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To What Extent Is Lady Macbeth Responsible For The Murder Of King Duncan And The Downfall Of Macbeth?

1439 words - 6 pages

Throughout history women have fought for the same rights of men. In the time of William Shakespeare they were seen in society as weak and vulnerable. They were seen to be good, caring and not as powerful as men. Men were the superior and ruled the land. Shakespeare has taken the stereotypical image of the women of the time and turned it on its head in ‘Macbeth’. Lady Macbeth is shown as a very powerful, strong woman. She has an evil about her that Shakespeare has used to make ‘Macbeth’ a supernatural play. Women were seen to be good and not as powerful as men, in ‘Macbeth’ Lady Macbeth is the dominate character and commands and persuades Macbeth to commit the murders and crimes that he does.

Lady Macbeth is a very strong character; she believes that she is the most intelligent and powerful. She does not think that Macbeth has the masculinity to become king. However, she does know that he has the ambition to be. ‘Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it’ Lady Macbeth is explaining her feelings that she is major part in Macbeths future. She also believes that he cannot do it alone. This is very unusual for the time, men were seen to be the strong, dominate characters that did not need the woman’s help. In this instance, Macbeth is being looked down upon Lady Macbeth which in itself questions his masculinity.

Macbeth sees Lady Macbeth as a equal. This is shown when Macbeth writes to her in Act 1 Scene 5; ’This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness’. The use of the word dearest, meaning love and companionship, shows that Macbeth has the up most respect for Lady Macbeth. He values her opinion on matters of his future, something that the audience at the time would have been amazed to here. During this period people tended to stay the same throughout their lives; if they were born poor they died poor, if they were born rich they died rich. The idea of ambition and of improving ones position in society was frowned upon. So, if a woman was seen helping a man achieve ambition or future gain they would be looked down upon severely. This equality between Macbeth and lady Macbeth will have a huge impact on the downfall of Macbeth.

Within the plot, Lady Macbeth prepares for the murder of Duncan. She calls the spirits to help her do what she needs to do. ‘Unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty‘. Here Lady Macbeth is showing her evil and bloodthirsty side. She is calling the spirits to rid her of her lady like way. Her caring nature and her womanly loving. She knows that she needs ‘cruelty’ to commit the murder of King Duncan. This is a reference to the witches and how they are controlling not just Macbeths desires but Lady Macbeth’s as well. Critics have argued that Lady Macbeth is showing that she will do anything to become queen. However, I disagree I believe that she is not willing that is why she is calling on the...

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