The Argument of Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth

Macbeth or Lady Macbeth
Who was more ambitious?
Who was more responsible for killing the king?
What does this reveal about Shakespeare’s view of masculinity?

Post your best argument as a comment and reply to at least one other comment too.

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49 thoughts on “The Argument of Macbeth

  1. Throughout the story of Macbeth, it seems apparent that Lady Macbeth has the most hunger for power up until Macbeth slays King Duncan and puts the blame on two guards laying watch outside of his chambers. Following this, Macbeth orders for the murder of his friend Banquo and his son while Lady Macbeth sits idly by, watching him as he slowly drives himself insane from the guilt of murder. While all Lady Macbeth wanted to do was be the Queen, Macbeth tried his with all of his power to keep that status under his name and was willing to have his friend murdered to do so.
    I believe that the status of the person with the most power hunger changes throughout the story. I believe that Lady Macbeth is more responsible for the murder of King Duncan. If not for her, the murder would have remained a thought and been let go of, but Lady Macbeth kept pulling at the idea for Macbeth to kill King Duncan and become King himself. However, she only did these things for selfish reasons, she wanted to be the Queen, and would push her husband to kill the King to do so.
    Lady Macbeth did seem to be the most power hungry before the murder of King Duncan, but once the King was dead and she sat next to her husband on the royal throne, she had gotten what she wanted and had no desire to continue such heinous acts. Macbeth on the other hand had just begun his fight for power. What the witches had said to Macbeth made him paranoid by the thought that Banquo’s son would kill him and take the throne as his own. Driven by this fear, he hired assassins to kill Banquo and his sons so that they would not be able to take the throne from him. After one of the assassins came to tell the news that Banquo had been slain but his son had escaped them, he had the assassin killed.

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    1. I disagree. Even though Lady Macbeth wants to be in a position of power, she is not the most power hungry, this is obvious when Macbeth is angry that he is not proclaimed prince of cumberland. Macbeth wants the power and title of King when the first prophecy from the witches comes true. The only thing he is doubtful of is the murder, once that is complete he has no problem killing the guards to cover up lose ends and even killing his best friend to stay in power. This is proven even further when his wife commits suicide. Macbeth is not affected by it, as long as he has the crown he is fine.

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    2. i agree that lady macbeth is more responsible for the death of the king but macbeth is the one that actually killed ducan. Macbeth was the one who thought of killing the king in the first place

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    3. I believe that the most ambitious, power hungry person was Macbeth. Macbeth always wanted to be the king of the palace Cawdor. Macbeth grew jealous and angry when he was not announced mayor of the castle; he believed he deserved the title. Macbeth had plotted revenge on Duncan, a retribution that would kill him. He also had a huge impact on his decision, his wife, Lady Macbeth.
      Lady Macbeth was also a very ambitious women, she lusted for power. Earlier in the play she seems more ruthless then the both of them as she urged her husband to kill Duncan. But soon after the death of Duncan she feels guilty for what she has pressured her husband to do to cease the crown, which lead to her suicide.
      Their love was strong and they stayed bonded, I think this had a huge impression on what Macbeth would do. I also think that they were as equally power hungry. While Macbeth completed the action of killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth was pressuring him to murder him. She wanted the crown as much as he did and they would do anything to get it. They were very similar in many aspects and their answers to fixing something was murder and violence.
      In Macbeth there was a lot of warfare and he was willing to kill the king Duncan to feed his hunger for power. While his wife and he wanted to cease the crown, they felt guilty for what they did after they had murdered Duncan. Even as king he felt guilty and now had to live with it.

