Macbeth by Shakespeare - Lady Macbeth and Themes

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  • Topic: Novel, Macbeth, Fiction
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  • Published : April 2, 2008
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The literary work of Macbeth wouldn’t be a well-written story if Macbeth did not exist, but it also wouldn’t be universal if the secondary character of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth’s wife, did not exist. Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is set in Scotland during the 11th century, mostly in Macbeth's castle and the king's palace at Forres. This play is about a brave Scottish general, Macbeth, who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become king of Scotland. Filled with ambitious thoughts and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself. He begins his reign inflicted with guilt and fear and soon becomes a tyrannical ruler, as he is forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from suspicion. The bloodbath swiftly propels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to madness and death of the two. Throughout this novel, Lady Macbeth plays an important role in the development of the story and reveals ambition, one of the novel’s central thematic messages.

Lady Macbeth, a deeply ambitious woman who lusts for power and position. Early on she is the stronger and more ruthless of the two, as she urges her husband to kill King Duncan, and seize the thrown. Having second thoughts about his decision, Lady Macbeth convinces him that being king is what he really wants, and that it is the best for both of them. After Macbeth talks of his uncertainty, Lady Macbeth manipulates him by questioning his love for her and his manhood, which is shown in the following quote. “When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And to be more than what you were, you would / Be so much more the man.” (Macbeth, I.vii.54). She is successful because regardless of his own conscience Macbeth carries out their plan of murder. This is only one example of how Lady Macbeth plays an important role in the development of the story. She humiliates Macbeth and belittles him by calling him less of a man because he wouldn’t kill Duncan....
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