William Shakespeare's Macbeth Lady Macbeth Rediscovered

Essay by ieatpooHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

"We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, and not as they are said to be" (George Bernard Shaw). These words define how people tend to only view things from the outside, without looking deeper. They do not look past the stereotypes to see things for what they really are. Such is the case of Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The audience generally views her as a Machiavellian villain. They do not see past the few corrupt incidents that she is involved in, to realize that she is not a heartless criminal, and instead a tragic hero. The personal qualities she possesses that indicate she is a tragic hero compensate for her villain-like traits. Lady Macbeth uses her extreme intelligence to plot shady plans to obtain power, much like a Machiavellian villain. However, there are significant signs that she does in fact have a conscious, and therefore she cannot be a villain.

A character flaw she has makes innocent people suffer, but in the end invokes pity in the audience at the time of her death, qualities of a tragic hero. At first glance Lady Macbeth appears to be a Machiavellian villain. In actuality, further analysis proves she meets the criteria of being a tragic hero.

Machiavellian villains are intelligent, clear-headed and focussed. They want power, and will resort to dishonest means to obtain and retain it. Lady Macbeth resembles a Machiavellian villain because she is directed and determined to get what she wants. She craves power and she strives to achieve it. She never thinks twice about the consequences of her actions. Lady Macbeth wants to obtain power by killing the king. Not once does she think that her plan will fall through, resulting in Macbeth and herself being...