Essay on Why Is Lady Macbeth Guilty

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Lady Macbeth is cunning and manipulative. When first introduced to her in the play she is already plotting the murder of the king. Her ambition to be Queen and her power-hungry nature pushes her to manipulate her husband, Macbeth. Lady Macbeth calls her husband’s manhood into question, taunting his lack of courage when he begins having second thoughts on committing murder until he feels that he must kill the king to prove himself as a man. Her viscous nature is hidden by her ability to act as a consummate hostess to the king welcoming him into her castle.

Lady Macbeth shows remarkable strength through the king’s murder as it is her who steadies and comforts her husband’s nerves after the crime was committed. Afterwards, however, she begins descending into madness. Just like how ambition overwhelmed her more strongly than Macbeth before the murder, the guilt and remorse plagues her more strongly afterwards. In act 5 scene one guilt has replaced her incredible ambition and has reduced her to sleepwalking through the castle. She appears to be trying to wash invisible bloodstains from her hands that she imagines has been left behind by the murder.

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Lady Macbeth’s sensitivity to emotion becomes her weakness as she’s unable to cope with the guilt that eats away at her. The audience is led to believe that her guilt is ultimately what leads to her suicide, signalling her inability to deal with the legacy of her crimes. If it was not for Lady Macbeth, her husband may never have journeyed down the murderous path that lead to their eventual downfall.

My monologue takes place directly before her death which happens off stage in the play. I have chosen to interrupt the story at this point because there was little detail told about her death except in Malcom’s final speech when he says she died by, “self and violent hands” implying she killed herself. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth isolates herself from her husband, all other characters she associated with and eventually her own sanity. Her death was brushed aside by her husband and mostly ignored afterwards demonstrating how removed she was from the action. The mystery surrounding her death as well as the other characters lack of pity for her is what lead me to write my monologue in this part of the play.

Lady Macbeth:

The daggers that once hacked at poor Duncan take their revenge as they carve at my feeble mind. A demon I am as I lie responsible for the death of an angel. Oh Lord, guilt plagues my body, please take mercy on me. What once a small spot on the palm of my hand has spread. Oh, my legs, my arms, my face! The blood wreaks from every one of my limbs! “Go wash and scrub contaminated hands” I foolishly said before. How cruel for it to work for Macbeth and not me. Spots be gone! Oh, be gone you damned spots! I have scrubbed these hands tirelessly; they are red and raw and still they glisten scarlet, gloved in the blood of slumbering innocents.

The damned doctor leaves my side in my direst need. Oh Lord, oh good, good Lord, the doctor wants me dead! The night sky’s darkness is not enough to conceal the evil which flows from my heart. He knows of my wickedness as I have spilled my secrets in my sleep.

Oh Lord, how wrong of me to believe I would be unscathed by the lies I’ve told. They possess me like demons. Lies haunt my soul green with guilt. Oh, I cannot look at Macbeth without seeing the ghosts of Banquo and the good, oh how kind, Lady Macduff. Their ghosts infect my mind, their blood smear my hands.

But the question remains: what am I to do? Is it possible to live with this guilt? No! No, my bones cry out in pain, my body aches from carrying such guilt. This ruthless guilt has tormented me for too long. I am no human now, my body oozes evil spirits. How can I permit myself to live a second longer? My blood shall mark this dagger already tarnished by blood of those I now kill myself over.  

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Essay on Why Is Lady Macbeth Guilty. (2024, May 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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