Lady Macbeth: Quotes, Character Analysis & Quiz
In Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth,' Lady Macbeth is possibly one of the most villainous characters in English literature. Little does she realize what her guilty conscience will cost her. In this lesson we will analyze her character and motivations.
We also recommend watching Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play and A Midsummer Night's Dream: Summary, Quotes and Characters
Ambitious. Manipulative. Evil. These three adjectives can easily be applied to Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's play Macbeth. Her lust for power and position drive her to manipulate her husband to murder Duncan, the noble king of Scotland, a close relative.
As the play opens, Macbeth is the thane, or ruler, of Glamis, and really is very loyal to King Duncan. In battles against the Norwegians, he bravely proves his worth. This is important because Macbeth changes due to the prophecies of three witches he meets on the way home from battle, and the manipulative nature of Lady Macbeth. The witches greet Macbeth, first calling him the thane of Glamis, which he already is, then the thane of Cawdor, a promotion, but finally, the King of Scotland. Aware that the witches are evil, their words seem to hold little worth until Macbeth is told he has, indeed, been promoted to thane of Cawdor! The gullible Macbeth can't wait to write home and tell his wife.
Lady Macbeth first hears of her husband's good fortune in a letter, and right at its heels hears that King Duncan is arriving that very night to stay at the Macbeth home. Lady Macbeth has just been thinking that her husband is too weak willed to seize what she sees as rightfully his, the throne of Scotland. When she hears that King Duncan will be staying in her home, she says: 'Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown...