cannot strike the sleeping king who resembles her father. Having sustained her weaker husband, her own strength gives way; and in sleep, when her will cannot control her thoughts, she is piteously afflicted by the memory of one stain of blood upon her little hand. (792)

The Tragedy of Macbeth opens in a desert place with thunder and lightning and three witches, more supernatural forces than women, who are anticipating their meeting with Macbeth. Macbeth is greeted with "hail to thee, thane of Glamis," "thane of Cawdor," and "thou shalt be king hereafter!" When Ross and Angus arrive with news of Duncan's reward ("He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor"), it is logical for Macbeth to assume that all of the weird sisters' prophecies will come true.

At Inverness in Macbeth's castle, his lady warns: "The raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements." She plots murder like a heartless man.

Duncan's visit to Inverness, a one-night celebration of the victory, occasions quick scheming by the Macbeths. When Macbeth has a change of heart, her cold cruelty stands out as she re-converts him to the murder:

I have given suck, and know

How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:

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