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Compare/Contract Macbeth Essay, Research Paper

Compare & Contrast Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

The plot of Shakespeare s Macbeth is tragic and bloody, held together with actions based on ambition, the driving force to achieve good or evil. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth can be used as prime examples of people that act upon ambition. Although both are portrayed to be evil in comparison, they also have contrasting characteristics as well as we discover through Acts I III.

Macbeth is a character who is constantly contradicting himself. We learn from Act I that he possessed many notable traits, such as bravery, loyalty, and strength, however, by reading further along, one also learn that he is a man of deceit, ruthlessness, and insincerity. In Act I, Macbeth saved the day by defeating the army in rebellion against King Duncan. Due to his bravery, he was announced Thane of Cawdor, or a Scottish nobleman. But for the sake of ambition to acquire a greater status, Macbeth murders King Duncan and his best friend Banquo in order to become king himself. At the same time, his conscience is filled with guilt and misery that wears him down.

Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, seems to holds no emotions or guilty conscience and is fascinated only with achieving the crown and becoming queen. It was Lady Macbeth s influence on her husband that drove him to murder King Duncan. When Duncan tried to back out of the murder, it was she that held him in contempt and questioned his manhood to shame him into the terrible act. Lady Macbeth lies effortlessly and thinks little of her actions that portray her as a portrait of a horrible murderer even if the blood was on Macbeth s hands.

After Macbeth committed the murder of the king, many more are slaughtered to cover his trail of carnage. He murders Duncan s servants, Banquo, and Macduff s wife and children. We immediately see the change in Macbeth s morale after murdering Duncan he strikes at random doing anything he can to keep the crown, to satisfy his wife, and to coat denial on his guilt-ridden self. After killing to get the crown, his other crimes seem inevitable. The brave hero we met in Act I has become completely twisted.

The Lady Macbeth is a strong woman who understands her husband very well, and uses that to her advantage. She knows how to manipulate Macbeth because she knows he will abide to her desires. Her strength, determination, and resourcefulness are wasted on evil deeds, which is considered a tragedy. Through the increasing murders, we can sense Lady Macbeth s breakdown of her previous strengths, suffering from her own guilt.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth introduce themselves as quite individual characters Macbeth being the brave hero, and Lady Macbeth as the strong persuader of evil to corrupt Macbeth in contrast. Macbeth slowly wears down from guilt, confusion, and lastly, his ambition which drives him to do nothing but evil deeds. The strength of Lady Macbeth s ambitions ultimately weakens herself. In the end, Macbeth s qualities are reduced to Lady Macbeth s level in comparison.


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