Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Transformation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay

Shakespeare's Macbeth - The Transformation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Essay

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The Transformation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

   In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth decide, in a great fit of ambition, to kill King Duncan.  Later in the play we see the same two characters undergo a transformation in their personalities after murdering the King.  Macbeth begins the play as a noble soldier and gradually changes into an ambitious and murdering tyrant.  Lady Macbeth begins as a strong, ambitious woman who dominates her husband and gradually changes into a weak and guilt-ridden woman.  This essay will explore the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth before and after the murder of King Duncan.

Macbeth begins the play as a noble and trustworthy soldier, with a placid and honest personality.  Unfortunately he is told three prophecies by three witches and it is these prophecies that gradually change Macbeth into a greedy, untrustworthy, ambitious tyrant.  Similarly, like Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is also overruled by her ambitious nature and not only encourages her husband to kill the king, but plans it herself.  Lady Macbeth begins as an ambitious, overpowering and domineering woman, particularly towards her husband.  Though as time passes we see Macbeth become domineering and unbearably ambitious, while Lady Macbeth becomes the lesser of the two and her guilt becomes too much to bear, hence leading her to death.  Macbeth is obviously gullible as he believes the witches after a while and relies on their prophecies constantly.  This changes not only his life, but also Lady Macbeth's life and the lives of those living in Scotland at the time.   However Macbeth and Lady Macbeth believe that the witches are good luck, this proving to be quite the opposite.

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Steevens, George. Shakespeare, The Critical Heritage. Vol. 6. London:   Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.  

T.W. Shakespeare, the Critical Heritage. Vol. 5. London: Routledge & Kegan   Paul, 1979.      

Wills, Gary. Witches & Jesuits. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. 


Epstein, Norrie, The Friendly Shakepeare, New York, Viking Publishing, 1993.

Harbage, Alfred, Macbeth, Middlesex England, Penguin Publishing, 1956.

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