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How Does The Relationship Between Macbeth And

How Does The Relationship Between Macbeth And Lady Macbeth Develop And Change Throughout The Play? Essay, Research Paper
The play I have been studying is Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I will
be concentrating on the relationship between Macbeth and his wife and how this
changes and develops throughout the play. I will be looking at their
relationship from the point in the play that Lady Macbeth receives a letter
from her husband to her death near the end of the play. ????
Macbeth was one of Shakespeare?s last plays that he wrote in Elizabethan
times somewhere between 1606 and 1611, but the actual play was set in Medieval
Scotland. The play as the title suggests was set around Macbeth, his wife and
their ever growing ambitions and desires. The play begins when Macbeth meets
three witches and is given three prophecies? one of which is that he will be
king. Macbeth tells his wife the news and she persuades him to kill Duncan the
present king. Macbeth then becomes king, but extremely paranoid with it so he
has Banquo (his friend who also saw the witches) murdered. Macbeth returns to
the witches who give him three more predictions in the form of riddles which
later like the first prophecies also, come true. Macbeth then has Macduff ?s family killed so Scotland
rises against him. Lady Macbeth dies and Macbeth dies soon after at the hands
of Macduff. ????
In act 1 scene 5 Lady Macbeth receives her husband?s letter about his
victory in battle and his unexpected meeting with the three witches and their
prophesies? that he would soon be Thane of cawdor and eventually king. I think
he must have been very intrigued by the hags and wanted to know more ?when I burned in desire? the witches
?fired? his curiosity. The hags obviously captivated him because he wrote ?while I stood rapt in the wonder of it?..
Even though he seemed amazed by the sight he must have been apprehensive
because at that time witches were greatly feared. At this early point in the
play I think they had a strong relationship and he was very close to his wife
as he felt he could confide his news in her, as I think it is possible people
loyal to the king could have seen him as a threat to the crown. I feel he also
thinks of her as an equal, that he values her views on matters as he says ?lay it to thy heart?- he wants her to
think about it and give him her opinion. I also think they have a loving
relationship as he refers to her in the letter as ?my dearest
partner of greatest?.. He calls her dearest, which to me makes them sound
like a very close couple, that she is a very special person to him and that he
loves her. He refers to her as his partner which to me shows that he thinks of
her as an equal and that he respects her. She is his partner in marriage and
ironically will soon be his partner in crime. I think his use of the word
greatness shows his admiration for her? I think he almost idolises his wife.
Once again I think this is quite ironic, as soon she really does become
?great?, she becomes Queen. An Elizabethan audience would be quite disturbed by
the fact witches were involved in the play. In those ages witches were looked
on as workers for the devil, they were thought of as extremely evil and were
therefore greatly feared. Many people would feel very uneasy about the witches
and the apparitions? you could compare it to people nowadays going to see a
chiller movie at the cinema. In this scene Lady Macbeth also calls upon spirits
to make her evil and help her commit the crime to come, this might lead people
to think that she was now possessed. ???? ????
In act 1 scene 7 Macbeth can not decide whether to murder the king or
not. He knows that killing Duncan is the wrong thing to do in the eyes of man
and in the eyes of God but his ambitions make him want to do it, however, in
the end he decides against it. Lady Macbeth who is obviously desperate for her
husband to be king then tries various ways to try and persuade him to murder
Duncan. The first method of persuasion she users is asking rhetorical questions
like ?Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed
yourself? Hath it slept since? And what wakes it now to look so green and pale
at what it did so freely?? She is asking him if he was drunk when he
promised to kill the king but now he has got a hang over and regrets that he
said he would do it. She is saying she would understand if this was the case
but it is not. She is asking him questions she already knows the answer to, to
try and make her point that he changes his mind too freely, that he is
indecisive and goes back on his word. I think this would make Macbeth feel like
he had let down someone whom he obviously loves and that would make him feel
bad and maybe want to stick to his original promise. Her next method of
persuasion is making him feel like an un-manly coward by saying ?Art thou afeared to be the same in thine
own act and valour, as thou art in desire?? And ?When you durst do it you were a man?.. She’s asking him if he is
afraid to do evil and be evil like he is in his dreams and that now he has
decided against committing murder he is not a man anymore. I think that it
would hurt Macbeth?s pride to be called a coward and un-manly, especially by
his wife and would maybe decide to kill the king to prove he was still a man.
