The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play At the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as a courageous soldier
Macbeth, a masterpiece of William Shakespeare, depicts the tragedy of the titular hero, Macbeth. The relationship between him and his wife, Lady Macbeth changes drastically throughout the story and while doing this, helps to illuminate the key idea of Macbeth’s rise and fall as a king.
The Tragedy of Macbeth Macbeth, a tragedy, starts with a dying, bloody Captain talking about the valor with which Macbeth fought. How does this brave, devoted, valiant soldier become an insane, cold-blooded murderer, killing men, women, and children alike? The story of his downfall begins with his new-found ambition to become king after three witches tell him of his “imperial theme.” After fighting so courageously in battle, Macbeth, Thane of Glamis a title inherited from his late father, and fellow nobleman Banquo, encounter three witches. They greet Macbeth by his current title, by a title soon to be bestowed upon him, and last by the title of king.
Traditionally, men have been the superior partner in a relationship. Throughout time men have always been the one who is outspoken and dominant in marriages. Shakespeare tends to move away from these traditional gender roles and write woman who are strong and independent. In his play, Macbeth, Shakespeare has Lady Macbeth take on a more dominant, cruel and “manly” role in the marriage while Macbeth submits to his wife’s demands thus giving him a more “womanly” role. Both of these characters go through many role reversals between the two of them and subsequently their greed for power leads them to their downfall.
In the play of Macbeth, Shakespeare introduces the main character, through the eyes of the one who knows him best, his wife. Lady Macbeth displays to the audience all of Macbeth’s weaknesses; her ambition to have power becomes her husband’s and this will bring out Macbeth’s ambition to be king. She also proves that the strong may become the weak and the weak may become the strong. Lady Macbeth is a main character in this play because she introduces Macbeth and helps the reader to understand his character. At the start of the play she seems to be the more ruthless of the two. When the reader is first introduced to Lady Macbeth she is already planning the death of King Duncan. In order for her to have the courage to do the deed and ask that all woman emotions be removed from her, “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! (p 257)” She is a key factor in this play because she links the male soul to the female body, showing that ambition can lead to violence.
After struggling with the thought of killing Duncan, Macbeth is reprimanded by Lady Macbeth for his lack of courage. She informs him that killing the king will make him a man, insinuating that he isn’t a man if he doesn’t go through with the murder. This develops Lady Macbeth as a merciless, nasty, and selfish woman. She will say, or do anything to get what she desires, even if it means harming others. It is this selfishness that makes it hard for the reader to be empathetic towards her later in the play, as it is evident in this scene that her hardships were brought on by herself. If she hadn’t insisted on the murder, she would not be driven in...
Macbeth Comparison Essay A quote which really defines Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s ambition regarding power is “Power does not corrupt men; fools; however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power” George Bernard Shaw. Lady Macbeth is more ambitious in terms of gaining power then Macbeth is and that Lady Macbeth will do almost anything to gain power, even evil things that she normally wouldn’t do. This is shown when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth learn about the witches’ predictions, then roles in the plans to murder king Duncan in order to gain power and then finally after the murder, Macbeth doesn’t want to finish the plan making Lady Macbeth angry and causing a chance they might get caught and gain no power at all. Lady Macbeth shows more ambition then Macbeth does in terms of gaining power regarding kingship. When Macbeth finds out about the witches’ predictions and the first two coming true “Glamis, and thane of Cawdor: The greatest is behind” (1.3.124-125) meaning that he got a taste of power, making him thane of Glamis and thane of Cawdor making him more ambitious for the power to become king.
We are first introduced to Lady Macbeth at the beginning of Act 1, scene 5, through the letter that Macbeth sends her. This shows her to be his, ‘dearest partner of greatness’ and that he has no secrets from her. The witches’ prophecies intensify her ambitions for her husband, to be the King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth is the one who encourages him to kill the king and she not only encourages him, she makes all the plans herself. We see how clever she is and how she understands her husband well, she knows he has great ambitions, but she also knows that he is honourable and mentally weak:
At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is a trusted soldier, who is honest and noble. Unfortunately, he meets three witches who tell him three prophecies; that he will become thane of Cawdor, that he will become king and that Banquo’s sons will become kings. These three prophecies slowly change his opinions on life and turn him into a greedy, dishonest, tyrant, full of ambition. Lady Macbeth’s thoughts change as well when she is told about the three prophecies that were told to Macbeth. In the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is ambitious, controlling and domineering. She is the one who encourages him to kill the king, she not only encourages him, she makes all the plans herself, which shows her determination and persistence."Yet I do fear thy nature, it is too full o’th milk of human kindness. To catch the nearest way thou wouldst be great. Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it." (Act 1, scene 5). Lady Macbeth is the force behind Macbeth’s sudden ambition and she tries to manipulate him into feeling guilty and unmanly for not following through with the murder, by using her husbands emotions, she manages to convince Macbeth to murder Duncan.
Lady Macbeth was a small but very important part of the play Macbeth. She is always on the side of Macbeth telling him what she thinks he should do. When Macbeth was off at war, and told lady Macbeth that the witches greeted him as Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland before he received those titles, she was probably scheming no how to fulfill those before he returned home. Once home, they had King Duncan stay at Dunsinane. Lady Macbeth then b-tches at her husband and ridicules his masculinity in order to make him commit murder (Friedlander). Macbeth reluctantly murders Duncan, even though he wanted to wait and have it all play out without killing anyone. When he went to the well to wash off his hands he speaks of his remorse, and lady Macbeth finds out that he did not implicate the guards, so she tells him to go do it. But he wont, so she insults him more, and goes to do it herself.