To What Extent Do You Feel Sympathy for Lady Macbeth?

2290 Words Feb 4th, 2013 10 Pages
To what extent do you feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth? Refer to at least two scenes from the play in your answer.

In the play “The Tragedy of Macbeth” written by William Shakespeare, we see a very complex character which is Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's character throughout the play changes as she experiences the misfortunes that are brought to Macbeth and herself. This essay will explore how we as an audience feel sympathy for Lady Macbeth throughout the play, and how this feeling changes as we watch Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is first presented in the play when she receives a letter from her husband explaining that the weird sisters have prophesised his future as king. When she learns that King Duncan will be staying as their guest
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The depth of her want of evil is seen at the end of her soliloquy:
“…Come, thick night
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the the dark...“
The reference to hell shows that she is determined and willing to submit herself to total evil, and leave everything that is good. She asks for a “thick night” to come that is almost like hell, and to never see the light of heaven. Lady Macbeth already sounds like she has been possessed by demon spirits, like the devil, due to her wild comments on death and hell. Also, “my keen knife” indicates that she is desperate to kill. As the devil is known to be an evil character, Lady Macbeth is conveyed as evil and cunning, therefore little sympathy is felt for her at this point in the play.
The first time that we see a more compassionate side to Lady Macbeth is in Act2, Scene 2:
“...Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done't.”
This shows that despite calling upon the spirits to unsex her, she still has tender feelings inside of her. It shows that she loves her father. However, this comment only just touches the surface of her fragile side, so it does not increase the sympathy felt by the audience for Lady Macbeth by very much. She is still desperate for murder and blood. In