In Macbeth, do you think Lady Macbeth is a good wife? Explain. 

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very subjective question as obviously any reference to Lady Macbeth and "good" do not usually appear in the same sentence due to her capacity to be utterly evil, consumed by her purpose and

figuratively transforming herself into an unnatural, desexualized evil spirit.

There is no nurturing or any normal female characteristics that can be attributed to Lady Macbeth except in her unnatural tendency to "mother"- but not in any normal sense (!)- Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth, in fact, would do anything, for her husband. She plots and commits heinous crimes in order to further Macbeth's career and she evidently believes she is doing it for him: but, her narcissistic and even sociopathological nature do make it seem as if she really is doing it for her own ends. There is

a genuine, if distorted, bond of love.

Macbeth, himself, changes his mind and decides he will not kill Duncan for various reasons including

the goodness of the king and the general lack of any reason other than ambition

but Lady Macbeth intervenes and convinces him that he must. Her attack on his manhood would have been enough of a challenge for any noble and respected soldier:

When you durst do it, then you were a man(I.vii.49)

The reader decides whether villainous murderous actions of a self-serving, dangerous woman can possibly be considered "good" in any sense. 

As the play proceeds, Macbeth becomes more embroiled in the plans to become king at all costs whereas Lady Macbeth becomes more reticent and eventually tormented, realizing her own part in the killing spree and driven mad by her efforts. She wants to wash her hands of the whole debacle - "Out damn'd spot!" (V.i.35) - but, confused as she is, she wants to reconnect with her husband who now turns to the witches for encouragement and increasingly excludes her from his plans.

 "Wash your hands, put on your night gown / Look not so pale. I tell you yet again / Banquo's buried. He cannot come out on's grave" (V.i.62-64).

 There is, right to the very end, a deep bond between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and his distress when he hears that she is dead is evident - although not enough of a motivation to stop his quest. He is even a little disappointed that she is not able to witness what he believes will be his glory, vanquished: "She should have died hereafter"(V.v.17)

kazz711 | Student

No, she is an evil wife! She is the one that pushes and pursued Mabeth to kill people because she wants power and if Macbeth cant have power she wont either. She also tells Macbeth that he is a chicken for not being able to do the 'simple' things she asks him to do for her. She kind of manipulates him into doing evi, she tells him that he is not a man and he has to grow some balls, which makes Macbeth angry.

So no, Lady Macbeth is not a good wife.

I hope that answered your question :)