Comparing and Contrasting Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are depicted very differently and simply wanting kingship are among the few similarities. It is also interesting how the differences between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are caused by other differences in their traits, starting chain reactions of contrariety.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both posses greedy and ambitious attributes. So far we have learned that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are very ambitious to gain kingship. At the end of Act I, Lady Macbeth uses her conniving manipulation skills, and then as a last resort uses her seductive manipulation skills to persuade Macbeth to follow through with the plan to kill the king. This proves that she is greedy because she will do anything in her power to get something she wants regardless of other people. Macbeth is ambitious in a different way.
It is well known that simply wanting something is not enough to actually get it. One must have desire and ambition and must work towards obtaining a certain goal. Macbeth has the desire to become the king but lacks the motivation to work for it. In this case the work he must perform is killing the king. Lady Macbeth has the desire to gain kingship through Macbeth and has motivation to kill the king. She constructed the entire plan to kill the king because she knew that Macbeth would not. In scene three and at the end of Act I, the reader learns why Macbeth posesses reluctance to kill the king.
Macbeth has a very strong conscience which is evident in act I, scene three beginning at line 133. Macbeth says, ?I Am Thane of Cawdor: If good, why do I yield to that [thought of killing Duncan] whose Horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature?? Macbeth is explaining that the thought of killing Duncan makes him very nervous and frightened. In scene seven of act I, Macbeth admits to Lady Macbeth that he doesn?t want to kill Duncan because Duncan was so nice to Macbeth. For example Duncan gave Macbeth the Thane of Cawdor?s title. He felt a moral obligation to be nice to the king. Lady Macbeth didn?t want to hear any of this and accused Macbeth of not being a man. She didn?t care about who she would hurt (emotionally or physically) to acquire kingship. She saw nothing wrong with killing the king.
The differences are obvious throughout the play. The reader can only hope that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?s differences will complement one another, and that they will find more productive means to gain kingship.