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  2. Shakespeare has created a lot of story’s and plays which have played a good role in our past but the best one yet that Is new to me would be Macbeth. The person that I believe is more ambitious or power hungry I would have to give it to Lady Macbeth based on a few particular things and facts regarding her. Things which determine the death of certain people and certain things that start happening in certain scenes which greatly impacted certain themes that Shakespeare hoped were big. I also believe that the person who had greater impact on killing the king would have to be Macbeth. Based on a few particular things such as him even listening to Lady Macbeth when she told him to kill King Duncan. Now that he has listened to her he now fells guilt about it. Showing the Shakespeare doesn’t really show biased against women the thing that he is showing is just how typical women can be and by this being so women will practically get anything they want just like the typical nowadays thing. The thing that it shows against men is that they will listen to a girl and suppose ably will do what they want whether or not they want to or not.
    2. The things which the story favors in my argument would have to be like scenes such as in the middle or close to end of Act 1 where Lady Macbeth asks or practically tells Macbeth to do something for her. The thing that he wants him to do is kill King Duncan. It argues in my favor because like the paragraph above it shows that Lady Macbeth is basically responsible for the death of him because she had something to do with it. Another thing which favors in my opinion is that in Act 3 he has killers kill one of his good friends which is Banquote and now after that he sees flashbacks of him which now makes him feel guilty about it.
    3. The thing which the story would Counterclaim my argument would have to be that other people might have a different opinion on my views based on a few other things. Things like They would believe Macbeth is more power hungry and Lady Macbeth would have a greater impact on killing. But that’s just one way to view my argument and counterclaim it. But the really big thing that counterclaims my argument is why would Macbeth hire contract killers to kill his best friend such as what occurred in the film if he was the one with the need to kill then why Hire Contract Killers? It somewhat makes sense in some ways. The movie greatly shows this and sets the tone for certain scenes in certain ways which get the audience to enjoy it.
    4. My personal stance on gender issues today is kind of fairly the same. Ways which determine whether women are equal to men or not. In my Opinion nowadays women have rights which men don’t have. Vise versa with men having rights girl don’t have So I would have to say it is and is not the same as Shakespeare Days. Examples of this would be men and women can vote, Men and women can own guns but there are certain things which women can’t do such as reveal their boobs in public but guys can. This goes to show that there are certain gender issues going on in the world whether we like them or not and they will likely stay like this too.

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  3. Towards the beginning of the play I think Lady Macbeth seems more power hungry. However towards Act 3 Macbeth becomes more aggressive. Macbeth is also the one who is more responsible for the killing of the king, In Act 2 scene 2 Macbeth enters with bloody daggers and he says “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?” Even though Lady Macbeth was the one with the idea and she kept edging on Macbeth to actually kill the King she didn’t because Duncan reminded her of her father.

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  4. Towards the beginning of the play I think Lady Macbeth seems more power hungry. However towards Act 3 Macbeth becomes more aggressive. Macbeth is also the one who is more responsible for the killing of the king. In Act 2 scene 2 Macbeth enters with bloody daggers and he says “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?” Even though Lady Macbeth was the one with the idea and she kept edging on Macbeth to actually kill the King she didn’t because Duncan reminded her of her father.

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  5. I agree with kaylafisher2013 Macbeth was more ambitous because he killed and killed and killed in order to stay on the throne. I think if Macbeth hadn’t been beheaded then who nows where his ambition would lead him.

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  6. Macbeth is an honest man and a Thane. Throughout the story this changes significantly. Some would argue that Macbeth is fully responsible for all of his actions. What those people don’t realize is that behind any great man is an even greater woman. While Macbeth has the power to act; Lady Macbeth had the power to influence. Lady Macbeth persuades and pushes Macbeth to commit the murder of King Duncan. While he is acting ambitious in the murder of the King I believe Lady Macbeth is more ambitious because she influences him in doing so. Another example of Lady Macbeth’s ambition shows when she takes advantage of the knocked out guards and frames them for the murder of the King in Act 2, Scene 2 Line 52-56. She secures safety while Macbeth begins insanity. In my opinion this shows her as the more ambitious of the dark duo. While the counterclaim in this situation would be that Lady Macbeth didn’t physically have anything to do with it; she just did the thinking and planning. Perhaps an external example will persuade you to view it the way I do. People consider Steve Jobs to be extremely ambitious. However he did not physically invent any of the Apple products. He just did the thinking in the apple corporation. I think this shows an exact example of what I am trying to make aware. The Brain always contains more ambition then the body. I believe Shakespeare’s views towards woman are positive. I believe he views them as better thinkers and planners while men are the do-ers.

