Essay on Whether 'Macbeth' Is a Tragedy

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William Shakespeare wrote many plays, and of those plays, many were tragedies or comedies. One of Shakespeare’s tragic plays is called “Macbeth” in which a nobleman of Scotland receives a prediction from witches that he will be King. The king who was in charge during the time he received the prophecy is King Duncan. Macbeth gets ambitious about becoming the King and his wife Lady Macbeth pushes him to get power. She convinces him to kill King Duncan and a few others to gain power. Even though Macbeth is the one doing the actions and the one becoming king, Lady Macbeth is the one getting in his head. We also see the Witches Manipulating Macbeth into thinking he will be King soon. Macbeth isn’t the only one who gets manipulated, he also manipulates the murderers to kill Banquo and his son. In the play “Hamlet” we also see Manipulation between Claudius and Hamlet. In this play, the King of Denmark is killed by his brother, and Hamlet the king’s son is trying to prove it. One theme from these plays is that manipulation has a big impact on getting power as seen when Lady Macbeth spoke about Macbeth’s manhood to get him to kill the King so they would have power.

Lady Macbeth started getting into Macbeth’s head in the first act scene five. She began by telling him to act sneaky but look innocent so nobody would ever think about it being him who killed the King. She appealed to his manhood and made him feel like by killing the King she would be pleased. One example of when we see that Lady Macbeth is responsible for the tragedy is when she says to Macbeth “look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under” ( 1.5. 66-68). From this evidence, we can see that Lady Macbeth is convincing him to kill the King. Therefore, Lady Macbeth is building up his self-esteem to feel good about murdering the king and so he wouldn’t doubt doing it. Additionally, one example of when we see Lady Macbeth gets into Macbeth’s head to get him to kill King Duncan is when she says, “Was the hope drunk Wherein dressed?” (1.7. 35-36). From this evidence, we can see that She is making him feel bad about not wanting to go through with it, so she asked him if he was drunk when he seemed hopeful about murdering before. Therefore, Lady Macbeth is questioning his manhood by asking if the state of mind was who was talking for him. Finally, these two examples show that Lady Macbeth is trying to manipulate Macbeth to kill the King.

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Continuing the play, we see Lady Macbeth getting in Macbeth’s head and influencing his pursuit of the crown. This is seen when she tells him that he is scared to get what he desires and when he is challenged to kill the king he appeared as a man to her. One example of when we see Macbeth’s pursuit for the crown being driven by Lady Macbeth's influence is when she says “From this time such I account thy love.” (1.7. 38-39). From this evidence, we can see that Lady Macbeth is telling him that this is how she is going to think of his love for her now, that he doesn't love her because he is afraid to act the way he desired. Therefore, from this quote, we can see he is questioning his loyalty to her because he can’t go through with his words. In the following lines, we see Lady Macbeth’s influencing Macbeth when she states, “What beast was 't then that made you break this enterprise to me?” (1.7. 48-49). From this evidence, we can see she’s trying to manipulate him by saying if you weren’t a man then what kind of animal were you when you first told me you wanted to do this. Therefore, from this quote, we can see that she is making him feel bad for not completing what he said he was going to do. Finally, these two examples show that Lady Macbeth is making Macbeth feel bad for not wanting to kill the King. She is positive that they will get power if Macbeth kills King Duncan without being fearful.

In Act two scene two, we see this ambition causing manipulation again, right after King Duncan’s death she feels no remorse at all. Macbeth, on the other hand, is panicking and she just tries to calm him down when she speaks, she makes it seem like nothing was wrong with what he did. In lines “These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so it will make us mad” (2.2.33-34). Lady Macbeth is making murder seem like something that can just be brushed under the rug to make Macbeth not feel guilty. She has successfully manipulated Macbeth to kill the King up to now, and when he comes to her dripped in blood, she gets frustrated that he has the evidence on him that will make him look guilty. Lady Macbeth tells him “My hands are of your color,” (2.2 61). From these lines, we see how Lady Macbeth’s ambition is so big that she doesn’t even feel guilty about what she has just made Macbeth do.

However, Lady Macbeth isn’t the only one manipulating others to do the dirty work to become powerful. Macbeth manipulates two murderers to kill Banquo and his son after the Witches have told him that Banquo could become the next King after Macbeth is pronounced King. In act three scene one Macbeth says, “Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave And beggared yours forever?” (3.1 90-91). In these lines, Macbeth is telling the murderers that if they aren’t going to get revenge on Banquo for leaving them poor. Throughout their conversation, we hear Macbeth trying to use get the murders feelings of anger towards Banquo as a way for them to help him get rid of them. He even says that Banquo being alive makes him sick, we see with his words how he is trying to manipulate them to be able to stay with the crown.

In “Hamlet” we see manipulation from the very beginning when the ghost appears and is telling Hamlet to avenge his father’s murderer, who is the new king, his uncle. The ghost also tells him to not hold a grudge toward his mother who is now his brother’s wife. In the fifth scene, the ghost tells him “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5 25). From this scene, it is thought that the ghost is the spirit of Hamlet’s dead father because he is telling him to do something about the killing of his father. The ghost also only speaks to Hamlet, it doesn’t speak to the King’s wife and Hamlet is the only one who can see him. From this conversation, Hamlet starts to try to get proof that Claudius killed his father. Through this manipulation, we see that even though Hamlet’s father is dead he will still be powerful enough to get revenge on his killer.

King Claudius’s ambition drove him to kill his brother just to get reign. Not only did he become King, but he also married Gertrude, Claudius wanted Hamlet’s father’s life. Claudius manipulates Hamlet to kill Polonius and then tells Laertes that Hamlet has done it. King Claudius is doing all of this to remain in power. In. the fourth act scene 7 Claudius tells Laertes “Not that I think you did not love your father, But that I know love is begun by time, And that I see, in passages of proof,” (4.7 110-112). He is trying to get into Laerte’s head the same way Lady Macbeth got into Macbeth’s head. By saying that he should do something about his dad’s death the same Lady Macbeth was convincing Macbeth to kill King Duncan for the throne. Having power and being able to rule means a lot to the characters from William Shakespeare’s plays. They manipulate people that they say they love to do their dirty work so that they can continue with the throne in their hands.

The tragedy in Macbeth regarding the murder of King Duncan is influenced by Lady Macbeth. He wants to do whatever it takes to please her. She makes him question himself to have power. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to kill Duncan by messing with his self-esteem and asking him if he is a man or if he is even loyal enough. Macbeth turns cruel to be able to please her. “Hamlet” is another play by William Shakespeare the late King was killed by his brother to gain access to the crown. He talks to his son Hamlet as a ghost after his murder and convinces him to seek revenge. Later, King Claudius who is Hamlet’s uncle wants to get rid of Hamlet so that he doesn’t kill him and take the throne from him. These characters manipulate the other characters whom they supposedly love to stay as Kings or to be able to have power.

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Essay on Whether ‘Macbeth’ Is a Tragedy. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
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