The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare uses many thought provoking examples of how something that starts out with the best intentions can ultimately lead to disaster. The play, which is set in Scotland back at the end of the medieval era, is about one man’s ambition to become king and the impact of that ambition on those close to him. Macbeth fulfils this ambition through the support and help of this wife, Lady Macbeth, only to find out that what he originally thought he wanted is not making him happy Lady Macbeth strives to ensure her husband attains what he desires, but when she realizes he is unhappy she feels responsible.
Examples of Lady Macbeth’s attentive and selfless acts she performs in order to help reassure her husbands aspirations to be king come frequently at the beginning of the play. The altruistic nature of Lady Macbeth collapses to show schemes and lies used to achieve her husbands aspirations further on in the play. Lady Macbeth’s lies and manipulation increases to such an extent, that it causes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s division, her insanity, which results in her talking her own life. Lady Macbeth’s desire to fulfil her husbands ambitions out of love for her husband turns her into a manipulative wife, which results in their growing separation, her madness and eventually her own downfall.
At the beginning of the play there are many examples of Lady Macbeth’s attempts to satisfy her husband’s dreams through her loving and selfless nature. Lady Macbeth will do anything to fulfil her husbands wishes, which she does both by giving up time and exerting great effort. Sitting at home, Lady Macbeth finishes reading the letter she has just received from her husband regarding what the witches had said and about Duncan coming to visit. She exhibits her first signs of altruism as she states: “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be / What thou art promise’d:” (Act I , Scene V, Lines 15-16) She can tell by the way he has worded the letter that his ambition is to become king. She promises herself that she will do whatever it takes to fulfil her husbands desire. She accomplishes this by subtly planting the thought of killing the existing king im Macbeth’s mind when he arrives home. As they discuss the issue of being king should Duncan die, she makes the suggestion: “look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under’t.” (Act I, Scene V, Lines 65-66) She wants Macbeth to be the evil one but still appear innocent so that he can kill Duncan without getting caught. As a result he would become heir to the throne because Malcolm was not strong enough at this point in the play to take over as king. She places this evil thought into his mind because she knows this plan of action will get her husband what he wants. Then, Lady Macbeth again places Macbeth’s welfare ahead of her own by assuring Macbeth: “He that’s coming / Must be provided for: and you shall put / This night’s great business into my dispatch.” (Act I, Scene V, Lines 66-68) She generously implies that she will give up her spare time to let Macbeth recover from the arduous war he has just experienced, where he brutally killed numerous people. Her intent is to reduce his stress by painstakingly creating a plan to ensure that no aspects of the murder are over looked or details left out. Lady Macbeth also displays her fierce loyalty to Macbeth when she brings the dagger back to Duncan’s chamber directly after Macbeth murders him. Her action is intended to deceive everyone about Macbeth’s involvement in the murder because if he is suspected , his ambition to become king will be denied. Therefore, Lady Macbeth’s implanting of the idea to kill Duncan into Macbeth’s head, taking her spare time to create a plan of attack, and returning the dagger to Duncan’s chamber are prompted only by her desire to ensure her husbands ambition to become king actually happens.