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    1. I completely agree with Adam. Lady Macbeth is the reason everything happened. If she hadn’t influenced Macbeth to kill, then he would not have. She used his pride against him, and all she wanted was to be Queen. Once she got what she wanted, she felt guilty, and that led to her suicide. But once Macbeth got what he wanted, it wasn’t good enough, he couldn’t stop. The guilt made Macbeth go insane. The guilt made Lady Macbeth kill herself. And honestly, I thought it was going to be the other way around. At first, I thought once Macbeth killed kind Duncan, he would feel so guilty that he would kill himself, but he didn’t. He did the opposite, surprisingly. Lady Macbeth on the other hand, with her ambitious personality, I thought she was going to want more and try and convince Macbeth to kill more. But she didn’t. She did the opposite. She felt so bad that she had to kill herself. I think at first we see Lady Macbeth as more power hungry, but in time, it changed. Macbeth ended up being more power hungry and ambitious. But if it wasn’t for Lady Macbeth, then Macbeth never would have killed anyone.

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  7. Lady Macbeth loves the power and wanted the king to be killed but Macbeth is in full responsibility for doing the actual killing. In my opinion Lady Macbeth was more power hungry than Macbeth.

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  8. Macbeth Argumentive essay
    Lady Macbeth is more power hungry and the one who wants the power the most and uses her voice as persuasion to persuade Macbeth into killing the king and becoming king and her gaining power too.
    Macbeth is to blame for physically killing the king but you cannot put all the blame on him because evidence looks at the point that without the motive from lady Macbeth the chance that Macbeth would of went through with it and killed the king is unlikely .
    So who is to blame? Both of them are to blame equally counting on the fact that they needed each other to commit the crime because neither would of done it on their own.

    Shakespeare may have looked at women as more power hungry individuals maybe because in that era women weren’t placed in position of power and were more eager to gain power.
    Also Shakespeare view of being a man is physically and mentally being tough and doing the job at hand without thinking and using the brute force to physically do a job a women could not do and not complaining about it such as Macbeth killing the king cause lady Macbeth physically couldn’t so he was being a man in the situation

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  9. In my outlook Shakespeare view in gender is not bias, but stand up to what he believe and his motion of things. Shakespeare is from old times and old religion and has certain outlook and rights and different ways of how life should be view and use. “In the bible it says very clearly that man is created for women and ‘women is created for men’. No gender is better than the other, man was created by god and a woman was created from the rib of the man.’’To be a Man’’ IS the question?’’ Women underestimate a men’s manhood, as ‘’Coward!’’ A women is the guys backbone the one that makes the choices and support the guy, cause the women is the delicate follower and the man is the tough guy that works and support the family head of the house hold. For example” without the man children’s would not be created, and without the women the child would not be born. Men’s and women’s support each other and need each. The sex battle between which is the better gender is face every day. This concept between who is who and how things work between life and relationships and even in the work place has been around for centuries. Women needs man and Men’s need women’s, that just life and how things work, no one is better than no one and everyone is equal and without the other no one would be no one and nowhere.
    Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are both equal in power hungry and both are ambitious. They are both responsible for their actions. They both support each other and instigate each other. They are both responsible for the killing; they both are as responsible for the killing. Lady Macbeth instigated and supports Macbeth actions by letting him kill the king .Without the other the king would not be killed. Nothing would have been done without the other.
    • God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
    William Shakespeare
    • Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
    William Shakespeare
    All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

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  10. My stance on current gender issues is not very in-depth, but blunt. Women are equal to men in all ways, they have proven themselves time and time again between making it onto the navy seals in the military, and academically women have showed that they consistently score higher on test and make it into better colleges …I think Shakespere is completely sexist and do not understand why we must be made to study this…MOVE FORWARD!!! (No more Shakespeare! We are a product of our environment, and if this is our environment how are we supposed to progress and accept women as equal to men!)

