Ehrissa Carpenter

Per: 2
In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth the two protagonists, Macbeth and Lady
Macbeth demonstrate both strength and weakness of character and action.

Through the course of the play Lady Macbeth’s early power and strength
weakens while Macbeth’s rises from weakness to a position of strength and
great power. In the beginning Lady Macbeth is stronger, however towards the
end Macbeth becomes the stronger one. The short tragedy of Macbeth is a
morbid story of ruthlessness, power, and murder. Shakespeare’s shortest
play, Macbeth shows the effects murder can have on a person’s soul.

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Early in the play, Shakespeare develops the strengths of Lady Macbeth
as contrasted with the weaknesses of her husband. For example Lady Macbeth
persuades her husband to kill King Duncan to give Macbeth air to the
throne, she organizes the murder and frames the guards. Without her
persuasion and planning Macbeth wouldn’t have committed the murder. This
quote by Lady Macbeth shows her ruthlessness: “My hands are of your color,
but I shame to wear a heart so white… a little water clears us of this
deed. How easy it is then! Your constancy hath left you unattended.” She is
able to cleanse herself of the blood without being affected, however
Macbeth is not, she calls him cowardly. He is so troubled by his guilt that
he cannot sleep. He shows this in the quote “Me thought I heard a voice cry
sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep-the innocent sleep, sleep that
knits up the raveled sleeve of care, the death of each day’s life, sore
labor’s bath…” Lady Macbeth is able to manipulate King Duncan’s murder
with no remorse, she is stronger than her husband, Macbeth who struggles
with the guilt he feels for the murder.

Midway through the play we find that Lady Macbeth is beginning to
lose her power and strength while Macbeth, now the king is at the same time
finding his. For example Macbeth quotes: “They are vulnerable then be
cheerful. Before the bat has finished it’s blind flight, before black which
with it’s droning proclaims night’s sleepy presence, there will be
committed and awful and infamous crime.” He is referring to his plans to
kill Banquo and his son Fleance in the dead of night. Lady Macbeth was
unaware of this; Macbeth is now arranging murder by himself without the
motives of Lady Macbeth. After Macduff fled to England Macbeth had his
family killed in his absence. Macbeth was angered with him for not
attending his banquet and fleeing to England. Macbeth has become so
ruthless that he killed Macduff’s innocent wife and children, lives of the
innocent were taken to torment the soul of Macduff. Macbeth has now
overcome his kind soul’s guilt over King Duncan to go on and cold-heartedly
commit two more cases of murder.

By the end of the play, Shakespeare shows us a king who is using all
of his strength and power to save his position, while showing how the Lady
Macbeth has lost all of her strength and has been reduced to a weak,
suicidal, nervous wreck. Lady Macbeth expresses her guilt in her sleep,
this quote portrays her feelings-“All the perfumes of Arabia will not
sweeten this little hand.” Earlier in the play when she was strong she had
been able to wash the blood off with water, now she feels she’ll never rid
herself of the burden. The doctor is called to go see Lady Macbeth for her
sleep talking. The doctor quotes “This sickness is beyond my medical skill,
however I’ve known sleep walkers who’ve died piously in their beds.” Lady
Macbeth’s problem is in her head; she needs the calamity removed from her
soul. The witch’s prophecies begin to come true, as they predicted; the
woods are going to march (the army). Macbeth decides to fight Macduff,
Macbeth’s ‘charmed life’ is broken however he still fights Macduff because
he’d rather die fighting for his position than be captured by the army.

Macbeth is now using all his strength to keep his position as king while
things are going down around him, his wife commits suicide and the army’s
coming after him so he fights Macduff to go down with glory.

As we have seen Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have demonstrated both
strength and weakness of character and action. I’ve showed how in the
beginning of the play Lady Macbeth was stronger than Macbeth was, as the
play progressed the scales switched sides and Macbeth became the stronger
one. Lady Macbeth becomes so burdened and weakened that she commits
suicide. I’ve learned that murder can ruin a person’s soul, it is so much
better to lead a wholesome, honest life than it is to be evil and corrupt.

My essay goes to show that no matter how good the outcome of evil doing may
seem at first the evil will catch up with you and take over. Goodness is
always the way.


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