Show how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have to go against their own natures in order
to kill Duncan. Each character in Macbeth has to either fight or give in to the
evil. Because evil is contrary to human nature, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have to
go against their own conscience in order to murder Duncan. When the witches
predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and later, King of Scotland, he
is stunned to silence by their prophecies. When murder enters Macbeths mind he
is frightened by his thoughts. He tries to reject his impulse, declaring that he
will leave everything to chance: " If chance will have me King, why, chance
may crown me Without my stir." Very soon he begins to confess a
‘suggestion’ of ‘horrible imaginings’. Soon after, he admits to
possessing ‘black and deep desires’ but he is afraid to speak about them
openly, even to himself. Later on he indites a letter to Lady Macbeth containing
conjecture about the prophecies of the three witches. She immediately wants to
take fate into her own hands. She begs the evil spirits to tear all human
feelings from her, for she knows that she will have to urge her husband, Macbeth,
to become King by murdering Duncan. She will have to give up all the gentle,
tender qualities of a woman, so that she can become a sexless, pitiless demon.

She has to make her husband ignore his own conscience. She declares: " Thou
wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should
attend it." By ‘illness’ she means ‘evil’. Macbeth seizes evil, as one
might catch a disease. When Macbeth has the opportunity to think about his
wife’s suggestions and about his desires to become King, he becomes aware of
the duty that he owes to Duncan, his loyal King. Following a great battle with
himself, Macbeth decides not to go through with the murder. He states to Lady

Macbeth: " We will proceed no further in this business." Macbeth is not
prepared for all her wrath and abuse. She calls him a coward. When in reality it
is not cowardice that restrains Macbeth, it is his conscience. She also insults
his masculinity, and declares that she would have murdered her child while it
was feeding at her breast, rather than break such a promise as Macbeth had done.

Persuaded by her conviction, he yields to her, and in order to prove himself a
man in her eyes, goes against his own nature and agrees to the murder of King

Duncan.. The night of the murder Macbeth is very troubled; he is living a
nightmare. Lady Macbeth is as tense as he husband, and she has been drinking to
give herself courage. As Macbeth walks to Duncan’s chambers, his imagination
creates a dagger floating in the air. At first he is alarmed by the dagger,
later he seems to enjoy the horror of the moment. After the murder of Duncan,

Macbeth is horrified to think of what he has done. Lady Macbeth, on the other
hand, is bold and confident, because she does not understand that the deed is
morally wrong; her only concern at the time is to destroy the evidence. Macbeth
awakens to a consciousness of guilt that will remain with him until his death.

Trace the effect the betrayal of human nature has on each of them. Following the
murder of Duncan the Macbeths appear to have achieved their hearts desire; in
reality, they only gain torment and dismay. When Macbeth takes the crown by
murder he upsets the natural order of his life. He becomes a cruel and unjust
ruler and is always conscious of guilt. Macbeth brings chaos to Scotland,
breaking up the balance of a well-ordered country, just as he breaks up the
state banquet ‘with most admir’d disorder’, claiming to have seen the

Ghost of Banquo. Soon after the murder of Banquo, Macbeth begins to grasp an
unreality about his life, but that does not seem to change his conduct.

Macbeth’s cruelty in action is shown when Lady Macduff and her son are
brutally slaughtered. When he planned to kill Banquo’s son, Fleance, he could
acquit the murder to himself by referring to the prophecy that Banquo’s
children should be kings. But he is in no danger from Lady Macduff or her son;
the crime is more loathsome because it is motiveless. At the beginning of the
play Lady Macbeth prayed that she should know ‘no compunctious visitings of
nature’ that might prevent her from murdering Duncan. Now she walks in her
sleep, and her