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Similarities And Differences In Macbeth

Decent Essays
In the tragic play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the main character Macbeth is a Scottish thane esteemed by the king and other thanes. He is immediately portrayed as a brave and honorable warrior with loyalty to his country. Then, three witches tell him three prophecies about his future and in order to fulfill the prophecy of becoming king, Macbeth must kill Scotland’s beloved King Duncan. He and his wife, Lady Macbeth, have an ambition that leads to life or death decisions needing to be made. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth initially both have this ambition and a desire for power, but as changes occur, they begin to differ and these differences evolve throughout the play.

Macbeth hears the prophecies directly from the witches, so he is startled
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Macbeth has an entire soliloquy dedicated to his indecisiveness. He mostly states reasons why he should not kill Duncan. At the end of this he says “I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself/ And falls on th’ other―” (I. vii.25-28). Macbeth has no reason to murder Duncan besides his ambition, which he feels will lead to his downfall. After the murder is the same story. Macbeth feels immediate guilt and the blood on his hands disturbs him so he is haunted by the experience. He wishes he had not done it: “Wake Duncan with thy knocking, I would thou couldst” (II.ii.94-95). Lady Macbeth is the opposite. She wants this murder to happen and it is her plan that is used for it. She senses Macbeth is against her and she taunts him: “Wouldst thou have that/ Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life/ And live a coward in thine own esteem”(I.vii.45-47). She calls Macbeth a coward to get him on her side. Lady Macbeth is determined and strong willed, which completely contrasts Macbeth’s indecisiveness. When Macbeth returns covered in blood, Lady Macbeth feels no regret for have had someone killed. She is not affected because it is over now and “A little water clears [them] of this deed./ How easy it is then!” (I.ii.86-87). The guilt should make it difficult for murder to be considered easy, but it is only affecting…show more content…
They have their similarities but their differences are greater. Macbeth is hesitant and guilt ridden whereas Lady Macbeth is eager to kill and ambitious. Then a shift occurs where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth switch perspectives. At the end of the play, Lady Macbeth ends up killing herself because of the guilt. This connects to the theme of how guilt affects the mind. Macbeth also states it would be “Better [to] be with the dead… Than on the torture of the mind” (III.ii.22,24). Lady Macbeth thinks life is meaningless without happiness and Macbeth realizes that as well. Life “is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing”(V.v.29-31). Despite being different for the entire play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth come to the same realization that the life they ended up with lacked
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