Role reversal

Essay by TooT January 2008

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In the play "Macbeth" written by William Shakespeare several evidences of role reversal between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth is the driving force of Macbeth's ambition as well as his path to cruelty. Later in the play, Lady Macbeth can not handle the murders and tyranny and her character starts to break down, while Macbeth further deteriorates while providing the energy for his own unchecked ambition. Finally, near the end of the play, Lady Macbeth completely loses herself and suicides, while Macbeth is at the apex of his tyranny while sacrificing the last bit of his ability to reason. In short, due to many reasons and events throughout the play, the characteristics of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth changes places at the end in respect to the beginning.

Firstly, in the beginning of the Shakespearian Drama, Macbeth was still a loyal and noble kin to King Duncan. While Macbeth has ambition, he does not have the courage to allow himself to commit cosmic crime (such as killing Duncan). For instance, Macbeth said, "If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature? Present fears are less than horrible imaginings: my thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man that function is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is but what is not," (Act I, Scene III). This clearly proves that at this point in the play, Macbeth is horrified of himself for even thinking about killing the king in order for the third prophecy to come true. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth, going against the nature of a woman, spurs and taunts Macbeth in order for him to kill...