Lady Macbeth: Feeble-minded?

John

By the end of Sheakspeare?s "Macbeth," Lady Macbeth has proven that her imagination is stronger than her will. During the beginning of the play, Lady M had been the iron fist and authority icon for Macbeth. She was the voice of determination and hardness, yet deep down, she never carried such traits to begin with. She started this ordeal with a negative, bombastic rhetoric, preying on Macbeth?s weaknesses in order to egg him on. In no way did she make a positive contribution to Macbeth or to herself. However, Macbeth soon becomes more independent and shows more of his own self-ambition. Eventually, Lady Macbeth begins to show her true, stripped away and "wither?d" nature. Lady Macbeth?s vulnerability increases as time passes, and her enthusiasm wanes. Lady Macbeth is mainly responsible for aggravating the struggle between Macbeth?s morality, devotion and "vaulting ambition." This duality in Lady Macbeth?s character plays a huge role in planting the seed for Macbeth?s downfall and eventual demise.

Lady Macbeth imagines that she has the capability to be a remorseless and determined villain, but she isn?t anything of the like in reality. She thinks that her will to follow through with her thoughts outweighs Macbeth?s determination. Lady Macbeth views her husband as "too full o? the milk of human kindness/To catch the nearest way," (I-v, 16-17). Within the first act, she deems herself the more committing and authoritative person in this couple. She claims that "that which rather [Macbeth] dost fear to do," could be fulfilled if, "I may pour my spirits in thine ear" (I-v, 23-25). She believes matters should be taken into her own hands from the moment she receives the letter about the witches? prophecies. Lady Macbeth believes that Macbeth doesn?t have the "spirit" to "catch the nearest way" (I-v, 17). At this moment, she decides that quick action will be the basis of her reasoning and planning. Lady Macbeth intentionally tries to ignore consequence and concentrate on securing Macbeth?s future as king of Scotland. She looks to the ?quickest way? as one that may lack rationality, but shortens their path to the throne. When Lady Macbeth heard Macbeth pondering the many reasons he shouldn?t kill the current king of Scotland, she realized that she was now more committed to the crime than Macbeth was. She scolds him for even having such thoughts, accusing him of being cowardly. Lady Macbeth decides to allude to herself as the mother of a baby. She would have the "nipple pluck?d from his boneless gums/And dashed the brains out" (I-vii, 57-58) if she had promised to do the deed. Her shocking and persuasive effect on Macbeth convinces him that he is "settled," (I-iii, 79). By hearing a woman who seems to be fearless of his anxieties, he is soothed. But even here, however, we begin to catch a glimpse of Lady Macbeth?s very unstable mind. By using such a graphic description, she reflects her straining desperation for Macbeth?s commitment. She knows that Macbeth is a strong person, and she must seem stronger to convince him to go along with her. She now has to wear a ?mask? of this determined and cold character, creating more distance between her true self and Macbeth.

At one point, Lady Macbeth demands the assistance of the supernatural evil forces: "You murdering ministers? Come, thick night?[from] the dunnest smoke of hell" (I-vi, 47-50). Being totally rash, Lady Macbeth summons the evil as if she can undermine the power of darkness to her advantage. She asks for the assistance of the evil, implying that she holds no resident evil in her soul. It must act as an additive to fulfill a transformation. Lady Macbeth is creating, instead of magnifying, wickedness that she must manifest in order to propel Macbeth. She embraces the darkness and welcomes it. By being so crude in her requests, she must believe that she is far too ?valorous? to be negatively affected by it. It is rather ironic to see the utter reversal of this at the end of the play. She eventually goes delirious, carrying a lit candle wherever she walked (V-i, 17.5). This behavior is an indeed pathetic attempt to try and fend off the real, evil darkness with a man-made light. She looks to Lady Macduff with a countenance of that which would belong to a ghost, and began to express a compassion that she