(Macbeth I, v, 26) Lady Macbeth made Macbeth feel bad about himself, by lowering his manhood and bravery. Lady Macbeth deceives everyone so well that people were scared to tell her about Duncan’s death, not thinking she can handle it. “Look like an innocent flower /but be the serpent under it” (Macbeth I, IV, 65-66) this means to look innocent and pure but to be evil on the inside. At first Lady Macbeth is able to keep her cool and not think anything of the deed. Macbeth on the other hand cannot sleep and starts to see things.
In the opening of the play, a loyal Macbeth is approached by three witches who entice him with their claim that “[he] shalt be king thereafter.” (1-3-50). This information stimulates his hidden thirst for power and willingness to keep the throne for himself. He plots to murder the king and takes the liberty of killing Banquo, and anyone else who poses a threat to his reign to aid his own insecurity. Macbeth begins to lose trust in those around him and becomes unstable. Shakespeare shows through Duncan, who carries a legitimate power, that only direct threats to the kingdom are punished accordingly.
One of the main messages he is trying to deliver to us is to always weigh what you achieve to what the consequences will be. This especially holds true for Macbeth, as when first contemplating if he should kill Duncan, not once did he think of how he could be punished. Also, when Macbeth first hears the witch’s prophecy of him being a king, he jumps directly to the idea of murder. This kind of thinking is exhibited in Macbeth’s monologue in scene 5 act 5, where he discus’s the uselessness of living, and this attitude towards life made him go mad. This also points to how unintelligent Macbeth really was.
Even when Macbeth does have second thoughts, Lady Macbeth is there, insulting his manhood and shaming him into action. She actually does much of the plotting and planning herself. Each time that Macbeth was ready to abandon his evil course, she convinced him to be the serpent under the innocent flower and remain steadfast on his path to power. Even though the witches and Lady Macbeth certainly did play an integral part in Macbeth's downfall, the choice was ultimately his. He could have ignored the hags' prophecies, like
The want to shed all her feminine qualities to gain power at any cost showed her disregard for human life. Lady Macbeth even told her husband “To beguile the time,/ Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,/ Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent/ flower,/ But be the serpent under ’t.” (1.5.74-77) A metaphor is used to extend her advice to Macbeth. She told him to look as innocent as a flower, but to have the intentions and slyness of a snake.
Macbeth quotes, “will it not be received/ When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two/ Of his own chamber and used their very daggers/ That they have done’t? (1.7.75-79), stating that blood is beginning to literally represent guilt, rather then symbolically. By killing Duncan with the guard’s weapons and then smearing blood all over them, Macbeth is framing them, making them guilty by using Duncan’s blood. This quote also depicts Macbeth’s transition from a morally correct ruler to a corrupt and vicious murderer. Before hearing the witch’s prophecy, he was a virtuous and ethical person, but after hearing that he is destined for kingship, he goes on a murderous rampage to gain political power, completely disregarding his previous decency.
Nevertheless one murder didn't comfort him, he thinks he needs to secure his position. So he goes off and hires hit men to kill who he thinks is his enemy, the one who can take his power, Banqo. Soon enough he finds himself ordering the slaughter of a traitors family, which is when remorse never enters his thoughts. Macbeth’s greed and ambitions are the sheer motivators of his killings and that is evident throughout the journey of the play. As Shakespeare once wrote , “Fair is foul and foul is fair” (Act I, Sc.I, Line
Lady Macbeth questions the meaning of manhood, as she believes masculinity is measured in committing murder rather than being noble. “When you durst do it, then you were a man;” Lady Macbeth addresses Macbeth in a teasing and convincing tone in order to pressure him to kill King Duncan. Responders may also note irony is used in thi extract to suggest that humans gender stereotype on how one should behave. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man is smother’d in surmise,” The author establishes the mood through personification to link Lady Macbeth to the Witches as she is not disturbed by her dark thoughts. Lady Macbeth’s corrupting power has connotations to the story of Adam and Eve as Eve takes the temptation and gives it to
Lady Macbeth doubts Macbeth’s ambition which ultimately leads her to manipulate him into assassinating King Duncan. She exclaims her doubt in Macbeth’s ambition due to his morals in saying they “. . . are too full of the milk of human kindness/ To catch the nearest way.” [1.5.13] Her masculinity overshadows Macbeth’s when she asserts her power without contemplation and plans King Duncan’s murder.
In part of the play, Macbeth even admits to his ambition, "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself, and falls on the other." As a result, many decisions were influenced negatively. His choice to kill the king was made too quickly, and had begun the snowballing effect of killing innocent people. After the witches had told Macbeth the four apparitions, he felt as though Banquo needed to be killed, since he was in the way of Macbeths becoming king. Other Characters in the play greatly influenced Macbeth.