Essay by Kaz_RSAHigh School, 11th gradeB+, March 2003

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."In the early part of the play we see Macbeth as hesitant, agonised, fearful and conscience stricken; we see his wife as decisive, ruthless, and unscrupulous. As the play progresses there is a fine irony in the gradual reversal of their positions"

In the beginning of Macbeth, Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as an uncertain, scared man who is plagued by his conscience and morals. Lady Macbeth, however, is seen in a very different light; she is ruthless and lacks an active conscience and moral fibre. As the play progresses they switch roles. Lady Macbeth is plagued by her attitude at the beginning of the play as well as having adopted Macbeth's character traits from the beginning of the play. Macbeth too changes, he becomes ruthless and unemotional like Lady Macbeth was at the beginning of the play. This is very ironic in that they have both become what the other was and what they feared to be and criticised in each other.

In act one Macbeth is portrayed as a good, noble and valiant warrior. He meets the witches in this act and is seen to be a good person because he appears to disregard what the evil witches say. 'Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?' (Banquo to Macbeth. Act I, Sc iii). This quote illustrates how Macbeth appears to be startled by the evil witches when it's actually that he just scares himself with his evil thoughts. Macbeth is at conflict with himself over whether he really wants to kill King Duncan or not. In contrast to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is ruthless and unscrupulous in this act. She convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan by questioning his manhood. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth uses very unnatural language and images in this act...