Shakespeare’s couples are the embodiment of romance, grief, drama and endless emotions. However, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are different from the regular literary couples. The play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare portrays essential themes such as guilt, morality and ambition embedded and developing throughout the play which are reflective in the personas of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Each theme is played out by both protagonists in different ways influencing and changing their relationship. Lady Macbeth’s character is more opportunistic and ruthless towards her ultimate goal of achieving royalty and power. Her greed and selfishness were apparent from the very beginning but both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth want to take the crown no matter what.
Lady Macbeth has a gender issue since she would like to be a man in order to be able to kill; aggressions especially murder embody masculinity in her and Macbeth’s points of view. Her saying “unsex me here..” is an indication of an inner conflict. To elaborate, the conflict is about her womanhood and how she as a woman is raised and also perceived by society as not being able to commit an act of aggression since this would go against the kind, soft, innocent and inferior nature of womanhood. This underlines how Lady Macbeth would like to go beyond her boundaries as a woman and behave like someone she is not to become Queen.
Going far beyond her capabilities as a woman and not wanting to be viewed as one shows how ambitious and determined towards her goal she is.Also Macbeth becomes obsessed by the idea of achieving to take the crown and be King and would use any means to achieve his goal. “The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step. On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies… black and deep desires.
..”. Describing his ambitions as being “black and deep desires” highlight that he’s willing to commit crimes to achieve the desire of taking the Scottish thrown.Moreover, Lady Macbeth persona of being some sort of a ‘femme fatale’ manipulates the at first hesitant Macbeth into executing their plans by provoking him through questioning his ‘masculinity’.
“When you durst do it, then you were a man;…”. ( ) Lady Macbeth intentionally belittles Macbeth and insults him on several occasions in order for him to want to prove her and himself wrong and feel the urge to commit the crimes and sins to achieve her ultimate goal of being queen.
She uses him by gradually turning him into a murderer through provocations and emotional abuse. Although turning into ruthless and immoral murderers both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel guilty for committing crimes but each in his own unique way. Although Lady Macbeth seems to be a ‘femme fatale’ manipulating Macbeth into killing the King in order to fulfill her purpose of becoming queen, her vulnerability shows when she is plagued by guilt leading to her sleep walking due to contributing in killing an innocent man. Additionally, she uses metaphors that show how guilty she feels.
“Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”( )After the murder of Duncan Lady Macbeth claims that she can still smell his blood on her hands and that no perfume in the world could erase the smell which is the manifestation of her feelings of guilt. Macbeth sees the ghost of Fleance, Banquo’s son due to having prior killed him; the guilt is highlighted in form of seeing a ghost that is only visible to him. Macbeth points to emptiness and shouts: “Please, just look over there.
Look! Look! See!”( )Killing Banquo was a turning point for Macbeth’s wellbeing; he started to get paranoid because he was scared to get caught which materialized in him having hallucinations.Lady Macbeth’s guilt was nagging on her and she committed suicide as a consequence. ” She is not sick….but she is troubled with endless visions that keep her from sleeping.”( ) In the beginning Lady Macbeth seemed stronger and ruthless than Macbeth but she committed suicide for she couldn’t face the consequences of their actions and the guilt overrode her evil ambitions and turned her mad and mentally unstable.
It is ironic how the characters are different yet extremely similar. To elaborate, it would have been expected that Macbeth would feel more guilty than Lady Macbeth since she manipulated him into turning into a murderer while he seemed to be guiltless. Nevertheless, Lady Macbeth created a ‘monster’ namely, Macbeth, and felt guilty to the extent that she committed suicide while he became more determined and committed to the plan throughout the play. Both obsessed with power leading to murder, they both feel guilt but in different ways. Unexpectedly, Lady Macbeth’s feelings of guilt increases day by day wanting her to stop whereas Macbeth feels guilty sometimes which motivates him keep going and not to give up.
Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are moral but at different stages of the play. Macbeth has morals in the beginning and turns immoral gradually whereas in Lady Macbeth’s case its the other way around; she has no morals in the beginning but the gradual and increasing guilt throughout the play indicate increasing feeling for moral values. Lady Macbeth read her husband’s letter where he includes to write to her about the witches’ prophecy and instantly develops plans of murdering the king. This is proof of how easily the evil capabilities and intentions inside of her got triggered. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be..
. The illness should attend it.” (1.5.15-20) Her willingness to become a murder and motivate her husband to become a murder, too is obvious from the very beginning when reading about the prophecies.Macbeth was against murdering to achieve the ends of becoming royalty but his intense and selfish desire for power and prestige took over; however he was hesitant at first and not willing to easily ignore his morals. ” If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere It were done quickly.
” (1.7. 1-2) Macbeth is implying that what has to be done must be done which is in this case brutal since what has to be done is, in his opinion, killing. Although he is hesitant in the beginning, the deeper inflicted in intrigues and murdering he becomes the more determined he develops.In conclusion, the relationship of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth entails countless facets that constantly develop and change.
They both portray the themes of ambition, guilt and morality which means their personalities contain all three of them which I found to be extremely interesting for humans cant be purely evil or good; humans embody both good and the ugly characteristics. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth portrayed pure evil ambitious in the beginning while Macbeth was a moral person not willing to murder at all. However, they switch roles as Lady Macbeth becomes more in-hesitant and guilty to the extent of her getting more and more paranoid and mad while the moral Macbeth turns step by step into being ruthless and immoral. To summarize, they are different and similar at the same time.
However, both used the three themes to turn knowingly into murders.Works’ CitedShakespeare, William. Macbeth Bantam Books: New York.2005.Print.
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