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Power is a theme used by Shakespeare throughout the play Macbeth. Power is used by certain characters in the play to influence others. One such character is Lady Macbeth. At the beginning of the play, she is shown to be a strong-willed character. She takes on the role of a dominant female. She has great influence over her husband, who is weaker than she is. It is her influence that convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan. Lady Macbeth is the real power in the couple because she is the dominant partner at the beginning of the play, she persuades Macbeth to achieve his goal of being king, and she plans and organizes the murder of Duncan.
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Macbeth’s character in the play shows us a very strong and fierce character; who has served his time fighting in Wars and being victorious on the Battle Field. He is a nobleman of Scotland and the Thane of Glamis who is soon to become The Thane of Cawdor later on in the play. At the start of the play we see that when the three Witches meet Macbeth for the first time they prophesize to him that he will soon become the Thane of Cawdor. At first Macbeth doesn’t understand how he will become the Thane of Cawdor and questions the Witches however before he gets an answer out of them they have vanished all together. This shows us that Macbeths character wants to know what the future holds for him as a possible Thane Of Cawdor , as he attempted to question the Witches they went , this shows us that Macbeth didn’t fully believe what the witches prophesised. As much as he would like to become The Thane of Cawdor he doesn’t completely believe he could become it in the future.
Lady Macbeth fulfils her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her “our honoured hostess.” She loves to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination for Macbeth to be king. This outcome of the king’s death will benefit her and her husband equally. She immediately comes to the conclusion that “the fastest way” for Macbeth to become king is by murdering King Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s outlook makes her look cold and ambitious, but this is not so she has a goal to kill the King and she will do whatever she can to get to what she wants. Lady Macbeth’s strengths during the play show us that she is very manipulative especially towards Macbeth. This quality helps her get whatever she desires, even if it is killing a king. However strong Macbeth is on the battle field Lady Macbeth has total control over him, she clearly can’t kill the king herself but can make Macbeth do it for her and getting what she wants and keeping her hands clean.
During the play Macbeth has a dilemma. He cannot decide whether he can kill the King. Macbeth has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to kill the king. ‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent’. Shakespeare is showing Macbeth to be a horse rider, the horse he is riding, by itself it would not jump however but when the horse is pushed by the rider it makes the jump. The technique used here is a metaphor. As Macbeth is the horse rider who in the play doesn’t want to kill the king, but when Lady Macbeth pushes him he makes the horse jump, and in turn decides to go ahead and kill the King. If Lady Macbeth hadn’t pushed Macbeth to make the horse jump he wouldn’t have reconsidered killing the king. The relationship to the theme here is that Lady Macbeth, a noble woman has great power over her Warrior of a husband; so much in fact that he wouldn’t dare disobey her!
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Lady Macbeth plays a huge part in persuading Macbeth to kill the King, in him killing the king she would have a large personal gain and it would benefit her greatly. Macbeth has made it clear that he doesn’t want to kill the king however with the power of manipulation on Lady Macbeth’s side she soon has his mind changed. The power she now has after persuading Macbeth to reconsider killing the King shows that she can pretty much make him do whatever she wants. This means she in a sense controls him and can make him do things to benefit her and keep her happy. During the play this could UN earth a side to Lady Macbeth that from the surface nobody would expect.
In conclusion the balance of power between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth has changed dramatically in Act 1. Evidence of this is that before Macbeth’s dilemma Lady Macbeth would have been seen as weak and feeble Noble women with no real power over her husband’s actions. However underneath her soft surface we see a side to Lady Macbeth that you wouldn’t expect from first sight, a side which can manipulate even the fiercest of Scottish Warriors, a side that can persuade a man to kill a King when he has made it very clear his intentions lie else were. Her power has increased massively where you would expect a Noble women to obey every command from her husband , she goes and challenges him on how much of a man he is even though he has proven it many times out on the battle field. She has shown a side to us that she is evil and she will knock everything down to get what she wants. The king dead!
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