Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth: A Wife in Support of Her Husband
One of the main characters in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, has been an object of intense criticism. Although sometimes regarded as cruel and vile, evidence exists that Shakespeare did not intend for her to be judged so harshly. By evaluating her character in relation to her actions, her overall relationship with Macbeth, and her death, we can see that Shakespeare quite possibly wanted Lady Macbeth to be judged in association with the actions of Macbeth. What appears to others as ruthlessness and ambition, is really her loyalty and love for him. Just as Macbeth is ambitious for the throne, so is Lady Macbeth driven to assist him. All of her actions are done out of devotion and allegiance to Macbeth.
Throughout the play, the character of Lady Macbeth is developed through her actions, which reveal her inner cravings. She plays the important role of one who gives incentive to Macbeth, as well as one who supports him through difficult times. She is the catalyst who starts Macbethís thinking. She possesses an aspect which cares for the future of her husband, and therefore inspires him to pursue the possibilities. More important than advocating actions to take the kingship, Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to remain strong. When his weaknesses appear, she remains firm. Because of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth achieves success. Once set on attaining the crown, Lady Macbeth pushes Macbeth to remain valiant and assists him in his pursuits.
The goals of Macbeth become her aspirations as well. When Macbeth informs Lady Macbeth of his new found glory, she immediately begins thinking of the possibilities that lie in the future. Her initial desire to help Macbeth take the crown becomes clear when she speaks, "That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,/And chastise with the valor of my tongue/ All that impedes thee from the golden
round/ Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem/ To have thee crowned withal" (I.v.26-30).

Although it appears that she is monstrous, she is expressing her care for Macbeth by wanting to assist him. She continues on to say, "Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/ And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full/ Of direst cruelty!" (I.v.40-43). This quote is voiced with the intention to become strong to help murder Duncan for her husbandís grandeur. Upon Macbethís arrival to see her, she expresses her plan to kill Duncan, and then utters, "Only look up clear./ To alter favor ever is to fear./ Leave all the rest to me" (I.v.72-74). At this point she takes control of the assassination of the king. She has taken it upon her to aid in the murder of Duncan so Macbeth may become ruler.
The support that Lady Macbeth gives to her husband is crucial in his pursuits. After returning from slaying Duncan, Macbeth is ashamed of his deed and has become weak and sullen. He says, "I am afraid to think what I have done;/ Look onít again I dare not" (II.ii.50-51). In this time of pity, Lady Macbeth remains bold, replying, "Infirm of purpose!/ Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ Are but as pictures. ĎTis the eye of childhood/ That fears a painted devil" (II.ii.52-55). Macbeth begins to take on the guilt of the deed, while Lady Macbeth "shame[s]/ To wear a heart so white" (II.ii.63-64). She is the stern and unfeeling influence that Macbeth needs. Once she recognizes that he is at a moment of despair, she attempts to give him a sense of boldness. She cares for his well being, and wants him to remain strong. It is this "concern" that she has for Macbeth that proves that she is not monstrous.
Not only does she support him, but Lady Macbeth also covers up her husbandís weaknesses. While feasting at a banquet in the palace, Macbethís conscience overwhelms him and he undergoes a mental break down. Shortly after having Banquo murdered, Macbeth believes he sees the ghost of his once companion. He begins to speak to the apparition, which is not visible to the others. Realizing that her husband might say something connecting him with the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Lady Macbeth makes excuses for his behavior. She says to them, "My