Analysis of Characters in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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The most famous tragedies of all time. Macbeth’s murder of Duncan starts his decent intotyranny. Even though Macbeth killed Duncan, Lady Macbeth is the oneresponsible for Duncan’s murder. The way she manipulated Macbeth showsthat she is truly evil. The idea of murdering Duncan was hers; Macbethwould not have even thought of killing Duncan on his own. Lady Macbeth waswilling to do anything to make sure Duncan was killed, while Macbeth wouldnot want to do something dishonourable. Many times Macbeth was reluctant toproceed with the murder, but Lady Macbeth drove him to committing thesinful act by mocking him and taking advantage of his love for her. Forall these reasons, Lady Macbeth is a more evil character than Macbeth andis more responsible for the murder of Duncan.

This description says that Macbeth is too kind to plot against Duncan. Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth “wouldst not play false” (I, v, ln 20) tosatisfy his “deep desires” (I, iv, ln 58) to be king, so when she hearsthat Duncan is coming to their castle for the night, she says “He that’scoming / Must be provided for”  meaning that she will makepreparations to murder Duncan. Only after Lady Macbeth talks to Macbethdoes he ponder about the murder: “If the murder were done, when ’tisdone, then ’twere well / If were done quickly” (I, vii, ln 1). Macbeth didnot think about taking action to make himself king until Lady Macbethplaced the idea of murdering him in his mind. She makes a murder schemeindependently: “you (Macbeth) shall put / This night’s great business intomy dispatch” which is why Lady Macbeth is more responsiblefor Duncan’s murder and is more evil than Macbeth.

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Lady Macbeth is the dominant character in her relationship withMacbeth. She is stronger mentally, and has more ambition than him. Whenshe hears that Duncan is staying at her castle, she calls the spirits to”unsex her here … fill of direst cruelty!… Make thickher blood, / Stop up the access and passage to remorse” (I, v, ln 44)which shows how focused she is on murdering Duncan. However Macbeth isunwilling to take action to make himself king: “If chance will have meking, why, chance / may crown me / Without my stir.” (I, iii, ln 154).Hesays that he has “no spur / To prick the sides of my intent” (I, vii, ln25) meaning that he has no reason to commit the murder. If it were not forLady Macbeth’s ambition, Macbeth would not have murdered Duncan. LadyMacbeth’s vaulting ambition, ruthlessness and intent to murder Duncan makesher a more evil character than Macbeth and more responsible for the murderof Duncan.

Macbeth has struggles with his conscience before the murder of Duncanand is reluctant to proceed, but Lady Macbeth manipulates him intofollowing through with the murder. Macbeth contemplates whether or not heshould kill Duncan and concludes that”As I am his Kinsman and his subject, / Strong both against the deed: then,as his host, / Who should against his murderers shut the door, / Not bearthe knife myself” (I, vii, ln 13)meaning that he should protect Duncan, not harm him. He says to LadyMacbeth that he “will proceed no further in this business” and she mockshim; telling him that if he does not seize the crown, he will “live like acoward in thine own esteem” (I, vii, ln 46) even though Macbeth was praisedas “brave” (I, ii, ln 18) on the battlefield. Lady Macbeth then attacksMacbeth’s manhood by saying.

“When you durst do it, then you were a man; /And, to be more than what you were you would / Be so much more the man” (I,vii, ln 54). Macbeth does not want to appear cowardly in front of his”dearest partner of greatness” (I, v, ln 10), so he continues with theplan. The way Lady Macbeth uses her manipulation to force Macbeth to carryout murder makes her more evil than her husband and more responsible forKing Duncan’s murder. Lady Macbeth is more evil than Macbeth and more responsible forDuncan’s murder. She was the driving force behind everything that Macbethdid pertaining to the murder of King Duncan. Without Lady Macbeth to spurhim on, Macbeth would not have acted, and therefore not have killed Duncan.


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Analysis of Characters in Macbeth by William Shakespeare. (2018, Dec 13). Retrieved from

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