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At the end of the play Malcom refers to Macbeth and his wife as "..this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.." (V, 9, 36). Do you think Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are equally villainous? Explain you thoughts in detail.

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Introduction

Jacob Goering 10C At the end of the play Malcom refers to Macbeth and his wife as "..this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.." (V, 9, 36). Do you think Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are equally villainous? Explain you thoughts in detail. In William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, there is no doubt that the "dead butcher and his fiend like queen" (V, 9, 36) are both villainous; however they are villainous to varying degrees. We are first exposed to both of their villainy when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth hear of the witch's predictions, and their reaction is to murder Duncan. Even though Macbeth is initially portrayed as being courageous and honorable, he eventually becomes more villainous than Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth appears very villainous to begin with, because she encourages and provokes her husband to murder King Duncan. However she has nothing to do with the murders that Macbeth commits later on in the play: Macduff's family, Banquo, and young Seaward. Upon hearing the three witch's foretellings, "All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter."(I, 3, 47) Macbeth begins to contemplate the possibility of becoming king, and even thinks about the possibility of murdering Duncan. ...read more.

Middle

Whether he failed to convince himself or to convince his Lady is irrelevant; he still went through with the murder causing himself to be the more villainous. She seems to be the better criminal; she remembers the details that Macbeth has overlooked, "Why did you bring these daggers from the place?" (II, 2, 51) and she takes the daggers back. Even before that early point in the play, Lady Macbeth has already demonstrated that she is two-faced, and very good at deception. When Duncan first arrives at the castle, Lady Macbeth acts as a welcome hostess, in reality while she is greeting the king she is thinking about how best to murder him. Not only does Lady Macbeth push her husband to do things he does not want to do, she also informs him that his face is too easy to read, and that he needs to hide the murders. Of course, she does not want her husband or herself to get caught, so she gives him advice in the area of deceptiveness. When she tells him to "look like th' innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't" (I, 5, 76), Lady Macbeth is not just doing this so that Macbeth will not give himself away, but so that he will not give her away. ...read more.

Conclusion

This revealed when Macbeth says, "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir". His ambition to be king dissolved his good nature and morality. When Duncan arrived at Macbeth's castle and estate, Macbeth controlled his ambition for the time being and thought very firmly on the plotting of Duncan's murder. When Lady Macbeth said "My hands are of your color; but I shame to wear a heart so white" she was calling him a coward, and not long after Duncan was dead. After the successful murder of Duncan, Macbeth entered a life of villainy. Ambition was also a clear motive to the murder of his friend Banquo. The witches' predictions sent Macbeth into his own world where he could not be stopped on his way to becoming king. The brave hero from in Act I has metamorphosised in to someone or something that is completely villainous. Although Lady Macbeth at times in the play provided the spark that caused Macbeth to commit murder, and although she may be villainous, Macbeth is ultimately far more villainous. He will do anything and will stop at nothing to preserve the crown in his head and is entirely driven by his greed and ambition. Macbeth's rise and fall from power in the play, Macbeth relates very closely to the quotation, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." ...read more.

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