Lady Macbeth's Loss Of Innocence

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Shakespeare presents an interesting dynamic in Macbeth wherein Lady Macbeth acts as the proverbial devil on the shoulder of her husband, constantly whispering in his ear. Though Macbeth is introduced as a loyal warrior under King Duncan of Scotland, he ponders murdering his king almost immediately after he is told by three witches that he will one day rule the country. Even so, Macbeth’s resolve to carry out this crime is shaky at best. Once his wife gets into his ear, however, that shaky resolution is ever so slowly strengthened. Lady Macbeth begins her work by insisting that to not kill King Duncan would be cowardly. It is worth noting that Shakespeare does not write this crime as an easy sell; indeed, Macbeth’s initial unwillingness to …show more content…
Watching her husband nearly go mad at the sight of the slain king, the Lady derides Macbeth, saying, “My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white” (2.2.). Although it is not obvious at this point in the play, Lady Macbeth is turning her husband from a remorseful man into a bloodthirsty tyrant. The next kill, that of his former friend Banquo, comes much easier to the newly crowned King Macbeth. Perhaps this is because paid murderers do the killing, but still, Macbeth comes to his decision without his wife’s prompting. Again he is driven mad, this time hallucinating the ghost of Banquo. His conscience is obviously not clear, but Lady Macbeth quickly stamps out this sliver of humanity. She admonishes her husband, “O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear: this is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, lead you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts, imposters to true fear, would well become a woman’s story at a winter’s fire, authorized by her grandam” (3.4.). This is the last glimpse of remorse seen from Macbeth. From after Banquo’s death until the end of the play, Scotland’s new tyrant sheds the blood of his subjects willingly and even almost gleefully. Lady Macbeth has created a …show more content…
The reader should notice that not once does Lady Macbeth speak of her own desire to be queen or the power that she might gain. Upon realizing that Macbeth can only attain the crown through regicide, her only concern is that her husband will need her help. She even feels it necessary to beg the forces of darkness to fortify her for the task, thus betraying the fact that she does not believe herself to be capable of the murder without appealing to the supernatural. This is important. In Shakespeare’s time, the act of opening oneself up to evil spirits would have been scandalous, and Lady Macbeth does exactly that for the benefit of Macbeth. Aware that her husband will be required to go against his nature, the Lady sets herself up as a stoic wall of support for him. Unfortunately, she goes too far due to her flaw of unbridled ambition. After the initial murder, the responsibility of keeping Macbeth sane falls to Lady Macbeth. Unwilling to allow her king to falter, she continues to push him on in his evil endeavors until he no longer needs her. At that point, Lady Macbeth has nothing left to accomplish, and so her guilt begins to set in. When there is nothing left to gain and her ambition has been used up, Lady Macbeth’s remorse becomes too much to bear. As a result, she takes her own

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