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Difference And Similarites In The Reaction To Duncan's Murder Seen In Macbeth And Lady Macbeth

1454 words - 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 which has made them drunk had made me bold,What hath quench'd them hath given me fire."(II.ii 1-2)She asserts that she would have killed the king herself then and there,"Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't." (II.ii.13-14).Although Lady Macbeth appears brave and strong we can still find moments of her being tense and nervous just as her husband is throughout the murder. Prior to the murder Lady Macbeth takes a drink of wine. She does so in order to calm her nerves confirming that she is indeed very tense about the forthcoming murder. In addition, while Macbeth is doing the deed, Lady Macbeth begins to worry that the guards will awake and although this does not actually happen she is so tense her mind cannot help but obsess over the smallest of noises. Her anxiety is also apparent through her constant use of the word 'hark' as she almost jumps with every sound.Throughout the murder Macbeth seems to be extremely tense as well, as he calls out "Who's there? What, ho!" and then asks Lady Macbeth "Didst thou not hear a noise?" It is apparent as well that he begins to hear things but no one is there. It is his nerves that compel him to imagine these nonexistent noises.Another obvious reaction to the murder that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exhibit is that they are both very frightened. However they are both fearful of two very different things. Lady Macbeth seems to be mostly afraid of getting caught."Alack! I am afraid they have awak'd,and 'tis not done; the attempt and not the deedConfounds us. Hark!" (II.ii 10-12)In this quote Lady Macbeth expresses her feelings of dread clearly by saying 'I am afraid'. She is afraid the guards may have woken up, resulting in their being caught 'red-handed' and ruined; this thought is the deepest of her concerns.Although Macbeth expresses similar fears, his panic is triggered by very different motives.While Macbeth may fear getting caught, what alarms him more is the actual sin he has committed. After Lady Macbeth tells him to return to the murder scene he emphatically states that he cannot because he is afraid of what he did."I'll go no more:I am afraid to think what I have done;Look on't again I dare not. (II. ii 51-52)Later on Macbeth asks himself if the greatest...

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