Character Compare and Contrast: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Play

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Published: Dec 18, 2018

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Words: 459|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 18, 2018

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In the play Macbeth, ambition, strength, and insanity play major roles in how the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth behave and react. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth present all three of these behaviors at one time or another during the play. However, there behaviors progress in very different ways. While Macbeth gets stronger and more ambitious, Lady Macbeth does the opposite. She starts out strong and ambitious but becomes weaker and more reserved.

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In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is cautious and somewhat suspicious of the witches. He only starts to really think of the idea that they might be telling him the truth when they hail him as the thane of Cawdor, which shortly after, he receives word he has been named. When the witches tell him he will be king he is surprised but doesn’t seriously consider killing Duncan until Lady Macbeth talks to him about it. Lady Macbeth on the other hand is strong and very ambitious towards the beginning of the play. From the start she has control over Macbeth. When she read the letter about the prophecies and how Macbeth is coming home soon, she immediately starts planning to kill the king, Duncan. She is satisfied with Macbeth’s newly acquired title of throne of Cawdor. This shows how she has a lot of ambition in the beginning. The fact that she can so easily convince Macbeth that he needs to kill Duncan proves that she is the stronger of the two in the early acts.

Even in the middle of the play Macbeth is the weaker of the two characters. When they plan to kill king Duncan, at First Macbeth tries to back out from getting in trouble, however lady Macbeth once again easily convinced him into the plan, killing Duncan, she is still the stronger character. He dreads the dead so much that he have hallucinations and sees the dagger floating in front of him. Instantly starts to show up around this part of the play in the form of Macbeth’s hallucination. It takes a lot of time and courage from lady Macbeth, in order for Macbeth to be able to get her up enough courage to kill king Duncan, this also shows that he still really weak and looking for ambition. Although lady Macbeth is still stronger and mor ambitious then Macbeth the killing of king Duncan is the point where the gap starts to narrow down. She calls Macbeth a coward when he tries to back out of the plan and tries to run away from murdering the king. She also shows a lot of strength when Macbeth returns from killing king Duncan. All this shows that lady Macbeth is a stronger character than Macbeth.

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William Shakespeare’s play captures the harming physical and psychological impacts of political ambitions on those who look for control for the good of its own. As a unit Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seek power; however, Lady Macbeth is more ambitious than Macbeth and is determined to become queen. With the desire to become the queen she begins to become ruthless in her plan to receive this title. She uses her influence to persuade Macbeth to abide by the plan with her also taking part in the crime.

Hook Examples for “Macbeth” Compare and Contrast Essay

  • Shakespearean Dichotomy: In the tumultuous world of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” ambition, strength, and insanity weave a complex tapestry of character evolution. Step into the dark corridors of power as we dissect how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s journeys diverge and converge in their relentless pursuit of dominance.
  • The Ebb and Flow of Ambition: Within the confines of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, ambition reigns supreme, but its impact takes divergent paths for our protagonists. Join me as we explore how Macbeth’s ambition surges while Lady Macbeth’s once-unyielding drive wanes, painting a vivid portrait of their shifting destinies.
  • Ambition’s Twisted Dance: In the dance of power, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth take on distinct roles. While Macbeth grapples with newfound ambition, Lady Macbeth’s strength appears unshakable. However, as their ambitions spiral into insanity, the dynamics between them undergo a profound transformation. Come, unravel the complexities of their characters with me.
  • Unmasking the Ambitious Pair: As ambition propels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into a web of deceit and murder, their characters diverge in startling ways. We’ll dissect their contrasting trajectories and uncover the psychological toll that ambition exacts on their souls in Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy.
  • Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s Ambitious Descent: Enter the world of political intrigue and power struggles as we compare and contrast the evolution of ambition in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. From initial desires to their final tragic fates, the journey of these two characters is a testament to the complex interplay of ambition, strength, and madness.

Works Cited

  1. Dickens, C. (1861). Great Expectations. Chapman and Hall.
  2. Fleishman, A. (1970). The Function of Plot in Great Expectations. Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 24(1), 55-68.
  3. Hynes, S. (1989). Dickens and the Romantic Imagination. Journal of British Studies, 28(2), 183-207.
  4. Johnson, E. (2010). Dickens’s Great Expectations. Continuum.
  5. Leavis, F. R. (1970). Miss Havisham and the Purpose of Time: A Reading of Great Expectations. Essays and Explorations. Chatto and Windus.
  6. Miner, E. (1973). Fire and Light Imagery in Great Expectations. Victorian Newsletter, 44, 27-30.
  7. Nathanson, L. A. (2015). Evil Women: A Study of Great Expectations and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 11(1).
  8. Schlicke, P. (1989). Dickens and Popular Entertainment. Unwin Hyman.
  9. Smith, J. P. (1973). The Ending of Great Expectations: A Revaluation. The Dickensian, 69(3), 129-141.
  10. Stone, H. (1972). “The Dangers of Fire”: Great Expectations Reconsidered. ELH, 39(2), 221-239.
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Character Compare and Contrast: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Play. (2021, October 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Character Compare and Contrast: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Play.” GradesFixer, 06 Oct. 2021,
Character Compare and Contrast: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Play. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Character Compare and Contrast: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Play [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 06 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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