Comparative Essay Example on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Published: 2022-04-18
Comparative Essay Example on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Shakespeare Character analysis Macbeth
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1836 words
16 min read

The concept of love and relationships among kings and queens plays a very crucial part in literature. Love was significant in the Shakespearean period because Shakespeare involved the concept of a love relationship throughout the plays. The plays had happy endings, however in the case of "Macbeth," the love affair is portrayed most peculiarly. The relationship ends in a villainous couple. "Macbeth" is full of evil, darkness, and tragedy. In the beginning, the couple had a stable relationship that deteriorates later. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had a strong ambition, and they insanely wanted to attain kingship. The wicked trait of human nature it can real hurt others thus result in cold relationship with other human beings. They are both stubborn and set in their ways, this is proven when Macbeth is hesitant and does not want to change his mind about killing Duncan. Their unstoppable thriving ruthlessness acts fuels them to commit murder. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are similar in several ways but also different, which includes the changing of power throughout the play. Their relationship is close but rather strange. Macbeth doesn't fully understand his wife and the things she knows about him such as his weakness of character and strengths shows that Lady Macbeth can understand Macbeth abilities and emotions very well. She uses persuasion, another factor that helps her overpower him and he is unable to prevent her. Factors such as persuasion and ambition play a huge role in developing the character of the two. This essay examines and compares Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's characters, from the play "Macbeth"' by William Shakespeare. Their ambition, strengths, motivations, and flaws that made them end up being separated from each other and character reverse by the end of the play.

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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had a very bosom bond together. At the beginning of the play, one gets the idea that the couple was very close when Macbeth writes a letter in eagerness to his wife telling her of the prophecy. He addresses her as "my dearest partner in greatness" (Act I, Scene 5, 10-11). On reading the letter, She realizes that her husband is prepared to make happy "that thou might'st not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee" (Act I, Scene 6, 11-13). Macbeth is portrayed as a mighty warrior with a perfect side. On the contrary, on receiving the news, Lady Macbeth thought's immediately plots to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth was living an introverted life. Thus she turned her thoughts inward. She attained her victories in teaching her mental power and the subjugation of her will. She knows that he is weak and lacks self-confident and would not be strong enough to cooperate in her plot, "Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the' milk of human kindness" (Act I, Scene 6, 16-17). She felt that it was her obligation to push him to follow her ambitions. Their relationships center on her intense desire to control him and his willingness to please her.

Her thoughts prove that she is more brutal than her husband is. She fears that her husband is too weak to take the step of killing King Duncan and seize the crown. She mentally bullies him into taking the step of executing King Duncan, when she states, "Look like the' innocent flower, But be the serpent under 't" (Act I, Scene 6, 76-78). This proves how Lady Macbeth personality is powerful compared to that of her husband who is hesitant. Nevertheless, Macbeth addresses her as "My dearest love" (Act I, Scene 6, 67) even though he feels like she is pushing him towards killing King Duncan. Macbeth is more hesitant but allows Lady Macbeth to control him since he is faithful to her. He does not disagree with her at any one point and plays along with her plans although he is a bit hesitant, "We will speak further." (Act I, Scene 6, 83). This reveals that he agrees with her plans even though he does not explicitly concur. He decides to be manipulated by her, and she knows how to control his mind to do what she wants.

Macbeth is said to have a strong ambition; he portrays a strong, determined spirit in the battle. A shouting dissimilarity among the two is that Macbeth is portrayed as a great warrior who had saved the country. He is a man of greatness from the battlefield, who was crowned as "valour's minion" "Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof" (Act I, Scene 3, 62). While on the other side, Lady Macbeth's ambition comes more vaulting, brutal and deadly. "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." (Act I, Scene 5, 47-50). Macbeth never dares to call upon the spirits to free him of his emotions and all capacity of feeling remorse. She calls the spirit to liberate her from her feminine traits such as sensitivity and compassion. Macbeth has physical strength while she depicts unique emotional power.

Lady Macbeth's ambition is more strong-willed than Macbeth's. Macbeth's conscience was something that Lady Macbeth never portrayed. Her behavior at the beginning of the play felt like she indeed does not possess a conscience. Her deadly ambition showed nonentity stood in her way except emptiness. Even Macbeth would never pronounce an act of murder as "business" "you shall put This night's great business into my dispatch" (Act I, Scene 6, 79-80). She tells him to "Leave all the rest to me" (Act I, Scene 6, 85) revealing that she is the one in control. In reality, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth portray the same motive of taking over the kingship and exploiting it for their wicked acts. "If it were done when 'tis did, then 'twere well It was done quickly" (Act I, Scene 8, 1-2), it is here where we see the villain personality of Macbeth where it starts to destroy him. He is quickly persuaded by his wife, which reveals that his humanistic nature is not strong-willed. It also shows that his wife has more control over him and she knows how to manipulate him to act according to her will. The couple has a joint trait of ambition, a thirst to achieve what they want regardless of their differences.

