How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as evil and cunning?

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Your question presumes that Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as evil and cunning; while she does do some pretty awful things, I'd characterize her as ambitious and ruthless.  In either case, Shakespeare is clear in his portrayal of her, which we can see by examining her behavior throughout the course of the play.

The first time we meet her, she is reading a letter from her husband telling her of the witches' promising predictions for his future. There is, apparently, love between them; Macbeth wants to share his fortuitous news with the woman he loves.  She undoubtedly loves him, too; however,...

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swetaghosh | Student

Throughout the play Shakespeare's presentations of Lady Macbethis of three different personalities. At the very beginning of the play Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a devoted wife who knows her husbands faults and believes she can help succeed to steal the throne. She then changes to an evil, witch-like women when she calls on the evil spirits using language associated with the supernatural and death to lose her feminine nature. The third face of Lady Macbeth we see is a cunning and possessive wife who takes control and plans the murder of Duncan and having a malign influence on her husband. In Act I Scene v where she appears to hold much power and strength over her husband and encourages him to murder King Duncan, to Act V Scene I where she is revealing minor details behind the murders, she completely blows her cover of attempting to conceal the truth and causes observers (doctor and gentlewomen) to make judgments on her sanity and loyalty. Lady Macbeth changed throughout the play because she has had to force Macbeth to kill Duncan and plan the whole act. Evidently most of the guilt grew on her even though she didn't kill Duncan she still made it happen, so she eventually lets the truth out because she kept the secret under all her guilt.

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