Viewing Lady Macbeth as 'A study in Evil’ 12th Grade

From her manipulation of the tragic hero to the “fiend-like queen” epitaph Malcolm assigns to her, there is evidence aplenty to suggest that Lady Macbeth is “a study of evil”. Undoubtedly, a Jacobean audience would have found it difficult to perceive her as anything but evil due to her subversion of nature and social hierarchy. However, modern audiences, notably feminist critics, are more sympathetic towards the character which allows us to largely disagree with the contention in the question. Instead, it is fairer to state that she is a guilt-stricken woman who is abandoned by her husband. Thus, to say that Lady Macbeth is simply “a study of evil” is to dismiss the multi-faceted nature of her character; there is clearly more than just “evil” to her character.

Despite this, Lady Macbeth’s affiliation with the supernatural validates how she could be viewed as “a study of evil”. The supernatural is a key gothic convention and although the play predates the gothic era, Shakespeare interweaves the concept into his play. In her first soliloquy, Lady Macbeth declares that she will “pour [her] spirits in thine ear”. She also calls upon “spirits”...

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