Macbeth vs. a Simple Plan

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Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare in the early 17th century and A Simple Plan, a 1998 Hollywood production are surprisingly similar. These two tragedies illustrate two contented ordinary men, whose lives are irrevocably altered for the worse, resulting in their downfalls. Both men are happily married to women who share their ambitions and become their driving force. Lady Macbeth and Sarah Mitchell are both intelligent and powerful characters as they understand their husbands’ weaknesses and know how to use it to their advantages. Although the men are the ones who act upon the evil plots, the wives play the more important role as the authority and motivation of their actions. Both Lady Macbeth and Sarah formulate plans to obtain their objectives before their husbands can think far enough ahead. The instant Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth’s letter, stating that he met witches who predicted he would be king, she immediately decides that the king will be killed: “The Raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements” (Macbeth 1.5.38-40). As Macbeth earlier asks the stars to hide his desire, she openly asks the spirits to strengthen her desire by filling her with manly cruelty: Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of the direst cruelty. (1.5.40-43)
She is clearly willing to do whatever is necessary to seize the throne. When Macbeth arrives home and tells her that King Duncan will come to their castle that night, she says to him: You shall put

This night’s great business into my despatch;
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. (1.5.67-70)
This speech shows that Lady Macbeth is the brain behind Macbeth’s actions and that her ambition is strong enough to drive her husband forward. She even facilitates the night’s events as she plans the agenda of the evening, preparing “wine and wassail” for...
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