The more things change the more they stay the same. These days there are countless books and movies that have one person betraying another. In the middle of the seventeenth century, there was also this same fascination with this type of plot. This morbid interest has been present, throughout history, and nearly all societies. In the tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the idea of usurping the thrown presents itself to Macbeth, but Lady Macbeth proves herself as the catalyst he needed for his later independent treachery.
The play starts with Macbeth encountering the three witches. In a prophecy that they tell Macbeth, he will become King. The last witch tells him All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king here after (I.iii.56-57). Macbeth does not believe them until parts of their prophecy come true. Macbeth has done nothing, yet, to help any of this prophecy come true. He wonders if maybe he can do nothing and still become king. If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir (I.iii.65-67). Macbeth tells his wife of the prophecy. She then urges him to do whatever it takes to become king. She now becomes infatuated with the idea. Although she did not come up with the ideas she is the one who has taken it most to heart. Lady Macbeth thinks that they should do within their powers to ensure that Macbeth becomes king. In contrast Macbeth thinks that maybe he can just stand back and let everything happen with out doing anything.
Macbeth with much urging form Lady Macbeth's decided that he will kill the king, and in such a way as to make it possible for him to become king. Macbeth is fearful that he might be caught. Macbeth is so afraid of this that he no longer wants to carry out the awful deed. Lady Macbeth coerces Macbeth into going ahead and carrying it out. As Macbeth makes his way to the kings chambers he sees and apparition. It is a dagger leading him on toward his goal. He does not know if the dagger is real or just in his head. Before killing, Macbeth says that King Duncan will either go to heaven or to hell, but that he is not sure of witch. Both Macbeth and his wife want more power, but both are very afraid of being caught Macbeth is the one who actually kills the king, but it is Lady Macbeth that is the driving force that makes the decision to go ahead with their plan. Lady Macbeth becomes that witch Macbeth needed for the first, and biggest, killing. He has made the transformation form a loyal subject to a traitor and a tyrant with the first steps being paved by his wife. With out his wife he would not have taken those first steps. Lady Macbeth has proved to be just the accelerant that Macbeth need to be pushed over the edge and down the slippery cliff that is betrayal.
With the hardest part of their plan out of the way things fall into place rapidly. Macbeth soon assumes the role of king. Now that he is king he asserts himself more and more. In heavy contrast with earlier when he was a puppet to his wife he is now the one pulling the strings. He begins to plan on his own. Compared to earlier when Lady did most of the planing, Macbeth now is thinking, planing, and doing on his own. He now is becoming very paranoid. He is consulting his wife less and less. Macbeth no longer feels the need to talk with her and see what she thinks. This is also very different for him. In the prophecy given to him by the witches, they tell him that his best friend Banquo will be the father of kings but not be king himself. Macbeth is growing wary of his friend. He now decides to kill him and his son. Unfortunately for Macbeth only Banquo is the only one killed. The son of Banquo still lives. Lady Macbeth is now becoming less and less mentally stable. A doctor tells Macbeth that she does not have a physical problem but that of a mental