Macbeth And Lady Macbeth Before And After

Murder Essay, Research Paper C.S. Lewis’ statement: “You can get your heart’s desire, and get despair instead” is evident in both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth for the following reasons. Macbeth believed the

Murder Essay, Research Paper

C.S. Lewis’ statement: “You can get your heart’s desire, and get despair instead” is

evident in both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth for the following reasons. Macbeth believed the

prophecies that stated that he would become king. Thus, he killed Duncan believing that was

the way to fulfill it. From then on, his ways were changed for the worse, being possibly the

worse king in Scotland’s history in Macduff’s eyes for example, believing that he must kill to

continue his reign as king. Lady Macbeth wished that Macbeth would become king with all her

heart. Going on a power trip right before they murder King Duncan. She then becomes bored as

queen, she thought there would be more to it, but is disappointed and wishes otherwise, this

occurs almost right before she begins to go insane.

In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a strong soldier who fights for the King without

mercy but his strive for ambition and his curious nature leads him to the witches who give him a

prophecy. Banquo realizes that there must be a trick hidden in the witches’ prophecies

somewhere but Macbeth refuses to accept that, and when Lady Macbeth finds out about the

witches her strong desire for ambition and her cold nature leads Macbeth astray. Macbeth is a

little ambitious at first, but Lady Macbeth’s far exceeds his and so she is able to get Macbeth to

agree with her to kill King Duncan. Macbeth still has a conscience at this stage because he is

very hesitant about killing the King but his weak nature overcomes him. He has a conscience

throughout the entire play as this is seen by the hallucinations of the dagger and the ghost of

Banquo and his vivid imagination and his constant worry also provokes him. This is also evident

in his terrible dreams which give the solid theme that he has indeed “murdered sleep.”

Throughout the play we see the character of Macbeth change not from just the way he thinks and

what we hear from the play, but from the actions he takes in the play, from killing Banquo, then

having Lady Macduff and her children murdered, shows the insecurity that was present in

Macbeth. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth becomes paranoid and his first step of killing

the guards is one of many that Macbeth takes to secure himself. Macbeth is also very

superstitious and this is shown when he believes the prophecy the witches told him that

Banquo’s offspring would become Kings. When Macbeth hires the murderers to kill Banquo and

his child that ride with him, he. Macbeth’s statement, “Tis better without than he within…” (III,

iii, 14), means that Banquo’s blood is better on the murderer than in Banquo, showing that

Macbeth is, in truth, happy that Banquo has been killed. The killing of Banquo by Macbeth

shows extreme selfishness; he cannot bear to see even his best friend’s sons succeed him on the

throne. However, a more important reason that Macbeth kills Banquo is because of Banquo’s

suspicion of him, and what Banquo will do to him once he finds out for sure that Macbeth has

committed the murder of Duncan. One can see that Macbeth becomes extremely harsh if he

wants his way. He will go to horrid extremes just so that he does not have to live his kingship in

fear, but instead “…to be safely thus.” (III, i, 49).

Lady Macbeth seems to be almost opposite compared to that of Macbeth in physical and

mental power. Lady Macbeth is the person who is able to persuade Macbeth into killing Duncan,

assuring Macbeth that it will succeed, as Lady Macbeth’s ambition is far greater than that of

Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is then able to exclaim in horror “What! In our House!” to the murder

of Duncan but whilst in complete control, to draw away the suspicion from Macbeth. When

however she finds out that Macbeth has killed the guards she faints, “Help me hence” she says,

but is this another sign of an act to again draw away the suspicion from Macbeth or did she faint

from shocked dismay. I believe she was shocked because I think that Lady Macbeth was

surprised that she was able to get Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan, but was shocked at

how over one night and in fear, Macbeth could kill two more men in cold blood. This change in

the character of Lady Macbeth is apparent after she reads the letter from Macbeth as she goes

and talks to the evil spirits to make herself evil with lines such as “Fill me from the crown to the

toe-top full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood.” She goes to the extent of planning the

murder of Duncan and assumes full responsibility of this. She exerts a lot of power over

Macbeth in this part of the play and even calls him a “coward” and this shows just how

determined she is and how much ambition she has for her husband. It is this confidence in

herself plus the persuasiveness on her words that makes Macbeth acts on her words without


Macbeth can be summarized into, although strong physically he is very weak mentally

and it is this weakness which causes the downfall and change of Macbeth. Other factors do

however also contribute to this change such as his wife whose ambition is very strong at first and

is much stronger mentally than Macbeth but it is also Macbeth’s ambition and his trust in the

witches which ultimately change him. The belief that the witches were true ultimately leads to

Macbeth’s downfall, due to his misinterpretations.