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  11. Macbeth is a story of a climb for power and betrayal. It features two lovers who persuade each other into acts of evil. But who is the more ambitious of the two? Macbeth or Lady Macbeth? Who is more responsible for killing the king? How does this reflect Shakespeare’s view of gender roles?
    In the beginning Macbeth stumbles upon three witches that plant the idea of Macbeth becoming king. The first witch states “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cowdor! “The second witch exclaims “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king here after!“ claiming that Macbeth will get a promotion and soon become king, when finally, the third witch states “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!” stating that Banquo’s son will become king.
    The seed of ambition is put into Macbeths when he gets the first promotion, proving the prophecy true. But when King Duncan’s son is proclaimed prince instead of Macbeth, this becomes a problem. The prince stands in his way for ultimate power. When Macbeth arrives to his castle and tells Lady Macbeth the king is coming and plans to leave the next day, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him that day will never come, “O, never Shall sun that morrow see!” and tells him how to act to fool the people of the kingdom to make him seem innocent, “Your face, my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters. To beguile the time, look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower.” This shows ambition for Lady Macbeth, she is the first to propose a plan to Macbeth on how to the kill the King.
    In Act 1, Scene 7, Page 2, Macbeth doesn’t want to go on with the plan. “We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late, and I have bought gold opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon.” He doesn’t want to the kill the king, especially after this great honor. Lady Macbeth is acts in quick rebuttal, proving her ambition is greater than Macbeths in this deed to kill the king, “Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” like the poor cat ‘ th’ adage?
    But who is more responsible for killing the King? I’d say Macbeth himself, even though Lady Macbeth is more ambition, he carries out the deed. Being ambitious and responsible are two different things. Ambition is the drive you have to do something, while Lady Macbeth had more Macbeth had to have some, and killed in the king while he was asleep, making him responsible, even killing the guards to blame it on them.
    How does this reflect Shakespeare’s views of gender roles? Lady Macbeth takes the practical roll of a woman staying behind, in the background. Even though she gives Macbeth a push into the direction of the climb for power, she doesn’t have much to do with it, making it as if Shakespeare sees women as always in the background, supporting actors in the big scheme of things. Which of course would make Macbeth the lead role, the male, doing the deed, receiving the power, troubled with the guilt. Everything falls upon him. In today’s world however, this doesn’t seem to appear as often. You have women who are the main actors, the main business women, leading countries and achieving goals and gaining power instead of it just being the men.

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    1. I agree when you say women are the main actors. They got tired of being in the background. Women wanted to feel like they were needed. A long time ago, we were shunned. And now, we are on the front lines. We are in the military, gaining power, and taking over companies. Everything has changed.

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  12. In the sixteenth century women were seen one of two ways. Either sneaky, manipulative, and seductive or modest, proper, male dependent or innocent. This highly influenced their writing. In Macbeth I believe Lady Macbeth is portrayed in both aspects. Before killing the king she is portrayed she is manipulative and sneaky while afterwards she is portrayed as innocent and a victim. Lady Macbeth is more power hungry but she is then sated once she is queen. Macbeth on the other hand is responsible for the actual act and deciding to do so but was not power hungry until he gained power. Pride is a very influential emotion, because of this Shakespeare uses the manipulative side of women to have Lady Macbeth test Macbeth’s pride by saying he isn’t a man if he doesn’t kill the king. This is proven in this line “…Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?”. Therefore Macbeth in retaliation Macbeth kills the king to retaliate and prove he is a man.

