There are always potential threats to the throne—Banquo, Fleance, Macduff—and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.
He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia.
Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness.
Arguably, Macbeth traces the root of chaos and evil to women, which has led some critics to argue that this is Shakespeare’s most misogynistic play.
While the male characters are just as violent and prone to evil as the women, the aggression of the female characters is more striking because it goes against prevailing expectations of how women ought to behave.
Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts.
One of Shakespeare’s most forcefully drawn female characters, she spurs her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder’s aftermath, but she is eventually driven to distraction by the effect of Macbeth’s repeated bloodshed on her conscience.Ultimately, the play does put forth a revised and less destructive definition of manhood.In the scene where Macduff learns of the murders of his wife and child, Malcolm consoles him by encouraging him to take the news in “manly” fashion, by seeking revenge upon Macbeth.Such acts show that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity with naked aggression, and whenever they converse about manhood, violence soon follows.Their understanding of manhood allows the political order depicted in the play to descend into chaos.Both Macbeths fail to see how their ambition makes them cross moral lines and will lead to their downfall.Once Macbeth kills Duncan, his ambition to hold on to his title as king becomes intertwined with his paranoia.It also suggests that, with Malcolm’s coronation, order will be restored to the Kingdom of Scotland.In the play, Duncan is always referred to as a “king,” while Macbeth soon becomes known as the “tyrant.” The difference between the two types of rulers seems to be expressed in a conversation that occurs in Act 4, scene 3, when Macduff meets Malcolm in England.Lady Macbeth’s behavior certainly shows that women can be as ambitious and cruel as men.Whether because of the constraints of her society or because she is not fearless enough to kill, Lady Macbeth relies on deception and manipulation rather than violence to achieve her ends.