Macbeth is the leading female character in this play. She lusts for power and
her position as Queen . She is much more of a stronger character in the beginning
of the play. She has more power over Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth proves she has nerves
of steel after evoking the spirits, to push Macbeth to commit the stabbing of
Duncan. She tells him "screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll
not fail."(1.7. 60) After He kills the king, His mental state starts to
fall apart. Lady Macbeth insists on keeping a calm face, before Banquo and the
others. even as Macbeth is asking if all of Neptune's ocean would not wash the
blood clean from his hands, she replies "a little water clears us of this
deed."(2.2.65) Its only later on the
guilt begins to erode her sanity that she also starts to hallucinate.
Lady Macbeth cannot sleep, she walks the
castle halls all night murmuring to herself in her despair and guilty
conscience shown by her saying "all the perfumes of Arabia will not
sweeten this little hand." (5.1.42) She becomes frail and unstable. Sleep deprivation
exacts its revenge. The Doctor who is called to see about her, comments on her
strange actions of wringing or the imitation of washing her hands. He comments
"More needs she the divine than the physician." (5.1.64)
In the end, Macbeth is strong and lady Macbeth is mad.
Macbeth tells the doctor to minister to her "diseased mind" and cleanse
her thoughts. He is more concerned with the oncoming battle with Malcolm and
Macduff. While Macbeth is pre-occupied Lady Macbeth commits suicide.