Lady Macbeth is one most certainly a fascinating character. One immediately reacts to her image as an evil villainous. And yet, as the play gores on, the reader is drawn to the conclusion that there is more of the woman and wife than of the witch about in Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth fulfills her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her "our honored hostess." She is loving to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to be king. This outcome will benefit her and her husband equally. She immediately concludes that "the fastest way" for Macbeth to become king is by murdering King Duncan. Lady Macbeth's immediate thoughts may make her appear cold and heartless, but this is not so. To prepare for what she feels must be done she calls on evil spirits to "stop up th' access and passage to remorse" in order to be relentless. Otherwise her conscience would not allow her to act.
When we first see her, she is already plotting Duncans murder, and she is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband. She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder. At one point, she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself. This relationship between her and her husband is key to Lady Macbeths character. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeths remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king, she steadies her husbands nerves immediately after the crime has been perpetrated.
Perhaps Lady Macbeth felt that suppressing her conscience for the deed was enough and that later the thought of the deed would just dissipate. However, her morals had prevailed just a while before as revealed through her comment that she would have killed Duncan herself had he not "resembled father as he slept." Afterward, however, she begins a slide slowly into madness. Lady Macbeth's conscience becomes too great for her.. A women observes her sleepwalking and consults a doctor. The doctor and the lady observe Lady Macbeth sleepwalking, madly trying to cleanse her hands of the blood of Duncan and Macduff's family. Still in her sleep, Lady Macbeth asks, "what, will these hands ne're be clean?" foreseeing that she will never have peace of mind. She also retells events of the day Duncan was murdered. The doctor tells the woman that what Lady Macbeth needs is spiritual and not physical help.
Lady Macbeth's condition worsens, and she goes in and out of sleep with delirious visions. Macbeth asks the doctor to cure her or give her a drug that will erase the troubles of the heart. The doctor responds that he cures physical not moral problems. Later, as the battle ensues outside of Dunsinane, by unspecified means Lady Macbeth commits suicide.
At the beginning Lady Macbeth finds strength to entice Macbeth to murder Duncan and to follow through with the murder herself. As time advances though, her pretended strength diminishes as she fights the torments of her conscience. Tending to her conscience engulfs and destabilizes her so that she can not support Macbeth against Malcolm. Lady Macbeth's attempts to suppress her conscience fail. At the end she chooses death because she can no longer bear the torments of her guilt. It seems that Lady Macbeth though she was first blinded by greed and power, was not a villainous but a victim to her own selfishness.