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Macbeth and lady macbeth

Updated on November 3, 2010

Very long but factual essay on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth


Lady Macbeth was the dominant and powerful leader in the relationship between Macbeth and herself. Her way of life and power decreased drastically as Macbeth became King, and she was put aside and ignored.

Not only did Lady Macbeth change but so did Macbeth. He became a power thirsty man, killing ruthlessly and unnecessary for his own benefits.

Macbeth’s stronger demands drove beloved Lady Macbeth senseless, eventually resulting in a tragic suicide.

Lady Macbeth’s emotions are always changing, throughout the play her mood changes from a very confident woman, which was very rare in that day and age gradually becoming weak minded.


Woman in Shakespearian time were below men on the natural order, this gave men the right to demand the woman on what to do. Not with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, they were both equals.

Lady Macbeth Says


“Partner of greatness”


‘Partner’, has two different meanings, one of them being a teammate or compangnion and the other meaning as a husband or wife. ‘Partner’ also are two or more people trying to accomplish something.

This gives the reader the impression that they refer each other as a loved pair.

‘Greatness’ implies that Macbeth may be telling her how much he loves her or even trying to be a suck up.

The Quotation gives an overall impression that Macbeth compares Lady Macbeth as an equal to himself.


After reading Macbeths letter, Lady Macbeth is jubilant to the idea of murdering King Duncan. She begins to come up with a plan in killing Duncan to gain the royal crown. She then fills up with pure evil; she evilly scams Macbeth into the sadistic murder. Lady Macbeth says


“Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t”


In this quotation Lady Macbeth is demanding that Macbeth should act innocent and unguilty, but beneath the kindness and love, be a devious evil man who won’t let anything between the crown and himself.

‘Look like th’ innocent flower’, suggests that she is comparing Macbeth’s behaviour towards a flower.

‘But be the serpent under’t’, she is now insists that he continues with the evil scheme in a cautious way.


In Shakespearian time, anyone who called upon evil spirits or did suspicious prayers was considered as witches. Witches were highly believed to be the work of the devil and curse all noble men.

This would have shocked the audience because it persists that she is a witch.


“Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.”


In this quotation Lady Macbeth calls upon the evil spirits, she says this to guide her with evil and to give her courage.

‘Unsex me here’ this line shows that she asks the spirits to take away her feminity to give her the strength to go through with the deadly plan.



When King Duncan is arriving at the sight of the castle, he commented on how beautiful and royal it looked.

Duncan says


“This Castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gently senses.”


This quotation gives a sense of irony because this is obviously where King Duncan is brutally murdered. It also suggests that Duncan was looking forward to staying in the castle, no doubt that this shows Duncan’s trust towards Macbeth for entering his castle with no negative thoughts or worries of what may or could happen to him.


  Throughout Act 1 Scene 6, Lady Macbeth acts with caution, trying not to uncover the secrets that she is hiding. From when Duncan first enters the castle, Lady Macbeth was there to honour and respect her majesty.


  In Act 1 Scene 7, Lady Macbeth's language and her character changes considerably. She takes control. She begins to attack the masculinity of Macbeth. By doing this, she makes him feel vulnerable and in this way she can get what she wants. She says


“But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail”


        Lady Macbeth’s reason for her language is because Macbeth begins to realise that killing the King isn’t such a great idea, he starts chickening out until Lady Macbeth calls him a coward, she tells him that he has no courage. From the quotation she is saying that if Macbeth regains his courage, they will succeed.


“When you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you would be so much more the man.”


   From this extract Lady Macbeth yet again insults the weak Macbeth,

She tells him that if he kills Duncan and does whatever it takes to be King, he will be a man.

From the two offensive quotations, this shows Lady Macbeth to be in control of the situation, this is bad for Macbeth because if she keeps forcing him to do evil, he could become out of control.


  Lady Macbeth’s anger rises as her views become more convincing to Macbeth, she then says


  “Dashed the brains out”


This graphic language would shock the audience because of her cruel nature towards any life-like object.

Her sadistic mind tricked Macbeth into killing Duncan, what Lady Macbeth and Macbeth did not know was that the killing of Duncan would lead them on the road to their own death.


In Act 3 Scene 2 we can clearly see that Lady Macbeth and Macbeths characteristics swap over, and Macbeth is now the more dominant character. Macbeth, who is the new King, came up with the evil scheme of killing teammate Banquo in cold blood because Banquo knew it was Macbeth who killed Duncan. Lady Macbeth was not informed of this plan by Macbeth.

In the passage Lady Macbeth is ignored and she was not told of the plan to kill Banquo.


In Scene 4 the banquet scene, we see that Macbeth is going crazy with hallucinations. He is hallucinating that Banquo is still alive, and in front of all the members of the banquet, Macbeth gives the smallest hint of who killed Banquo.

Before the Banquet, the murderers returned to Macbeth and told him that Banquo is dead but his son Fleance escaped.                         


“Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once!”


      This quotation shows the anger in Lady Macbeth’s voice; she is forcing them out of the room so Macbeth doesn’t spill out their secret.

Throughout the hallucinations, Lady Macbeth tries to calm him down, she then without haste dismisses all the noble men.

In Act 5 scene 1 Lady Macbeth blurts out all the murders while she is asleep to the Nurse and Doctor without realising that she had done it.

Her childlike language is a result of the lack of sleep and tiredness; she is also panicking about the blood on her hands.


“Out damned spot, out I say!yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?”


   Lady Macbeth, although a sleep is to hallucinating, she looks at her hand seeing and remembering the blood from the murder, another point is that she may not have blood on her hands literally, but the saying shows that she has killed.  The last part of the quotation shocks the Nurse and Doctor because Lady Macbeth is referring to the death of Duncan.


In the beginning of the play, before the plot of killing Duncan begun, Lady Macbeth called upon the evil spirits to give her courage and guide her. Lady Macbeth was not scared of the dark because the spirits were guiding her, the evil has left her because she now realises that she has done the wrong thing by killing, now when she is asleep she needs a candle by her side, the candle may represent an angel or even God, this will help her sleep at night.


We can see that Lady Macbeth uses childlike language because in a quotation she uses rhyme: 


“The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?”


  From this quotation she is talking about herself, she is the wife, she is relating herself to something lost, Macbeth has lost Lady Macbeth.

She dramatises the;  ‘Where is she now?’  Because she is not actually lost, she is referring to her mind.


  She has definitely changed from a strong controllable woman, slowly becoming mental who acts with childlike behaviour, the sophistication in her language also changes, from long sentences to short and stutter sentences. Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth, the ‘Partners of Greatness’, now half the time Lady Macbeth is not acknowledged or realised by Macbeth. This begins to show the steep slope in their love.   


   Lady Macbeth’s sadistic attitude changed also, she begins calling upon the evil spirits, and then later she sleeps with a candle with the thought that an angel is guiding her.

 She has been an interesting character with different beliefs and attitudes, so I don’t believe it’s fair to call her a ‘Fiend-like Queen’.


  All she wanted was what all woman in Shakespearian times dreamed of, the royal crown. Instead of waiting or giving up on a dream, she followed hers maybe not in the best of ways.

When Lady Macbeth’s Language and personality changed, Lady Macbeth changed as well. Those two qualities that she possessed made her equal to Macbeth in the beginning.


  Her strong demands then made her more confident and she ruled Macbeth and forced him into killing Duncan.

From that point, Macbeth was already too close to the crown, and he overpowered Lady Macbeth, crushing her courage and bravery.




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