Exploring a ruthless reality, William Shakespeare's Macbeth highlights human nature's desire for power, and the lengths one will go to obtain it. Set in eleventh century Scotland, we are confronted with a society where one's family lineage and capacity as a military combatant determines one's status. Macbeth himself, and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are arguably responsible for the tragedy within the play. Shakespeare's characterization of the key narrative figures, use of imagery and symbolism, depicts the respective roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the ensuing tragedy. We follow the actions of Macbeth as he is consumed by his desire and demand for power. .
Throughout the twisted plot of Macbeth, the protagonist, Macbeth, gradually descends into a state of madness, that ultimately leads to his death. After Macbeth's initial encounter with the "weird sisters", we realize that his physical courage is complemented by a consuming ambition. Macbeth writes a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her of their claims that "he shalt be king hereafter." On hearing this news, a conniving Lady Macbeth, with her thirst for blood and power, manipulates Macbeth's moral code, and uses her sexuality to influence Macbeth into using his physical strength to murder King Duncan. Through the author's use of characterization, Macbeth is shown spiraling into paranoia and fear, induced by his ambition, "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition". Macbeth fluctuates between moments of action, in which he will go to any lengths to secure his throne, and moments of guilt and complete cynicism, as noted when Banquo's ghost appears. Macbeth, although he is a great warrior, is irrevocably evil and ill equipped for the psychic consequences of his crime. Thus, Macbeth himself, is responsible for the tragedy within the play. .
Lady Macbeth uses her sexuality to manipulate Macbeth into killing King Duncan, which makes her somewhat responsible for Macbeth's downfall.