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Show how the characters of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change after the murder of Duncan

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Show how the characters of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change after the murder of Duncan Throughout the preliminary scenes of the tragedy the character of Macbeth is portrayed as a brave and noble soldier. He does not seem the kind of man who could come up with the ludicrous notion of committing such a horrifying act as murder. However we soon witness "brave Macbeth" rapidly propelled into the obscure world of darkness and evil. Overwhelming confirmation that Macbeth has succumbed to the witches' prophecies arrives when Macbeth reveals "the greatest is behind". We also witness the transformation from a brave and admired gentleman to a traitorous villain. His downfall is caused by his strong and powerful "vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself" to succeed in becoming king and his wife, Lady Macbeth's, incessant goading. Macbeth's personal obsession over the kingship eventually shows a certain kind of egotism. Ultimately Macbeth, the man once looked upon by king Duncan as a "valiant cousin and worthy gentleman", and Lady Macbeth, are, in the concluding paragraphs of the play, described as a "dead butcher and his fiend-like queen". Preceding the unlawful death of the king, Macbeth stated understandable uncertainties about committing such a crime, which indicates he has a sensible mind and conscience and is not lacking in morals. On the night on which Macbeth is supposed to be perpetrating the "bloody business" he is still expressing strong doubts. ...read more.


He becomes obsessed by his fears and professes to his wife "o, full of scorpions is my mind." Later Macbeth ironically states "There's nothing serious in mortality: all is but toys: renown and grace is dead, the wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees is left this vault to brag of." demonstrating, where appearance is he is lying, he truly feels there is now no reason for him to live. Proof of the continual guilt, anguish and remorse that Macbeth is feeling is expressed when he pronounces to Lady Macbeth that "Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep in the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly." Macbeth is afraid that any future son of Banquo may become King eliminating any chance of himself becoming King and that his "genius is being rebuked". Secretly Macbeth orders two murderers to slaughter his faithful friend Banquo. He keeps the truth from his wife telling her only that she must continue to be "innocent of the knowledge" exemplifying a considerable change of character from the man who once needed a great deal of goading to perpetrate such an act as murder. Subsequently Macbeth's character change is displayed further in the banquet scene where he seems to be becoming progressively disturbed and deranged. He experiences a hallucination, certain that he can see " the ghost of Banquo". ...read more.


Lady Macbeth, like her husband, also finds sleeping difficult and is "troubled with thick-coming fantasies, that keep her from the rest". When the murder had initially been committed she dismissively declared that "a little water clears us of this deed" but later questions "will these hands ne'er be clean?" revealing the extent of her remorse. These thoughts later result in Lady Macbeth becoming ill. When Macbeth enquires about her to the doctor treating her he refers to her only as "your patient" displaying how Lady Macbeth has deteriorated so much that he wishes to distance himself even further from his wife. Her behaviour goes downhill from there on and concludes in her committing suicide. In general both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have, by the end of the play, altered so much that you would hardly recognise them as the two characters that we perceived at the beginning of the tragedy. Macbeth appeared as a brave soldier who we witnessed turn into pure evil personified. Lady Macbeth began the play as a dominant, strong and independent woman and concludes the play as a pathetic, fragile creature. Both characters received the titles of a "dead butcher and his fiend like queen". As a reader we cannot help but feel some compassion towards both central protagonists, however, it seems that both characters deserved their fate as we observe what happens when you choose the wrong path and descend into the world of darkness. Sarah Senouci 7th January 2000 1 ...read more.

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