“THIS DEAD BUTCHER AND HIS FIEND LIKE QUEEN” are Malcoms final words, a true picture of Macbeth and his wife.


Looking through the scenes of the play and finding the differences in characters I will map the changes of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth .

In the second scene of the play, Macbeth is praised for being loyal, brave and savage in battle by the sergeant and Ross. Here Macbeth’s violence and killings are praised because they have preserved the rightful king. Duncan is grateful to Macbeth and says when the treacherous Thane of Cawdor is captured he will be executed so awards Macbeth the title ‘Thane of Cawdor’. The irony here is that Macbeth, the new Thane will be even more treacherous.
In the next scene, act 1 scene 3, after Macbeth meets the witches, he tells us his thoughts in his first soliloquy. He is already thinking of murder by himself, without the witches giving him this idea. But for the moment he views a murder as only ‘fantastical’, meaning it only exists in his imagination. He asks himself, if the witches predictions were evil, why have two good things they foresaw been true, and if the predictions were good, why is he reacting so violently to himself.
In act 1 scene 4 Duncan says that his eldest son Malcom will succeed him as king. This is unconventional as the Thanes normally elect the king and Macbeth sees this as provocative. To him Malcom is just another obstacle between himself and the throne. Macbeth gives another soliloquy revealing his ‘black and deep desires’, although he calls upon the stars to ‘let not see’ them. Macbeth’s mask of loyalty and honour hides these feelings from Duncan.
By this stage we know that Macbeth’s character is changing, and his inner greed to have more power and be king is overcoming his loyal and brave personality. To show his gratitude to Macbeth, Duncan says he will visit him at his castle. Doing this he gives Macbeth the perfect opportunity to for-fill his ambition.
In act 1 scene 5, when Lady Macbeth finds out from her husbands letter that the king is coming, she sees the opportunity to kill Duncan and make Macbeth king. She knows Macbeth’s ambitions, but says he lacks the ruthlessness, and although Macbeth will take an opportunity, he wants to earn his honours honestly. When Macbeth arrives she tells him he must deceive Duncan and hide his real thoughts, saying people can read his thoughts through his face. She tells him to
‘Look like the innocent flower but be like the serpent under it’.
In act 1 scene 7 Macbeth cannot decide whether to kill Duncan or not. He says that if the murder could be done quickly and without consequence, he must do it quickly. He knows Duncan is his ‘kinsman’ and that Macbeth is his host and subject, and should therefore protect him. He also knows the murder would be wrong and he would end up paying for it. This is a moral problem for Macbeth, who is a decisive man and it makes him hesitate. Macbeth’s conscience persuades him not to kill Duncan because of Duncans kindness and goodness, and Macbeth would be condemned to ‘deep damnation if he kills the king. Macbeth admits that it is only his selfish ambition driving him and worries, as Lady Macbeth did, if his ability to achieve it is as great as it needs to be. When she comes in he tells her he will not murder Duncan. He does not tell her the reasons for not murdering Duncan he admitted earlier, but saying that Duncan had given him ‘new honours’ and he wants to enjoy the ‘golden’ opinion of everyone. He does this because he does not want to admit to Lady Macbeth that he has a conscience and is unhappy about doing wrong or evil, and does not want to be seen as weak. Lady Macbeth gives a strong and powerful speech to him accusing him of being a coward and bringing into question his manhood. She tells him that before she went back on her word, as he did, she would throw her own baby sucking milk at her nipple and
“dash’d the brains out”.
Her forceful use of language conjures up images of horror, and it