In Shakespeare s Macbeth, there are many issues that may have had an affect on the play. The complex marriage between the power hungry Macbeths, lady Macbeth s dominant character directing Macbeth in the murders, the role reversal during the murders, Macbeth s reaction to his wife s death, and male and female marriages for authority. When analyzed these issues help describe the Macbeth s relationship. They are the very issues that eventually lead to the Great Tragedy .
The relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is a complex one. Macbeth in the beginning does not come across to us as dominant. He more so looks to Lady Macbeth for comfort, assurance, and direction. Go get some water And wash your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the palace? They must lie there. Go, carry them and smear The sleepy grooms with blood. (Act II, Scene 2) Here Lady Macbeth directs Macbeth what to do after the murder of Duncan.
Lady Macbeth takes control of their situation. Lady Macbeth brought a directness, a practicality, an inability to see difficulties in a good cause . Says Barbara Everette in Macbeth As A Married Couple . This shows how much Lady Macbeth s views were a major part in their relationship. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth corrupted their relationship with their struggle for power. They both felt the need for authority, which as a result lead to their downfall.
In the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth comes across to us as evil-willed and ready to do any and everything to help her husband gain his power. She directs him in what to do. She plans the murders as well as keeps everything in order when people become curious. O, never shall sun that morrow see Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye Look like th innocent flower But be the serpent under t (Act 1, Scene 5) Lady Macbeth provides the assurance for Macbeth by telling him what and how to act. She also builds up his character by telling him that he will be a greater man if he were to go ahead with the murders. When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more the man than what you were, you would Be so much more the man . (Act I, Scene 7) Everette states, Married couples invariably, grow like each other .
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exchange qualities. Lady Macbeth becomes the way Macbeth was and Macbeth becomes the way Lady Macbeth was. Then live, Macduff; what I need fear of thee? But yet I ll make assurance double sure, And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live (Act IV, Scene 1) There it is shown that Macbeth s attitude changes, he begins to take on Lady Macbeth s role during the beginning of the play as the person in charge. Everette also says, he starts to not need her anymore Lady Macbeth has made Macbeth into the greater man she wanted him to be and now he is no longer held back by his conscience or guilt. In the next act Lady Macbeth loses her mind. She is constantly washing her hands and says she can still smell the blood, Here s the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O !(Act IV, Scene 1) Now Lady Macbeth is in the state of mind Macbeth was; What hands are here? Ha! They pluck mine eyes. Will all great Neptune s oceans wash this blood Clean from my hand? (Act III, Scene 3) In that scene Macbeth can not deal very well with the horrid fact that he has killed Duncan. But now he has begun to cope with the act of killing very well.
Macbeth sees Lady Macbeth s death as something real but meaningless. He shows neither remorse nor grief. In the end of the play Macbeth s reactions to Lady Macbeth death was a brief meditation on the meaningless of human actions , states Everette. He realizes everything he strove for in life was in vain; therefore his wife s death seems more like an escape from their worthless life. Life s but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing . (Act V, Scene 5)
Shakespeare shows that male and female relationships during this time were based on status or positions of authority. For example, Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), who some critics claim Shakespeare alluded to with Macbeth, chose not to marry for many years, because she wanted to remain solely in power. In contrast to her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, married for the political reason of uniting France and Scotland. Similarly, the Macbeths relationship was based on his rise to power. Although they loved each other, their love was corrupted by the struggle for ambition.
In conclusion the issues show the gradual fall of their relationship. The Macbeth s relationship was based on ambition. Both brought each other down because of this. In result, Macbeth s emotions are put to an end through feeling a state of nothingness.