The character of Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeares Macbeth is perhaps one of the most controversial and dominant female characters. On the surface she is portrayed as a cold, ambitious and villainous Queen but beneath this faade there is a nave, innocent and easily tempted girl. Lady Macbeth is at times evil but she is unable to compete with the pure evil that envelops Macbeth and defines the weird sister.
At the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth is manipulative, cold and malicious.
The first impression Shakespeare creates of Lady Macbeth is of a woman who consorts with evil spirits and who wishes to be filled with direst cruelty. Lady Macbeth then uses and manipulates Macbeths manhood, pushing him to believe when he durst do it then he would be so much more the man. Her manipulation of her husband defies the social constraints of woman in her day causing her to be seen as a cruel woman who emphasises masculinity. Lady Macbeths cold and masculine nature is shown when she scolds Macbeth for having a heart as white as his. With these first impressions it is hard to see the human beneath this wicked veneer.
Once a strong woman, Lady Macbeth descends into madness as the guilt of her crimes begin to plague her. Her nave comment that a little water will clean of this deed comes back to haunt her as towards the end of the play she hallucinates that all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten her little hand. Lady Macbeth sense of guilt contrast widely with Macbeths isolated emotions. Her anguish that King Duncan had looked like my father and paranoid sleep walking sessions shows that she is still accessible and able feel regret while Macbeth has forgotten the taste of fear. Lady Macbeths eventual demise was not caused by her evil nature but by her vaulting ambition which blinded her from appreciating what she already had.
The weird sisters are undoubtedly the evilest characters in Macbeth; meddling with fate and destroying lives with temptation. There supernatural nature is reflected by Shakespeares use of rhyming couplets; this allows them to be distinct from the other human characters. The weird sisters first appear to be the bearers of good fortune but even then Macbeth sees that the supernatural soliciting cannot be good. The witchs appearance is the ignition of Macbeths unchecked ambition, which cause him the kill King Duncan, Banquo and Macduffs family. Upon Macbeths second visit to the witches, they use security a mortals chiefest enemy to encourage Macbeth down the path of a full-blown tyrant. The witches can be seen as the real villains of the play, they have no sense of right and wrong but only wish to cause havoc for Scotland.
Macbeth the tragic hero is the main villain of the Shakespearean play. His loyalty, loving and caring nature was all lost to his desire for power. At first we see a gentle and loyal Macbeth who believed killing Duncan was a sorry sight but afterwards he descends down the path of brutality. The murder of Banquo marks the start of his transformation; he is no longer hesitant to kill to protect his power. Macbeth is jealous of the wisdom that doth guides his [Banquos] valour and will kill his best friend to protect his crown from unlinear hands. Next Macbeth loses his sense of morality, though the witches have told him none of woman born shall harm him, he still decides to execute the women and children of Macduffs family. The lose of morality also bring him to feel emotionless and isolated; once loving to Lady Macbeth he feels nothing over her death saying only that she should have died hereafter. Macbeth also feels no remorse believing that since he is in blood stept so far that, returning were a tedious as go oer. The loss of his human qualities distance Macbeth from any empathy; he cold and cruel nature was not created by anyone but himself. The merciless killings he ordered were all but to protect he selfish desire for power.