The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous
tragedies of all time. Macbeth’s murder of Duncan starts his decent into
tyranny. Even though Macbeth killed Duncan, Lady Macbeth is the one
responsible for Duncan’s murder. The way she manipulated Macbeth shows
that she is truly evil. The idea of murdering Duncan was hers; Macbeth
would not have even thought of killing Duncan on his own. Lady Macbeth was
willing to do anything to make sure Duncan was killed, while Macbeth would
not want to do something dishonourable. Many times Macbeth was reluctant to
proceed with the murder, but Lady Macbeth drove him to committing the
sinful act by mocking him and taking advantage of his love for her. For
all these reasons, Lady Macbeth is a more evil character than Macbeth and
is more responsible for the murder of Duncan.

Although Macbeth was first to hear the prophecy from the three
witches that said he “shalt be king hereafter” (I, iii, ln 53), Lady
Macbeth came up with the idea to murder Duncan. Macbeth’s honourable
nature can be seen through Lady Macbeth’s thought of him:
“I do fear thy nature; / It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness / To
catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great: / Art not without ambition,
but without / The illness that should attend it” (I, v, ln 15).

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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) to
satisfy his “deep desires” (I, iv, ln 58) to be king, so when she hears
that Duncan is coming to their castle for the night, she says “He that’s
coming / Must be provided for” (I, v ln 73) meaning that she will make
preparations to murder Duncan. Only after Lady Macbeth talks to Macbeth
does he ponder about the murder: “If the murder were done, when ’tis
done, then ’twere well / If were done quickly” (I, vii, ln 1). Macbeth did
not think about taking action to make himself king until Lady Macbeth
placed the idea of murdering him in his mind. She makes a murder scheme
independently: “you (Macbeth) shall put / This night’s great business into
my dispatch” (I, v, ln 74) which is why Lady Macbeth is more responsible
for Duncan’s murder and is more evil than Macbeth.

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

Macbeth has struggles with his conscience before the murder of Duncan
and is reluctant to proceed, but Lady Macbeth manipulates him into
following through with the murder. Macbeth contemplates whether or not he
should 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 bear
the knife myself” (I, vii, ln 13)
meaning that he should protect Duncan, not harm him. He says to Lady
Macbeth that he “will proceed no further in this business” and she mocks
him; telling him that if he does not seize the crown, he will “live like a
coward in thine own esteem” (I, vii, ln 46) even though Macbeth was praised
as “brave” (I, ii, ln 18) on the battlefield. Lady Macbeth then attacks
Macbeth’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 the
plan. The way Lady Macbeth uses her manipulation to force Macbeth to carry
out murder makes her more evil than her husband and more responsible for
King Duncan’s murder.

Lady Macbeth is more evil than Macbeth and more responsible for
Duncan’s murder. She was the driving force behind everything that Macbeth
did pertaining to the murder of King Duncan. Without Lady Macbeth to spur
him on, Macbeth would not have acted, and therefore not have killed Duncan.



Macbeth Essay
ENG 3U1