Shakespeare conceived Lady Macbeth as a tradition-breaking character in the domain of drama. His craftsmanship portrayed her to define human nature with a completely new concept. However, this portrayal unlocks the door for different critical approaches to her. And as a result, Lady Macbeth and criticism appear inseparable in The Tragedy of Macbeth.
A profound review about Lady Macbeth has made one thing clear that she was not an evil woman by nature. But her “long cherishing of ambition” and hunger for the throne turned her into a sinister and unfavorable human being.
Like all other characters, Shakespeare has drawn a thin line of individualism while depicting Lady Macbeth as one of the main characters in Macbeth. Being a lady with high rank, she stands alone in the entire play. And the playwright’s sketching compels readers to identify her as a woman who only aims to feed her thoughts with “day-dreams of ambition.”
Her hunger for the crown was so deep that she mistook the bitter realities hiding behind the curtain of fantasy. Without realizing the consequences of realism, she delved deep into the realm of guilt.
There is no denying that the desire to acquire the throne was not an unimaginable thing for a greedy person like Macbeth. But, according to critics, his criminal mentality could not gain momentum without his wife’s inhuman wicked plan. That is, perhaps, appears true, at least from the storyline penned by Shakespeare. However, opposite views are also available.
Experts and critics of Macbeth opine that what Lady Macbeth did was only a part of the plan that her husband first dreamt of after interacting with the witches’ appearance. And, in reality, she was not a cruel monster as portrayed in the play. She was a normal human being, endowed with all the natural tenderness of an average woman. Her evil intention was only a means for the betterment of her husband, Macbeth’s career.
The critics in favor of her even suggest that it is not that Lady Macbeth was unaware of her feminine weaknesses. She suppressed them temporarily only to see her husband as King. In short, she only chose to act as per the plan.
So one important thing is clear from this discussion. It unveils that critical approaches, whether in favor of Lady Macbeth or against her, are unavoidable. In a word, Lady Macbeth and criticism are inseparable.
One notable fact about the play, The Tragedy of Macbeth is that Macbeth and his wife emerged as two great lovers who loved each other even in crises. The playwright knit them so tightly that neither the husband nor the wife ever thought to leave each other in time of need. They remained together before the crime, during the crime, and after the crime.
The best part of their relationship includes their understanding of each other’s weaknesses. The play unfolds that Macbeth was quite aware of his wife’s strengths and weaknesses. And, so he tried to hide his other different plan of murder from her at one time during the play. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth also knew her husband’s weaknesses in thinking and action. Her love for the man was so strong that his weaknesses made her strong enough to kindle him to act, even to defend him in trouble.
Some analysts think that, in reality, her invisible influence over her husband acted as the ultimate catalyst that brought success to her in winning his consent to act accordingly. It enables her to carry forward her plan of action, even in remedying his errors and playing an essential role in rescuing him during the severe crises of the action. From a genuinely loving and caring wife’s point of view, Lady Macbeth did the right thing. But, from a logical outlook, she acted as an abnormal component devoid of conscience or essential prudence.
She suppressed all her feminine sentiments, even putting aside conscience only to fulfill the purpose she dreamed and cherished for so long. She never deviated from her plan of murdering King Duncan till the climax got reached. From a genuine and logical perspective, it is indeed true that influencing Macbeth to perform a criminal act was an act of criminal mentality. And, with an abnormal audacity, she chose to reside in a world of fancy. Yes, a world that finally forced her to sink “in the season of remorse.” Her activities throughout the play unfold how her fatal intention, deluded by ambition, redirected her to the realm of suicidal agony.
That means, from the readers’ view, Lady Macbeth is an embodiment of misdeeds. She was utterly aware while approaching with her heinous motive of killing the aged King. Also, the criminal act can’t get excused by blaming Macbeth’s greedy mentality. In short, her move can never be justifiable in any way. And, here lies the truth why it is almost impossible to separate Lady Macbeth and criticism.