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    1. I agree compleatly with how lady mcbeth is potrayed through out the story. I also agree with the changes metioned through out the story

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  13. In my opinion I think it is Lady Macbeth’s fault for the King’s death. Although it was Macbeth who directly killed him, Lady Macbeth was strongly influencing him to do so. Macbeth didn’t really want to kill the King, but with Lady Macbeth calling him things like a coward, he didn’t want to lose his status of being a “man”. Through this Shakespeare also shows his opinion of what being a man is about. Being a man is taking power and not showing weakness, while women seem to be a bit of a bystander or motivator. If a woman, who is shown to be as someone weaker, thinks of you as a coward you must be severely weak.

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  14. Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth I think lady Macbeth is more ambitious and power hungry. She pursaded macbeth to kill the king by Saying he was a coward “ letting “ I dare not” wait upon “ I would”.” (act 1, scene 7, line 45-46). Also Macbeth is more responsible for the killing of the king because he himself did the deed. In doing so he became a cold hearted person and lead to his downfall

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  15. I believe that Macbeth was more power hungry. Even though Lady Macbeth enforced the idea about killing the king , macbeth is the one who plunged the dagger into his chest. When Macbeth was told the witches three visions, he did whatever he had to do to fufill them. No matter what is took.

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  16. I believe Lady Macbeth was more power hungry in the beginning because she was the one who told Macbeth to kill the king. After killing the king Macbeth became power hungry because then he decide to kill one of his friends so that the son didn’t have a chance in becoming king. Macbeth did everything so that no one would beat him to being king.
    The witches were the most responsible for Macbeth killing the king because they told him that he was going to be king. They encouraged him to kill the king in order to become king. The evidence in Act 1 Scene iii says “All hail, Macbeth that Shalt be king hereafter” which gave him confidence in killing the king even though he should have self-control. The other argument would be Macbeth was the one who physical killed the king. He took the dagger and killed him.
    Shakespeare was very bias because he made women valueless and men as a higher value. He made the women characters with flaws and show that they were smart. He never gave a female a powerful role. There were more male characters than female ones. The males had more powerful roles than the women.

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  17. In the story of Macbeth, in the first act it seems that Lady Macbeth was more ambitious, more power hungry than her husband. The fact that she questioned Macbeth of his own manhood when he decided to back out of their plot to murder the king shows that she was eager to wear a crown; but as the story progresses it seems that Macbeth is looking to fulfill the prophecies given by the three witches. He seems to think of nothing but himself as king, and he has this inner struggle with himself on what he should do. Although he was influenced by the prophecies, and by the talks he had with his wife, Macbeth was still the main person responsible for the death of the king. It was Macbeth who stabbed the king, and took his crown after.

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  18. The character that is the most power hungry out of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth is, Lady MacBeth. The reason why this is, is that in Act one scene seven lines 40-45 Lady MacBeth questions MacBeths manhood when he refuses to kill the king. Although MacBeth is more responsible for killing the king because, he decided to listen to the witches at the battle of Forres. He also had the opportunity to tell his wife no he will not kill the king bur he still does it anyways to make her happy. To be completely honest women had more power than the men in that period in Shakespeare’s writing because even in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet had so much power and love over Romeo that when he thought he couldn’t be with her he killed himself by her side. Even in this story Lady MacBeth has more power over MacBeth because she persuades him to kill the king even though he has complete doubt and he is scared about the consciences that he may face after executing the king.
    To prove that women have more power over the men in this story I will give you a quote from Lady MacBeth that she said to MacBeth to persuade him into committing the crime. “Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,” Like the poor cat I’ th’ adage?” But here is a quote from MacBeth to Lady MacBeth in act 3 scene 2 lines 45-50 “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night, Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, And with thy bloody and invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond Which makes me pale!

