SparkNotes Blog

In Defense of Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is one of the best, most notorious villains ever created by Shakespeare. She might even be one of the best villains ever created, period. But is that going to stop me from asking whether or not she’s actually evil? Absolutely not!

There seem to be two primary reasons for her villain status. The first is that she manipulated Macbeth into murdering the King of Scotland (which, you know, fair enough). The second is her ambition, something women back in those days weren’t supposed to have. So today, I’d like to do a little breakdown of her character to show everyone that Lady Macbeth isn’t just an aspiring queen but a fascinating character who deserves the next Hollywood redemption arc treatment, thank you very much. (How has there not been a Lady Macbeth movie? Is someone working on this? Please tell me someone is working on this.)

Here’s what we will consider: 

  • Her relationship with Macbeth
  • Her character arc
  • Her punishment
  • The real Lady Macbeth
  • Shakespeare’s interpretation
Start the slide show