How Is Act 2 Scene 2 Such a Vital Turning Point for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

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Macbeth Draft Essay

In William Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’, the protagonist, Macbeth, and his wife Lady Macbeth, dramatically change throughout the course of the play. Macbeth starts the play as a more submissive husband and Lady Macbeth, the more dominant wife. This helps to generate a mixture of pity and fear, which is a key ingredient for making this play a tragedy, along with the death of the protagonist due to his “vaulting ambition”. Act 2 Scene 2 is a key turning point in this play and signifies a number of major changes to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, mainly the deterioration of Macbeth from what the Captain describes right at the beginning of the play as a fearless warrior, to a man who loses all fear of death and Lady Macbeth from a calm, evil influence to an nervous, obsessive woman.

Macbeth’s reluctance to kill Duncan is vital to help generate this pity for him, as we see that he is forced into by his controlling wife, Lady Macbeth, who insults his manhood by telling him “when you durst do it, then you were a man” and taunts him until he finally gives in to her. The fact that he is eventually bullied into regicide by his wife would have been a great shock for the Jacobean audience as woman were thought of as the more passive sex. His soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 7 is Macbeth’s thoughts pouring out as he agonises over whether or not to kill Duncan. Macbeth says that “as I am his kinsman and his subject/ Strong both against the deed” showing that he values kinship and loyalty. However, right at the end of this soliloquy, we hear of Macbeth’s fatal flaw, his “vaulting ambition” which is greatly exploited by his wife, as he names this the reason that he would kill Duncan.

Macbeth’s regret after killing Duncan is clear to see and also generates pity for him. When he says “Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst”, this is a clear indicator of his massive guilt and regret. After coming back from killing Duncan, he is a...
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