Lady Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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Betrayal can be caused by trivial matters or simply because of someone feeling inferior to someone else. In betraying someone, a person may abandon his or her values which they thought could never falter. A play that involves acts of betrayal is Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The role of betrayal in the story becomes a repeated event, but portrays itself in multiple ways. Through his use of soliloquies, Shakespeare portrays that through influence, one can betray values, others, and themselves.

Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act One Scene Seven marks a pivotal part in Act 1 because he struggles to uphold his values and develops awareness that the only reasoning to kill Duncan sprouts from his simple aspiration to do so. In the first segment of the soliloquy, Macbeth reflects on gaining the throne by killing Duncan, but also establishes his relationship with Duncan as “his kinsman and his subject”(I.vii.13). This acknowledgment leads Macbeth to the conclusion that by attempting to steal the throne from Duncan can result in “even-handed justice” (I.vii.10); in other words, someone could backlash and attempt to plot the same scheme against him. Betrayal could not be escaped no matter how Macbeth perceived the situation. He notices his “spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition” (I.vii.25-28). Duncan had been “so clear in his great office” (I.vii.18) and upheld virtues that a king would be expected to acquire. The soliloquy terminates with a mood of uncertainty because he still did not reach a conclusion of whether or not to murder Duncan. Macbeth recognizes the results of betraying Duncan, and knows that his reason to kill Duncan does not justify doing so, and would be caused solely by a personal craving to betray.

Lady Ma...

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...for him transformed to something virtually worthless because of what his acts of betrayal led him to become. Macbeth originally thought that his virtues and values could never crumble despite the influence of someone else. Macbeth abandons his values, and pursues a journey of deceiving and betraying acts. Macbeth embraces a transformation of character that leads him to a state of depression by the end of the play. The irony of Macbeth presents itself through the motif of betrayal. Macbeth thought through acts of betrayal he would find greater significance, but ultimately directed him down a path that only involved the betrayal of himself.

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