Macbeth: The Breakdown Of Character

analytical Essay
1220 words
1220 words

The two main characters in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, are Macbeth himself and his wife Lady Macbeth. Their marriage seems to be mainly one of convenience for Lady Macbeth, but for Macbeth it is clearly more than that. He loves his wife, and she takes advantage of that for her own gain. She is continuously making him feel guilty, for being weak, and for not being able to give her a child, as is suggested by her words, "I have given suck and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me". She also challenges his manhood, through words such as, "When you durst do it, then you were a man, and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.", which loosely means, Be a man, and then I will admire you.Macbeth is originally a hero to Scotland, and a strong character. He is a Lord under the rule of King Duncan, and has no reason to feel unhappy with his position. It is only after the prophecies of the Weird Sisters, that he begins to long for the throne of Scotland, and even then needs Lady Macbeth to convince him to commit the murder.Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, begins as pure evil, and remains that way. She has previously been married, and is therefore presumed older and trickier than Macbeth. She appears to always be using him for her own gain, by using her femininity to seduce him into doing the wrong thing, and in this way she persuades him to kill the king.When Macbeth hears the prophesies of his future, he appears to disregard them, but when he is made Thane of Cawdor (as foretold), he already is considering murdering the king: "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smothered in surmise and nothing is but what is not.". It is perhaps for this reason that he writes to Lady Macbeth, as though prompting her for some persuasion for him to kill Duncan, and she later refers to this as his agreement on the murder:"Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both"; basically meaning that he was prepared to kill him before, and now he is too weak to go through with it.The breakdown of both characters is revealed through their soliloquies.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the relationship between macbeth and his wife in shakespeare's play — the marriage seems to be a matter of convenience, but the wife takes advantage of that for her own gain.
  • Analyzes how macbeth's first soliloquy shows him apprehensive about killing king duncan, who he should be trying to protect.
  • Analyzes how macbeth is imagining a dagger covered in blood pointing the way to duncan's chamber, and becomes suspicious and paranoid of everyone around him.
  • Analyzes how macbeth has given up on life, and recognizes that he really does not have much left in the way of loyal subjects, friends, or honour as a king.
  • Analyzes how lady macbeth is a strong character who uses her to increase her power in society. she helps him reach his status as king so that she too will have influence.
  • Analyzes the emotions that shakespeare evokes in the audience towards the two characters are vastly different. macbeth was a competent king for 17 years, and perhaps that is what prompts shakespeare to make him out as good.
  • Analyzes how lady macbeth has fewer soliloquies, and a much more sudden break in character. both characters demonstrate shakespeare's brand of tragedy well.
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