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Lady Macbeth Ambition

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion


The play ‘Macbeth’ was written by one of the world’s greatest writer’s ‘William Shakespeare’. It is recognised as one of the most tragic stories that has ever been written. He uses numerous characters to develop the downfall of Macbeth. Characters such as Lady Macbeth is one of the most significant protagonists in the play as she manipulated Macbeth to find his quest in becoming the king. Lady Macbeth portrays herself as a hubris character who believed that nothing could stop her as she expressed the spirits to “unsex” her femininity to be released from her body (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 44). Thus, although it is surmised that Lady Macbeth had poor judgements and only desired the best for her husband, she was ultimately ambitious, scheming and cruel which indicates that she is a woman who does not earn the audience’s pity and deserved her fate. Various elements analysed in this study are determined and understood through Lady Macbeth’s ambition to be queen, her behaviour towards Macbeth and the blood on her hands that proved her guilt.


An essential element in act one, scene five showed the audience when Lady Macbeth realised that a prophecy was told by the three witches to Macbeth, saying that he will become the king of Scotland. Factors reveal that she then began portraying her ambition, scheme and cruelty by explaining to herself that “what thou are promised” from the prophecy will allow Macbeth to be the king. Yet, she feared that “thy nature… is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness” as he was an honourable and loyal soldier and not a murderer or traitor to the “nearest way” of becoming the almighty king (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 13-16). Hence, she had faith that the country would be ruled by Macbeth; however, she forced him acquire the crown as cruel as possible by killing the Duncan. From this it can be deduced and provided with an immediate implication that although Lady Macbeth had poor judgements and that she desired the best for her husband, her desire for him to become king by forcing him to kill Duncan was ultimately ambitious, scheming and cruel which shows that she is a woman who does not earn the audience’s pity and that she deserved her fate.

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Throughout the end of the same act, killing King Duncan were both in Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s eyes in order to allow them to rule Scotland and for Lady Macbeth to control the nation like no woman ever had in such a male-dominated society. However, her behaviour of forcing Macbeth to kill Duncan was profoundly initiated in her hands as she considers the ideas on completing the plan. An insight into this issue can be gained as she says to Macbeth, “when you durst to do it, then you were a man” in which verbally abused and peer-pressured him to kill Duncan. (Act 1, Scene 7, Line 54). Shakespeare portrays a character who had the confidence to peer pressure such an honourable man as during, the 11th century of Scotland, gender proceedings did not have equality as it was a society of men taking a complete authority towards their wives. Lady Macbeth is an essential character used by Shakespeare to present a powerful woman that can cause such wicked acts and use Macbeth to acquire the scheming “solely sovereign sway and masterdom” that will change her life and nature from a categorised traditional woman to the Queen of Scotland with legitimate power (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 77). On an interpretation of the evidence, it can be therefore represented that Lady Macbeth was ambitious, scheme and cruel in which is an act that the audience does not need to pity and that she deserved her guilt and fate although she only desired the best for her husband by increasing their power willingly.

All of Lady Macbeth’s ambitious, scheming and cruel desires are all demonstrated in the rising tension, for example, Duncan’s blood on her hands and the sleepwalking in which caused her with peripeteia and symbolic guilt. Her visions expressed her anxieties and insaneness. This particular element suggests that Lady Macbeth articulates the cruel acts she caused as she was not able to wash the “damned” blood that was draining through her hands in which then she screamed “out, I say! One- Two” (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 30). She refers “’tis time to do it” to recollect back to Duncan’s murder and clarify that she understands her sins would bring her to the “murky” hell (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 31). Moreover, although she senses the guilt, she believes that Macbeth and her power cannot be “account” and that they were both unstoppable (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 33). However, she senses the effects that caused her mental health as Shakespeare illustrates that Lady Macbeth continued feeling the dripping of “so much blood” that was from Duncan’s body and attached to her hands (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 34). The accumulated evidence, therefore, determines that although she only desired the best for her husband by increasing their power to the nation, her ambition, scheme and cruelty are all established in this interpretation as her complete guilt proves that she does not need the audience’s pity and that she deserved her fate.


In conclusion, an application of this interpretation justifies her ambitions from her desire for Macbeth to be king, her behaviour which coercive him to kill Duncan and the effects of guilt from Duncan’s blood that was attached to her hands. This proves this interpretation and that she deserved her fate. Therefore, Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as an ambitious, scheming and cruel woman who does not deserve the audience’s pity because overall, she proves her malicious desires as she asked the spirits to “unsex” her to express that she is unstoppable (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 44). Thus, although Lady Macbeth caused a fatal flaw, she is entirely malevolent as she was able to commit such evil and impossible tasks that allowed her to attain her dreams.

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Lady Macbeth Ambition. (2021, September 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“Lady Macbeth Ambition.” Edubirdie, 30 Sept. 2021,
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