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Change of Characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth / Pages: 3 (894 words) / Published: Feb 19th, 2009
Throughout the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change characters. This is evident through their speaking and their actions. Act One shows you the beginning of Lady Macbeth’s killing rage. For example, she says on page 284 in lines 18-29 that Macbeth has the title of Glamis and Cawdor and now the only things that are keeping him from the throne are King Duncan and his two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain. In that soliloquy, she is already thinking of plotting to kill Duncan. The next soliloquy that she gives on page 285 in lines 38-53, she is calling on the raven to bring deadly thoughts into her head to come up with a plan to kill Duncan. She asks the spirits to “unsex me [her], (P 285 L 41)” because killing is a man’s job. She also asks the “thick night” to come and enshroud “her keen knife [so that it does not] see not the wound it makes” meaning that it must be a dark night so that no one sees that King Duncan is being murdered. These examples show Lady Macbeth’s dominance for wanting to take a man’s role. She next persuades Macbeth to kill Duncan but he says that he will not do it. He ponders it for a while and thinks that he could risk on having eternal damnation, but he decides not to kill Duncan because Duncan is his kin and his actions will come to harm him. Lady Macbeth then takes Macbeth aside and tries to persuade him to kill Duncan by saying that he is “a coward (P 289 L 41)” and also questions his manhood. In lines 60-72, she unveils her plan for killing Duncan to Macbeth, which is to give the guards that watch Duncan wine so that Macbeth could slip into Duncan’s room, kill him, and smear blood on the drunken guards in order to place the blame of guilt on them. After this persuasion and yearning for the crown, Macbeth agrees to kill Duncan. This shows that Lady Macbeth is very domineering over her husband.

In Act 2 Scene 1, Macbeth has his famous floating dagger scene. On page 295-6, lines 33-64, Macbeth is having second thoughts about killing Duncan because he mentions two evil beings, Hecate who is the Greek goddess of witchcraft and Tarquin who is a Roman tyrant. In the couplet in lines 63-64, he says “Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.” This means that Macbeth is going to kill Duncan. In Scene 2, lines 1-8, Lady Macbeth complements herself on the murder of Duncan because she is the one who planned the entire murder. But in lines 9-13, she hears a knock and is having second thoughts about having Macbeth kill Duncan. She thinks that he has not picked up the daggers or that someone is awake and is seeing the murder. When Macbeth arrives back to Lady Macbeth, he is still holding the daggers and is horrified that the blood of Duncan will never come off of his hands. Lady Macbeth shows her dominance by grabbing the daggers from him and smears the blood from the daggers on the hands and faces of the guards that are watching over Duncan. Malcolm and Donalbain now flee the country and leave the throne to Macbeth who is the next in line. Macbeth now goes of to Scone to be crowned king. The coronation of Macbeth shows the change in his character from submissive to dominant.

After the coronation of Macbeth in Act 3, he orders to have his friend Banquo to be killed because Banquo is getting suspicious of Macbeth. This is Macbeth’s first act of dominance throughout the play. Now Lady Macbeth is showing her submissiveness by lamenting the death of Duncan by saying “Nough’s had, all’s spent, Where our desire is got without content, ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than be destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” This statement means that because she and Macbeth used dirty deeds to get the crown, she is not happy because the pain of her horrible deed is now weighing on her mind.

The next place where Lady Macbeth shows her submissiveness is in Act 5, Scene 1, where she is sleep walking and moaning about a blood spot that she can not get off of her hands. This flashback goes to beginning where she says, “a little water will clear us of this deed,” which is right after they kill Duncan. The next thing that happens is Lady Macbeth dies. Now Macbeth knows that all of his misfortune is because he killed Duncan. In the end of the play, Macbeth is killed which shows that if you go about things by evil deeds, something bad will happen to you. In this case, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are dead because they killed Duncan.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change characters in the play. They do this through their speaking and through their actions. Sometimes they use direct speech and sometimes they cover up what they actually want to do by using inference. They use their actions through authority to get what they want. This change in characters is very effective in a good play.

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