Because each is married to a dishonorable man each is trapped by her position.Lady Macbeth creates a monster in Macbeth and his ambition leads to the eventual break-up of their marriage and her suicide.Gertrude though much more passive than Lady Macbeth seems to be torn between her love of her son and her love of Claudius and after realizing what a monster she married has little will or ability to make any changes and dies as a result of her husbands deeds.They are both culpable of their own fate. Lady Macbeth pushed Macbeth into his first murder failing to see that one would lead to many more. Gertrude serves as Claudius enabler, helping him to spy on Hamlet,agreeing to plans to send Hamlet overseas and agreeing to marry him in the first place instead of campaigning for her son to be king. Nevertheless Claudius nor Macbeth seem to be moved by their wives death.Claudius does little to prevent Gertrude from drinking the poisoned wine while Macbeth numbly responds to the news of his wife’s death.
While they share all these similarities both are very different characters in that one has a strong central role while the other has a more passive role in the play. Lady Macbeth is the person who not only persuades but demands that Macbeth murders Duncan by insulting his manhood. She as well is the one who then later convinces Macbeth that their deed will be washed away and everything would be right a “little water washes us from this deed.” For this reason it is that Lady Macbeth is heavily involved in the planning and killing of Duncan and later all the other deaths. Contrast to the strong character is Gertrude who has no knowledge of the murder that Claudius commits and is appalled when Hamlet confesses to her the malicious deed her current husband committed. She did not necessarily need to kill to become royalty as she was already queen and had no intention of hurting another a characteristic not seen in Lady Macbeth.Gertrude as well does not have the capacity of making her husband do as she wants him to because she simply does not have to power to do so as she is a softer, and gentle character.
All in all both were trapped in their royal positions yet deprived of the ability to control their husbands. Even though both were also culpable of their fate they had various differences that could be seen throughout both plays. Shakespeare depict his ability to create a strong, vicious character as well as a more tradition woman character.