Shakespeare's Macbeth - Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's Motivation

Essay by omniromHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2004

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After reading this climactic portion of Shakespeare's enticing play, Macbeth, I am filled with a plethora of different remarks and thoughts about several of the character's inner feelings and ambitions. It is not clear to the reader what the characters are actually expressing or what exactly is driving them, but their feelings can be inferred from the surrounding text and the reader's basic understanding of all human nature.

One of the most interesting aspects about this section of the text was the intriguing death of Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's degeneration is quite brisk, considering the incredible amount of power that she once held at the beginning of the play. As Macbeth's power has grown, Lady Macbeth's has declined at a proportional rate, for their powers are ironically derived solely from the other. For instance, Lady Macbeth started as a remorseless, yet greatly influential character capable of provoking Macbeth to do her own dirty-work, such as the murder of Duncan.

She continues as a remorseless, influential voice capable sweet-talking Duncan and harassing Macbeth to be more masculine. However, soon, her dominance over Macbeth and others begins to fade, as shown by Malcom's suspicion of her killing Duncan at the end of Act II. Furthermore, in the third act, Macbeth leaves her out of his plans to kill Banquo, refusing to tell her what he intends to do. Now in Act V, she has disintegrated into a helpless and superfluous sleepwalker, fearing her own guilt and losing her power over everything, even herself, as shown by her uncontrollable sleepwalking. The immense power which she once possessed has now all transferred to Macbeth, who at the beginning of Act V, fears nothing, even the prodigious army rising up in revolt against him. When she dies offstage, Macbeth simply scoffs that...