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  19. Lady Macbeth because she set Macbeth up to kill the king and it came down to it, he had no choice but to kill the king. Macbeth killed the king, but at the same time lady Macbeth drove him and told him to do so. Macbeth was the one who drove the dagger into the king, only because he was placed into a sticky situation through the persuasion of lady Macbeth. She poisoned the guards to allow Macbeth into the king’s room to kill him. Shakespeare’s view throughout the story was displaying women as not as good of an image, if compared to the modern day woman.
    Displaying women (lady Macbeth) as crazy, controlling, corrupt, and power hungry. Duncan displays what “being a man” is to me, through risking his life to save his son’s life. This part was a very memorable part from the movie. As in counter argument lady Macbeth was by Macbeth’s side in comfort of the action and she protected him when he went crazy.
    Gender issues modern day have become a major problem. It has become to point where there is so much judgment and a lot of gender degrading, based off of appearance.

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  20. Macbeth Argumentative Essay
    When talking about the play Macbeth, people argue about who was more ambitious, and who
    is more responsible for the King’s death. I think that between the two Macbeth is the most
    ambitious, where Lady Macbeth is more responsible for the King’s death. I say this because in
    Act I. scene vii, Macbeth is first contemplating killing the King, and the story itself says “ I have
    no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself and
    falls on the other”, but he did get serious until Lady Macbeth taunted him, and questioned his
    manhood. I also think that this shows Shakespeare’s bias towards gender. In his plays female
    characters have a lot of influence over male characters, so I think Shakespeare puts women on
    a pedestal and believes men should live up to their expectations.

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  21. In the beginning Lady Macbeth was way more power hungry, she wanted King Duncan killed but didn’t want to do it herself. She pushed and pushed Macbeth and even began questioning if he was really a man until he snapped and murdered the King. Throughout the story, however, Macbeth grew to liking the crown and knew since he had no sons it could be taken from him and he killed once and would do so again to keep the crown. As the story proceeds Macbeth continues to treat Lady Macbeth as if she is inferior to him and just becomes more and more power hungry.
    In the real world Macbeth would be deemed responsible for killing the King. However the day of age they were in Macbeths “manhood” was important and when Lady Macbeth kept dangling that over his head he snapped. Lady Macbeth was the accessory to the murder not the actual killer.
    This play displayed that shake spear felt women to be inferior to men. For instance, Lady Macbeth’s role started with her in charge and ended horribly with her having no say so in what Macbeth did and made it apparent that’s how it should be. This stereo type is becoming more and more popular even though women were beginning to prove they were equal to men. Men are trying to make women into the women of the elderly days, staying in the kitchen and raising kids.

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  22. I believe lady Macbeth was more responsible for killing the king because she was persuading him and coaxing him into killing him. She was using her moral powers to get into the mind. She was torturing him and she was sending signals to Macbeth and putting ideas into his head. Macbeth persuades and pushes Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s ambition shows when she takes advantage of the knocked out guards and frames them for the murder of the King. She secures safety while Macbeth begins insanity. In my opinion this shows her as the more ambitious of the dark duo. While the counterclaim in this situation would be that Lady Macbeth didn’t physically have anything to do with it; she just did the thinking and planning. Perhaps an external example will persuade you to view it the way I do. People consider Steve Jobs to be extremely ambitious. I think that shake spear has a mindset that women are strong and ambitious. They will do anything to get power.

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  23. Lady MacBeth was more responsible for killing the king because if she hadn’t convinced MacBeth to kill him, he wouldn’t have. Lady MacBeth is the reason both her and MacBeth got so ambitious and power hungry which led to extreme downfalls for the both of them at the very end.

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  24. I believe that Lady Macbeth is more ambitious then Macbeth. Lady Macbeth manipulated Macbeth to kill King Duncan. Macbeth didn’t want to kill him. After King Duncan was killed, Macbeth started to get power hungry. He would go back to the witches to see if there was any way he can hold on to his power.So this would of never happened if Lady Macbeth manipulated him.

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