The last persuasion technique she users is a shock tactic when she says ?I have given suck and know how tender
it is to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face,
have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I
so sworn as you have to this?.. When she says this she is trying to shock
him into killing the king by using brutal imagery. She tells him how she would
kill her own child by smashing it?s head open if she had promised to do so, for
unlike him she would never break promise not even one that would hurt her so much.
I think this image is especially brutal because there is meant to be no bond
stronger than that between mother and child and if she was willing to kill her
child for him he must mean a great deal to her. I think this would make Macbeth
feel guilty because she is implying she must love him more than he does her if
she is willing to do something so drastic for him and that this may encourage
him to kill Duncan to prove his love for his wife. I think the audience would
also be shocked at this graphic description and would now definitely have the
opinion that she was evil. At the end of the scene Macbeth finally gives in to
all his wife?s persuasion and agrees to kill the king. I think throughout this
scene Lady Macbeth is the dominant one of the two because she does nearly all
of the talking without letting her husband hardly get a word in edgeways. She
almost bullies him into listening to her? he has no choice but to listen to
her point of view and feels there is no way after all she has said that he can go
back on his word. I think Lady Macbeth used very good persuasion techniques but
is quite devious and would stop at nothing to get her own way. ????
In act 2 scene 2 the pair commit Duncan?s murder, but both are strong
(have courage) and are weak (act cowardly) at various points in the scene.
While Macbeth has gone off to kill the King lady Macbeth has a drink which
gives her guts as she says ?That which
hath made them drunk, hath made me bold, that hath quenched them hath given me
fire?.. By this she means the alcohol that she drugged the King?s guards
with to make his murder easier has given her confidence. Her mood then changes
to weak when she hears an owl shriek ?Hark,
peace! It was the fatal bellman which gives a stern?st good-night? the owl
upset her quiet and probably made her jump, to her its cry was confirmation the
king was dead. Macbeth enters and says ?Who?s
there? What ho??? I think he is
being weak when he says this because he is afraid someone has seen him with the
bloody daggers. Lady Macbeth is also being weak when she says ?Alack I?m afraid they have awaked? she
like her husband is also worried in case they have been spotted and she
continues her cowardice by saying ?had he
not resembled my father as he slept I had done?t?.. Hear she is saying she
would have killed the king but he reminded her of her father so she could not
go through with it. Macbeth is both strong and weak in the next sentence when
he says ?I have done the deed. Didst thou
hear a noise?? he has killed the king and is proud of himself so it makes
him feel strong but straight away he becomes panicky, insecure and cowardly
again because he is scared someone heard him. Next they go into a conversation
which is short and detached which would sound jumpy and uneasy? just like how they
are feeling. Lady Macbeth then becomes strong as I think she realises someone
has to take control of the situation she says ?A foolish thought to say a sorry sight? with this she is scalding
her husband for his weaknesses. Macbeth stays weak now to the end of the scene
commenting on his inability to say Amen ?I
could not say Amen when they said God bless us? and ?I heard a voice cry ?sleep no more Macbeth do murder sleep?.. His
mind is torturing him, he thinks he?ll never be able to sleep again. Lady Macbeth
tries to snap her husband out of it by scalding him some more ?You do unbend your noble strength? she
is telling him he?s been brave and courageous so why be cowardly now. Macbeth
foolishly brought the daggers with him from the murder scene and won?t take
them back so Lady Macbeth takes control, returns the daggers and cleans them
both up with water. Macbeth then begins to hear knocking ?Wake Duncan with thou knocking: I would thou couldst? Macbeth
regrets what he has done and wishes that he could wake Duncan back up. I think
they were both weak when Macbeth returned from the king because they were
worried that they would be found out but once Lady Macbeth realised they had to
act quickly she took control of the situation. Just as in act 1 scene 7 where
she persuaded her husband she once again took the lead. I think they had quite
a good plan for the murder, they had arranged to drug the guards who would then
take the blame but lots of things went wrong for them while they were carrying
it out. They were both jumpy and Lady Macbeth could not kill him in the end
because he reminded her of her father. Macbeth brings the daggers away from the
scene and refuses to take them back and then begins to regret ever being part
of it. I think the audience may feel that Lady Macbeth may also be a witch and
she is described as a fiend like queen but there is evidence in this scene to
suggest that she was not as bad as she was made out to be, when she says that
she could not murder the King because he reminded her of her father. The
audience may also take Macbeth?s inability to say Amen as another sigh that
they were evil and possessed by Satan. ????
