Difference and Similarites in the reaction to Duncan's murder seen in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

1450 Words Jan 14th, 2007 6 Pages
When two people are in the same situation one would assume that their reactions would be similar in nature. However, each person has his or her own unique personality traits and emotions, which are reflected in their response to the event. One can see the distinct personality of each character in his/her response. This is clearly illustrated through Duncan's murder in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth. In Act II, scene ii, both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth initially seem to respond in a similar manner, however as the scene progresses the diverse reactions are quite easily observed as one character becomes more decisive and the other more distressed.

As Macbeth leaves the hall to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth enters, remarking on her boldness.

"That
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She on the other hand bravely decides to go to the guards and smear Duncan's blood on them, which is very risky.

Following the murder, feelings of guilt begin to disturb Macbeth. After looking at his own hands Macbeth says, "This is a sorry sight". When Macbeth looks at his bloody hands he acts completely shaken and does not believe they belong to him and seems completely traumatized by his own actions. The sight of Duncan's blood cannot help but make Macbeth feel guilty about the brutal murder he has just committed; therefore saying it was a sorry sight. However, Macbeth's true remorse is portrayed through the last line in the scene.

"Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!" (II. ii. 74)

Macbeth shows he truly regretted his actions by wishing Duncan could once again be alive. Only one with true remorse would wish they could undo what they have done.

Lady Macbeth does not share this regret. In fact she even tries to sway Macbeth so he does not focus on his guilt either. After Macbeth says, "this is a sorry sight" Lady Macbeth replies, "A foolish thought to say a sorry sight." Here Lady Macbeth is chastising Macbeth for feeling guilty. She obviously does not feel the slightest bit of remorse otherwise she would agree the blood was indeed a sorry sight. As well, Lady Macbeth leads her husband back to the bedchamber, where he
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