One of the great shakespearen tragedies, Macbeth is a play based on character and deed. Set in Scotland, the play cleverly develops each of the main characters, molding their essence and traits into a twisted masterpiece. The central character Macbeth is driven by his ambition to become king of Scotland, and in the process commits acts of betrayal and treachery. However, it has been stated many times that behind every man is an even greater woman who drives her man to succeed. Lady Macbeth is the great woman behind the man.
As the play progresses one can clearly see where a wife’s ambition fuels her husband, and leads him to his downfall. Within the first act, Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth detailing his encounter with the witches and their prophecies. After reading the letter, she immediately began plotting to assassinate Duncan. Our first indication of Lady Macbeth’s ambition and dark nature is evident when she says, That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements. (I: v: 39). She continues her speech by asking the spirits to: unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! Stop up the access and passage to remorse (I: v)to give her the capability to be remorseless.Order now
Lady Macbeth’s depravity and lack of morality begins to have an effect on Macbeth as he progresses from a ethical man to one willing to commit murder. Macbeth begins to expereince extreme conflict of emotions at this point. His ambitiousness is leading him towards killing Duncan while his remaining shreds of morality will not allow him to commit a crime of such magnitude. He debates the pros and cons of his decision and ultimately his morality wins the battle.
We will proceed no further in this business (I: vii) he tells his wife. It would have ended here had Lady Macbeth not involved herself further. Knowing that she had the power in their relationship, she questions Macbeth’s manhood, and courage:When you durst do it, then you were a man;And, to be more than what you wre you wouldBe so much more the man(I:vii)Shakespeare Essays