Conflict in Lady Macbeth

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 558 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 558|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Desire for Power and Guilt
  2. Gender Expectations
  3. Internal Battle with Conscience
  4. Conclusion

At the center of this tragic tale is Lady Macbeth, a complex and intriguing character who grapples with her own inner conflicts throughout the play. Lady Macbeth’s internal struggles are a driving force behind many of the external conflicts that unfold in the story, ultimately leading to her own downfall. This essay will delve into the various conflicts that Lady Macbeth experiences, including her conflicting desires for power and guilt, her struggle with gender expectations, and her internal battle with her own conscience.

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Desire for Power and Guilt

One of the central conflicts that Lady Macbeth faces is her insatiable desire for power and the guilt that comes with achieving it. From the moment she learns of the witches’ prophecy that her husband will become king, Lady Macbeth is consumed by the idea of power and ambition. She is willing to do whatever it takes to secure this position for her husband, even if it means resorting to murder. However, as the play progresses, we see the toll that this quest for power takes on Lady Macbeth’s psyche. Her guilt over the murder of King Duncan begins to consume her, leading to sleepless nights, hallucinations, and a descent into madness. This internal conflict between ambition and guilt ultimately leads to Lady Macbeth’s tragic demise.

Gender Expectations

Another significant conflict that Lady Macbeth grapples with is the societal expectations placed on her as a woman. In Shakespeare’s time, women were expected to be obedient, nurturing, and submissive to their husbands. Lady Macbeth defies these expectations by taking on a more assertive and dominant role in her marriage, manipulating her husband and orchestrating the murder of King Duncan. This defiance of traditional gender roles causes internal conflict for Lady Macbeth, as she struggles to reconcile her ambition with the societal expectations placed upon her. This conflict is further exacerbated by her own internalized misogyny, as she believes that in order to achieve power and success, she must reject her femininity and embrace a more masculine, ruthless persona.

Internal Battle with Conscience

In addition to her conflicting desires for power and her struggle with gender expectations, Lady Macbeth also grapples with an internal battle with her own conscience. Throughout the play, we see glimpses of Lady Macbeth’s humanity and vulnerability, as she wrestles with the guilt and remorse that come with her actions. Despite her outwardly cold and calculating demeanor, Lady Macbeth is plagued by the blood on her hands and the consequences of her actions. This internal conflict reaches its peak in the famous sleepwalking scene, where Lady Macbeth’s subconscious thoughts and emotions come to the surface, revealing the extent of her inner turmoil. This conflict with her own conscience ultimately leads to Lady Macbeth’s mental and emotional unraveling, as she is unable to escape the guilt and shame of her deeds.

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Lady Macbeth’s character is defined by the myriad conflicts that she faces throughout the play. From her conflicting desires for power and guilt, to her struggle with societal expectations and her internal battle with her own conscience, Lady Macbeth grapples with a complex web of inner turmoil that ultimately leads to her tragic downfall. Through her character, Shakespeare explores the destructive power of ambition, the consequences of defying societal norms, and the weight of guilt and remorse. Lady Macbeth serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked desire and the importance of confronting one’s inner demons.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Conflict in Lady Macbeth. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Conflict in Lady Macbeth.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Conflict in Lady Macbeth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Conflict in Lady Macbeth [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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