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Lady Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essay

963 words - 4 pages

Betrayal can be caused by trivial matters or simply because of someone feeling inferior to someone else. In betraying someone, a person may abandon his or her values which they thought could never falter. A play that involves acts of betrayal is Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The role of betrayal in the story becomes a repeated event, but portrays itself in multiple ways. Through his use of soliloquies, Shakespeare portrays that through influence, one can betray values, others, and themselves.
Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act One Scene Seven marks a pivotal part in Act 1 because he struggles to uphold his values and develops awareness that the only reasoning to kill Duncan sprouts from his simple aspiration to do so. In the first segment of the soliloquy, Macbeth reflects on gaining the throne by killing Duncan, but also establishes his relationship with Duncan as “his kinsman and his subject”(I.vii.13). This acknowledgment leads Macbeth to the conclusion that by attempting to steal the throne from Duncan can result in “even-handed justice” (I.vii.10); in other words, someone could backlash and attempt to plot the same scheme against him. Betrayal could not be escaped no matter how Macbeth perceived the situation. He notices his “spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition” (I.vii.25-28). Duncan had been “so clear in his great office” (I.vii.18) and upheld virtues that a king would be expected to acquire. The soliloquy terminates with a mood of uncertainty because he still did not reach a conclusion of whether or not to murder Duncan. Macbeth recognizes the results of betraying Duncan, and knows that his reason to kill Duncan does not justify doing so, and would be caused solely by a personal craving to betray.
Lady Macbeth’s soliloquies in Act One Scene Five state her belief that Macbeth does not have enough strength to betray someone. In the beginning of the act she reads the letter Macbeth wrote to her, describing how “these weird sisters” (I.v.5) told him he would soon be king after being dubbed the Thane of Cawdor. When Lady Macbeth states “yet I do fear thy nature. It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” (I.v.11-12), she refers to Macbeth’s human nature. As she formulates a plan to kill the king, she worries that her husband’s character contains qualities of a woman, or qualities that do not resemble strength to carry through with such a daring act of betrayal. This opinion of Lady Macbeth demonstrates a possibility of her taunting Macbeth and persuading him to follow through with killing Duncan to seize the throne. Later in the act, she wishes to be filled “from the crown to the toe, topfull of direst cruelty!” (I.v.37-38). Lady Macbeth‘s willingness to do anything for her husband to obtain the throne and be titled King exemplifies itself through these words. Betraying someone became irrelevant because she would do anything to acquire what she desired, and expressed certainty in her decision. On the other hand,...

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