In Macbeth, how does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth?

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Lady Macbeth initially seems like a malevolent, power-hungry monster. She goes against the feminine ideal with her lethal ambition, claiming she would murder her own child had she promised to do. When Macbeth falters in his resolve to kill Duncan, she demands that the evil spirits "unsex" her so she can be even more resolute and lacking in compassion during the murder plot.

In public, Lady Macbeth tries to appear more traditionally feminine, acting as a gracious host for her guests, appearing submissive before Duncan, and swooning when Duncan's corpse is discovered. This makes her seem all the more duplicitous and evil. For the first half of the play, Shakespeare makes the audience believe she is a one-dimensional force of malice. Then he subverts expectations by showing the cracks in Lady Macbeth's ruthless persona.

Just as Macbeth feels guilt over murdering the king, so too does Lady Macbeth. While she is more ruthless, she does still have a conscience, claiming it was hard to help kill...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 917 words.)

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