After the two plotted and killed King Duncan their level of guilt was differing. Macbeth culpability got bigger "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?" (Act II, Scene 2, 78-79). In contrast, Lady Macbeth experiences minimal guilt "A little water clears us of this deed" (Act II, Scene 2, 86). However, to great surprise, Lady Macbeth would be proven gravely wrong. She never succeeds to be completely unsexed by the demons. Moreover, she acknowledges she cannot slay king Duncan in person since he brought back to her the memory of her father which is contrary to her cruel nature, "He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done 't" (Act II, Scene 2, 16-17). Lady Macbeth was very good at suppressing her emotions, but she never realized how intense they were. The interchange of their personalities after the murder of the king reveals how much they had underestimated the intensity of their acts.

The killing of King Duncan changes both the traits of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. They become the opposite of each other as they previously had been, but their characters are reversed. Lady Macbeth becomes a weal creature, frail, and overcome with paranoia. For the first time in the play, she shows her depression and despair "Tis safer to be that which we destroy this by destruction dwell in doubtful joy" (Act III, Scene 2, 7-8). She becomes imprisoned by her tormented past where she finally gives in and realizes that "What's done cannot be undone" (Act V,Scene 2, 71) At the same time, Macbeth turns into a wicked dictator doing an evil action after another. He goes on a massacring splurge assassination everyone that he feels intimidate him "The spirits that know All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus: "Fear not, Macbeth. No man that's born of woman Shall e'er have power upon thee." (Act V, Scene 3, 3-6). At this point, Macbeth's conscience has been killed and he holds the notion that he is above any man born of a woman. Hence, nothing threatens him. Lady Macbeth and her husband leaves at the extremes evil and guilt to each other as the play exits the stage.

The relationship between the two characters is indefinitely turbulent, a relationship that has many similarities and differences. Lady Macbeth's greed and vaulting ambition compared to Macbeth light with morality is a comparison to equilibrium. As the drama fluctuates these positions swaps, Macbeth turns to be the one with several murderous deeds with a vaulting ambition to keep his thrown while Lady Macbeth turns out to be light with her intolerable paranoia and guilt that lead her to commit murder. The play of "Macbeth" is a proper theme of tragedy because it portrays robust human nature where he tries to fight with his destiny to overcome it. This play reveals two different characters in similar situations, and they have different mold and fiber. Lady Macbeth does not appreciate her compassionate and soft female nature but instead fears them. According to Lady Macbeth, her womanlike qualities such as kindness, sympathy, and compassion are merely faults that have to be eliminated, and she tries to suppress them even when guilt hits her to the extent that she could not hold them anymore. She dreads her husband humanistic nature as well as hers. Macbeth admires her, but he is double-edged. He admires her audacity and willpower she holds to inspires him, but on the contrary, he is scared by her unfeminine behavior that lacks compassion. Her willingness to murder terrifies him. It is quite intriguing that Macbeth does not place himself superior to his wife but instead places himself at the same level with her and desires for her to enjoy his success and participation in his political affairs, which is contrary to the Elizabethan era. Macbeth's relationship is paradoxical. The play portrays how human nature succumbs to temptations, and thus Shakespeare gives warning of the outcome ambition. The play is still relevant in modern society; humans' nature has not changed much since the Elizabethan period. The play themes still concern the current generation, guilt, hierarchy, trauma, mental illness, shame, paranoia, distress, greed, power, murder and many more. It shows the depth in which humans can sink to get what others have, and this trait has been so apparent in human nature since the beginning of time.

Works Cited

Anglistik, Hausarbeit. "Thema: Lady Macbeth - A "Fiend-Like Queen?"." (2010): 1-21.

Chambers, E K. "Differences Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth." The Tragedy of Macbeth (2013).

Eckersley, Sylvia. "Number and Geometry in Shakespeare's Macbeth." (2001): 2-10.

Mowat, Barbara, and Paul Werstine. "The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare." (n.d.).

Wayne, Booth. "Shakespeare's Tragic Villain." Shakespeare's Tragedies - An Anthology of Modern (1993).

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