In Act 2 Scene 3 the murder is discovered by Macduff who then tells
Macbeth and Lennox, but even before this Macbeth makes a slip up that could?ve
aimed suspicion at him and his wife. When Lennox asked if the king was going
out that day Macbeth replied ?He does?
he did appoint
so? but luckily this went unnoticed. When Lady Macbeth and Banquo join the
group they discuss the murder for a while when she suddenly faints and being a
woman they put it down to the news of the murder up setting her. I personally
think she fainted on purpose but there are arguments for and against. The
reasons it could have been genuine are that throughout the conversation Macbeth
had been getting them into deeper and deeper water and the worry could’ve
caused her to pass out, coupled with the fact that she had drunk a lot the
night before and may have had a hang over. But I think the following ideas would
be more probable. Because Macbeth was digging them in deeper I think she did it
to divert attention away from him before he made a major slip up. I also think
she was a very strong character as we can tell from her persuading and her
control over the situation the night before and would not be as weak as to
faint. Lastly Lady Macbeth is helping to cover her tracks because how could a
lady who faints at the mention of the word murder have anything to do with the
murder of the king? I definitely think that the reasons for her pretending to
faint greatly outweigh the reasons for her to genuinely pass out. ????
In act 3 scene 2 Lady Macbeth is troubled because she feels they have
gained nothing from murdering the King but actually lost everything ?Noughts had,
alls spent?.. Despite this when her husband tells her of his fears ?O, full of scorpions is my mind? and
that he even envies the peace that Duncan has she tells him ?Whats done is done? and that he has to
forget about it. I think Lady Macbeth changes from being weak when she is on
her own to being strong when she is with her husband because she knows she is
the stronger of the two and that he needs her strength. Although they are both
afraid at the moment lady Macbeth is definitely the stronger of the two and
still loves him because she is putting her own feelings aside so she can help
him (even by scalding him if necessary). In this scene Macbeth also hints
slightly that he is going to have Banquo killed. You can compare this scene to
act 1 scene 5 because here Macbeth does not tell his wife of his evil plans
whereas in act 1 scene 5 he wrote the letter telling her the news and asked for
her opinion. This shows that even though they still care for each other they
are drifting apart and do not share things like they used to. I think Macbeth
may refrain from telling his wife anything anymore because I feel he may blame
her for the mess they are in because it was her who talked him into killing
Duncan, if he had not told her of the meeting with the witches they would not
be in this mess now. Also I think they is a change in language as before he
called her ?my dearest partner of
greatness? now he is just calling her ?dear
wife? I think this also shows how they are drifting apart. There are some
similarities like in both scenes Lady Macbeth is the more dominant. We can also compare act 1 scene 7
with act 3 scene 4. The Macbeths are having a banquet when Banquo’s ghost
appears to Macbeth and sits at his place at the table, but Macbeth is unnerved
by the ghost and talks to him out loud. Lady Macbeth covers for husband telling
the Lords his hallucinations were due to a childhood illness ?My Lord is often thus, and hath been from
his youth? she also tells them not to stare ?If you note him you shall offend him and extend his passion?.. Once
again she is desperately trying to cover for her husband. She takes him aside
and scalds him about his behaviour ?Are
you a man?? and ?Shame itself! Why do
you make such faces??.. She scalds him like she does in act 1 scene 7 but this
time he doesn?t listen to her, her persuasion techniques don?t work any more.
Banquo?s ghost appears again and this time Macbeth becomes violent so his wife
gets rid of the guests very quickly ?Stand
not upon the order of your going, but go at once?.. Macbeth tells his wife
of his fear that there are more bad deeds to come and that tomorrow he is
returning to see the witches. Lady Macbeth is still trying to make her husband
forget what has happened and is still the strong one of the two who seems to be
holding everything together just like she was earlier in the play. Macbeth
tells his wife he is going back to see the witches whereas in act 1 scene 7 he
talked to his wife about his problems, this proves how much they are drifting
apart. Macbeth feels on his own in this scene as he talks with a lot of? I?s in his speech ?I am in
blood, I stepped in
so far that I wade no
more? whereas in act 1 scene 7 he spoke of them as a couple ?We will not fail?, ?When we have marked? and ?We?d
still have?.. The audience would see more confirmation in this scene that
the pair were involved in evil goings on and had links with the devil as
Macbeth calls upon darkness for help ?Come,
sealing night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day and with thy bloody and
invisible hand cancel and tear to pieces that great sickening bond which keeps
me pale?..


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