How Does The Relationship Between Macbeth And

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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

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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?.