Shakespeare is excellent at creating characters with depth and feeling, characters who are relatable to both to us and humanity at large. Characters that are driven by greed, anger, love, and a million different emotions that make humans human. This is why Shakespeare is so relatable. This is why (once we get over the old English and confusing vocabulary), we can put down a play of his and say that the characters are so understandable. It is this exact quality of Shakespeare’s writing that makes his plays so unforgettable. Take Richard III for example – Richard is a character who touches the worst part of everybody, that greedy and selfish chunk of us that is all about the ‘Me, me, me!’. You could be the most selfless person alive, think nothing of personal gain at the cost of others, and there’s still something, something that speaks to you. Something that draws you into Richard and makes you brand him as the guy you love to hate. Similar stories follow for any Shakespearean character.
…And then we have Lady Macbeth.
There are bad words aplenty that I would use to describe her. But, this being a class of strict and sophisticated literature (Quick nod to Why has God Abandoned us?), I will do my best to restrain myself. Why, you may be asking. It’s because the entire plot of Macbeth was set in motion by the least lovable character of them all – Lady Macbeth. This woman has some serious nerve.
First of all, she has not a single shred of care to what happens to other characters in this play. Now, from the way the play started, Macbeth and his wife clearly had something going right. They were affectionate to one another, kind to one another, and generally seemed to enjoy the others’ presence. Macbeth is the Thane of Glamis already. Being married to a thane basically means that you are the wife of the second ruler of a rather large chunk of area. Just saying that is enough to make people wish that they were her. So she is already living a great life. Given the fact that she is unable to bear any (Living) children, she should honestly feel blessed that Macbeth hasn’t abandoned her in favor of another wife. That wasn’t very uncommon, if you, as a wife, were unable to do the most basic job being being a wife of that time – having a child- you really had no place in the kingdom. But Macbeth lets her stick around, reinforcing the idea that something has been going right in their relationship. He clearly loves her.
And as though life hasn’t been great enough to her already, Macbeth gains another title – this time he is to be declared the Thane of Cawdor. This makes Lady Macbeth not only the wife of the second ruler of a rather large chunk of area, it makes her the wife of the second ruler of two rather large chunk of area. At this point, most woman in royalty would be lining up to take her spot gladly, because she has become the wife of the second most powerful man in the kingdom. But alas! This clearly is not enough for someone as stupidly ambitious as Lady Macbeth! She just has to be the most powerful lady in the kingdom. Honestly, what else did she want at his point? It’s like baking two cakes for your mothers birthday, and she demands a third. Gratefulness people! Surprise, Lady Macbeth! You’re the second most powerful woman in the kingdom! Aren’t you happ- Oh. Ah, of course you have to be the most powerful woman in the kingdom, now don’t you? You don’t like doing things in part, apparently.
I think my final issue with her is that when the time for action comes, she is horrifically squeamish around the idea of blood. Now we have a problem. We have a lady who wants to rise to power though unjust means – and yet has no intention of actually doing anything herself, and literally goes insane from one act of violence. So what does she do? The only logical thing a loving and caring wife would! Force your husband to do the dirty work instead! Excellent idea! And by doing that, force him to keep on killing so nobody figures out about what you made him do! Then, because all of a sudden this woman feels sorry for herself, it is totally okay for her to go insane (Which I personally believe is just an act to pin the blame on her husband when everything does not go as expected) and leave it up to her husband to figure it out. Way to go lady, and once you finish with one of your (many) temper tantrums, you decide that that is the ideal moment to kill yourself, because you just feel so bad about everything not going your way… as it always has in your life. You greedy, selfish and manipulative woman. You twisted your husband so far from who he was that he did not even acknowledge your own death with any sadness. How does that make you feel, little miss I-can’t-deal-with-the-mess-I-made-so-I’m-going-to-kill-myself-for-the-easy-way-out?
And with that anger rant subsiding, I really think that of all of Shakespeare’s characters that I know of – Lady Macbeth has by far been my least favorite, because she does nothing but ask for more, hate to do any work herself, and basically whines about how much her life sucks now that everything didn’t go her way for the first time. She can really be compared to some high ranking politicians of nowadays. They’re all for doing anything that gets them more money, but never do they have to work for it, just sit up top and benefit from the terrible things they’re making other people do. When things don’t work out, there’s always someone else to blame. And while people go out and fight their wars for them, they get to sit at home and figure out which country they invade next will earn them more money. People like this do an excellent job sickening me, as they do nothing but leech upon the work of others, granting them little or no benefits from the millions of dollars that they are raking in, for the work of others.
Thinking about this further, the connections between some leaders and Lady Macbeth really do stretch endlessly.
Thanks for reading!