To What Extent Is Lady Macbeth Pure Evil? Do You Agree?

923 words - 4 pages

Throughout Shakespeare's "Macbeth", Lady Macbeth is consistently depicted as one of Shakespeare's most evil and frightening female characters, however, she is only evil to the extent of lacking the judgement of her behaviour. Pure Evil can be defined as having only 'inhumane' qualities or constantly being morally depraved. Two of Lady Macbeth's main qualities expressed are ambition and guilt. These qualities are perfectly humane, however it is her choices of how to achieve this ambition, through manipulation and cruelty that gives her some evil qualities.Ambition is one of the qualities expressed by Lady Macbeth when she is first introduced in the play. Ambition is a part of human nature and being ambitious can be defined as being 'eager for success'. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter from Macbeth, she was ambitious for Macbeth, her husband, to become everything that he can be, while she was also aware of the "illness" that should attend ambition."Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt beWhat thou art promised; yet I do fear thy nature,It is too full o'th'milk of human kindness...Hie thee hither,That I may pour my spirits in thine earAnd chastise with the valour of my tongue..."This can appear as ruthless and evil, yet it also shows Lady Macbeth's loyalty and love for Macbeth. Just as Macbeth is ambitious for the throne, Lady Macbeth is driven to assist him and for this reason, Lady Macbeth cannot be considered pure evil.One of the ways Lady Macbeth chooses to achieve her ambition is through manipulation. Lady Macbeth herself is the driving force behind Macbeth's actions. She manipulates Macbeth with remarkable effectiveness and overrode all the objections of his conscience. She uses blackmail and repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit the murder of Duncan to prove himself:"...From this time,Such I account thy love. Art thou afeardTo be the same in thine own act and valourAs thou art in desire? Would'st thou have thatWhich thou esteem'st the ornament of lifeand live a coward in thine own esteem...When you durst do it, then you were a man."This is a major flaw of Lady Macbeth behind her ambition for her husband's success. She did not judge her behaviour and it causes the moral disorder that activates the plot of Macbeth. This shows that she is merely human and not pure evil.Lady Macbeth's cruelty is something else that expresses her evil qualities. Lady Macbeth rarely shows any sympathy towards any characters throughout the play and she does not hesitate to plot the details of the plan to kill Duncan. However, most of her cruelty is only spoken and she uses her cruel words to strengthen her self...

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