William Shakespeare's play Macbeth demonstrates clear motifs of guilt and power. This is especially eminent in the reversal of these motifs between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Initially it is obvious Lady Macbeth holds the power in their relationship. When Lady Macbeth is first introduced, Macbeth seems to put his ‘dearest partner of greatness’ on a higher or at least an equal level to that of a man, extremely uncommon for this time period. Her dominance in the relationship becomes clearer after she begins to unravel a plot to kill King Duncan so that they can take over as the new king and queen of Scotland. When Macbeth objects that his new title, Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor should be “worn in their newest gloss, (and) not cast aside so soon,” or even questions her- she begins to question his manhood by making comments such as “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.” In addition, Lady Macbeth strategically instructs and gives Macbeth orders to carry out the murder. “Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it,” and tells Macbeth to “put this night's great business into my dispatch.” With that, Macbeth becomes easily influenced by his wife and almost obediently, Macbeth follows through with Lady Macbeth’s plan, but not without guilt. After the deed has been done, he wonders: “will all great Neptune’s ocean wash the blood from my hands?” Lady Macbeth scorns at his weakness stating how her “hands are of the same color, but I shame to wear a heart so white.”
As the play progresses, their roles begin to shift. As Macbeth’s paranoia begins to grow, so does his dominance. With the constant worrying if the witches’ predictions of Banquo’s sons being kings, he begins to become paranoid knowing that “upon his (my) head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren scepter in his (my) gripe.” In order to protect his new throne, he orders...
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