Ambition and Cruelty of Lady Macbeth Analytical Essay

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Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth demonstrates intense ambition. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth is extremely manipulative and cruel who has the power to control her husband’s actions. This is evident when she expresses that Macbeth is a coward. “Thou wouldst be great art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it” (I.5.17). Lady Macbeth says Macbeth has the correct ambitious dreams, but is too kind to ever go through with them. Knowing Macbeth too well, she knows exactly where to hit to get him to carry out her wishes. Act 1 Scene 5 especially shows how she manipulates her husband using the thorough knowledge she has of him.

“Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’,Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?” (I.7.41-45). Lady Macbeth demonstrates ambition when she again scolds her husband for not taking the crown when he wants it so badly. When Macbeth hesitates to murder the king, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit the murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth even mocks Macbeth and claims he is like a sad cat in an old story.

Another character trait that describes Lady Macbeth is evil. “Make thick my blood; Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th’ effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts. And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature’s mischief!” (I.5.38-54). Lady Macbeth says these words as she awaits the coming of King Duncan. It is clear that in this speech, Lady Macbeth will do whatever it takes to seize the crown.

This speech also shows that Lady Macbeth is the true evil backbone of the regicide. “I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this”(I.7.62-67). Lady Macbeth takes evil to a whole other level when she talks about the extent of her keeping her promises. She even takes the example of breastfeeding and makes it monstrous.

As the end of the play nears, Lady Macbeth becomes guilty. “These deeds must not be thought/ After these ways; so, it will make us mad” (II.2.33-34). At first, Lady Macbeth warns Macbeth that if they think about the murder, it will drive them mad. This is an ironic statement because guilt is later what drives her mad and causes a downward spiral. Another instance in which Lady Macbeth demonstrates guilt is when she sleep walks.

“Out, damned spot, out, I say! One. Two.Why then, ’tis time to do ‘t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” (V.1.37–42). In this scene, Lady Macbeth sees Duncan’s blood on her hands and her hallucinations are even so deep that she can smell his blood on her hands as well. This minor detail shows how deep Lady Macbeth’s guilt truly is. At this point Lady Macbeth knows that she cannot bare the guilt any longer and later kills herself.


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Ambition and Cruelty of Lady Macbeth Analytical Essay. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/ambition-and-cruelty-of-lady-macbeth/



How does Lady Macbeth's ambition corrupt Macbeth?
Lady Macbeth's ambition for power and status leads her to manipulate and influence Macbeth to commit regicide, ultimately corrupting his moral compass and leading to his downfall. Her relentless ambition and encouragement to pursue the throne blinds Macbeth to the consequences of his actions, leading him to commit further atrocities to maintain his power.
How is Lady Macbeth affected by ambition?
Lady Macbeth's ambition leads her to commit murder and ultimately drives her insane.
What causes Lady Macbeth's ambition?
Lady Macbeth's ambition is caused by her strong desire for power and control. She is willing to do whatever it takes to obtain and keep power, even if it means committing murder.
What does Lady Macbeth say about ambition?
Laertes felt he needed to avenge the death of his father, Polonius. Laertes also felt that Hamlet was responsible for the death of his sister, Ophelia.
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