Macbeth an lady Macbeth are two very different characters, and put together they make the powerful but tragic story of Macbeth full of bravery, beauty guilt and betrayal.
Macbeth, at the beginning of the play is already successful having killed Macdonald and sliced him “from the nave to the chops” in the battle, between King Sweeno of Norway and Duncan’s army.
Macbeth’s bravery brought him great honour such as Thane of Glamis and as the witches predicted to him “Thane of Cawdor.”
When Macbeth met the witches with Banquo they told him that also “Shalt be king hereafter” Macbeth, knowing that King Duncan was still living didn’t believe them and demanded to know more saying “Speak, I charge you! ” we see now how he is used to giving commands to such people.
Soon after, when the witches left, Macbeth thought of only one thing, telling his “Dearest partner” what has happened.
Upon receiving his letter, for the sake of their prize lady Macbeth gives herself up to the witches saying, “unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the chops to the toe top full of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up th’access and passage to remorse.”
Immediately after she takes control, knowing all her husbands weaknesses, whereas she is a strong woman and once she sees that her husbands ambitions have been inflamed she is willing going to do anything to help him achieve “the golden round” even though she admits he “wouldst not play false”
She has been told by her messenger “the king comes tonight” so she wants to get this dreadful deed done.
Lady Macbeth has told her husband what she has planned and saying they have to “look like th’innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” she wants her husband to show he can be a man that can cover up his “black and deep desires”
On arrival of the King at the home of Macbeth, Duncan comments on how the “the castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses” which is very ironic as it is the place he is going to die.
Lady Macbeth is putting her “th’innocent flower” look while talking to king Duncan. Her welcoming speech is dripped with false graciousness “all our service in every point twice done and then done double were poor and single business to contend against those honours deep and broad wherewith Your Majesty loads our house ” knowing that she as planned his killing.
Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with significant effectiveness, overriding all his objections when he says they will “Proceed no further in this business.” She questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. She starts to question their relationship and how “from this time, such I account your love,” and this shames him into going through with this unearthly and deep desire. She also persuades him by telling him that she would rather “I have given suck and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me; I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed his brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.” than break a promise to him.
Macbeth soon changes his mind because his wife has told him her greatest love for him. Lady Macbeth has told her husband “that which hath made them drunk hath made me bold” and plans to blame the killing on the guards.
Macbeth follows through with the killing and as he walks to Duncan’s chamber he sees a dagger through a vision “is this a dagger I see before me” He is so tempted by this vision that it leads him to Duncan’s bed and Macbeth slaughters him.
Because Macbeth has “done the deed” he is terrified as he heard a voice calling “sleep no more to all the house. Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more – Macbeth shall sleep no more. “
After the killing has passed Macbeth and his wife’s relationship deteriorates fast. She thinks that “some water will wash this filthy witness from your hand”
Macbeth is very proud of this brutal achievement and because he has succeeded once, he plans for two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleeance because “Tis safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
Although he is, on the other hand quite conscientious of what people think of him because he feels so guilty. He begins to hear and see things. He can’t bring himself to pray or even say amen as he is so guilt-ridden over his crime.
He often has flashbacks and one in particular, at the celebration banquet left the thanes questioning who actually killed Duncan. Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost at the banquet table and he starts to panic, talking to the ghost saying “thou canst not say I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me.” His guilty conscience is projecting visions of Banquo because he is responsible for the man’s murder.
For more reassurance Macbeth revisit’s the witches for the 3rd time. He is expecting more from this visit than ever before. To make him better than anyone else and to achieve great things.
The witches have planned something far more unearthly than Macbeth could imagine, adding to the cauldron things like, “Eye of newt and toe of frog wool of bat and tongue of dog adders fork and blindworms sting lizards leg and howlet’s wing”
He already knows that the witches have planned something and greets them in a bossy manner “How now you secret black and midnight hags.”
The substance put together in the cauldron made Macbeth more powerful and big-headed than ever imagined but this lead to a downside of him. When he was fighting Macduff at the end of the play he was thinking that “for none of woman born shall harm me” and that whatever would happen he would win. But as the audience sees, this quote was far from the truth as Macduff won the fight and Macbeth was killed.
Macbeth was a successful character but once he got his eyes on the prize there was no backing down. This lead to total failure between himself and his wife. His character shows that to he needed his wife’s support to get him king because without her, he would never have committed the first act of murder.
Towards the end of the play Lady Macbeth is not as simple as she seems. Guilt is finally getting to her and she begins to sleepwalk. Corresponding to the way she said “a little water will wash us of this deed” she begins to scrub her hands wash the blood off.
Horrors of the night she and Macbeth killed Duncan come back in her nightmares to haunt her.
In the Polanski version of Macbeth we see Lady Macbeth trying to wash an imaginary speck of blood off her hands. The audience can see that she is now suffering from a mental breakdown as she continues to imagine things.
Lady Macbeth eventually dies, perhaps through suicide but guilt is probably the cause of her death. Her conscience got the better of her in the end even though at the beginning she would do anything to help her “gain her prize as queen.” She didn’t realise that the aftermath of what had happened would eventually catch up to her and that fear and guilt can be covered up for a while but it cant be done away with completely.
Lady Macbeth was a fascinating character full of determination to get what she wanted but in the end it proved that you can’t always get what you want even if you have your heart set on power, lies through evil will always come back to haunt and drive you mad.
A man can be seen in modern day life as successful because of either one of two people, mother or wife. In the play Macbeth, his wife is behind most of Macbeths success. Lady Macbeth is like any other wife to her husband, she is always there behind the scenes and supporting her husband in every possible way. Lady Macbeth was there when he was struggling with the fact that he could have become king sooner than expected if he commits murder. The relationship between husband and wife was like a steady rock that soon became filled with turmoil.
Lady Macbeth is a twisted example of “Behind every successful man is a strong woman” because her strength is shown when she manipulates her husband to get what he wanted so badly, yet he wouldn’t admit it and also because she wanted the victory herself. Macbeth wouldn’t of been successful if his wife hadn’t have been behind him encouraging him to do the things he almost refused to do.