Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood. Stop up the access and passage to remorse, that no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between the effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry “Hold, hold!”
~ Lady Macbeth's famous soliloquy.

Lady Macbeth is the titular secondary antagonist of Shakespeare's play Macbeth. She is the wife of Lord Macbeth of Scotland, and it is she who gives him the idea of killing the King.

Because of her part in the crimes, Lady Macbeth is so remorseful that she walks in her sleep and eventually kills herself.

In the opera based on the play, Lady Macbeth is a soprano.


  • Sarah Siddons
  • Charlotte Melmoth
  • Charlotte Cushman
  • Helen Faucit
  • Ellen Terry
  • Jeanette Nolan
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Judith Anderson
  • Simone Signoret
  • Vivien Merchant
  • Francesca Annis
  • Judi Dench
  • Glenda Jackson
  • Angela Bassett
  • Alex Kingston
  • Kate Fleetwood
  • Marion Cotillard
  • Hannah Taylor-Gordon


Lady Macbeth goads her husband, Lord Macbeth, into murdering King Duncan so he can usurp the throne. While Macbeth refuses at first, she wears him down by appealing to his ambition and challenging his manhood. She gets Duncan's guards so drunk that they pass out to give Macbeth a clear path to kill Duncan. Once Macbeth kills Duncan, Lady Macbeth plants the blood-stained dagger he used on the guards, framing them for the murder. She feigns sorrow at the King's death and insinuates that Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, ordered their father's death, forcing them to flee the country. With all other potential inheritors of the throne vanquished, Macbeth becomes King of Scotland, with Lady Macbeth as his Queen.

Once she has the power she so long desired, however, Lady Macbeth is plagued with guilt over her role in Duncan's murder; she feels even more remorse when Macbeth has his rival MacDuff's family killed. Her guilt is so overpowering that she hallucinates that her hands are stained with the blood of her husband's victims. Unable to stand it any longer, she commits suicide by jumping off her castle's highest peak.

Upon learning of her death, Macbeth's only reply was: "She would have died thereafter (meaning that she would have died sometime sooner or later).".



  • Lady Macbeth is considered by some critics and scholars to be the main villain of the play, despite the fact that she never actually kills anyone and plays no direct part in the dozens of murders that her husband later commits. The reason is that she was the one who made Macbeth the way he is in the first place. This makes her one of the most infamous and hated female villains in history.
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