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At the beginning of the play, Macbeth writes to his wife as 'my dearest partner of greatness'. How does their relationship change during the play?

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Introduction

Macbeth - Coursework At the beginning of the play, Macbeth writes to his wife as 'my dearest partner of greatness'. How does their relationship change during the play? Act 1, Scene 5 is where we first see Lady Macbeth. She is reading a letter written by Macbeth informing her of his success in battle and, more importantly, of his encounter with the witches. The letter to Lady Macbeth shows not only a complete trust in his wife - for such a letter could itself be considered treasonous - but also of affection and love: 'my dearest partner of greatness' (1, 5, 9-10) suggests a warm equality of persons. Later, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have a conversation, where Macbeth describes Lady Macbeth as his 'dearest love'. This means that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth still have a good relationship face to face, and the comments in the letter were not something said once and forgotten. There is an unspoken agreement about murdering Duncan between the couple in this scene. Macbeth, when asked by Lady Macbeth when Duncan will leave, replies: To- morrow, as he purposes (1,5,59b) This implies that Macbeth has belief in the words of the witches, and wants to become the king, and feels that murdering Duncan is the quickest way to the throne. Lady Macbeth, acting upon the word of the three witches, also decides to get rid of Duncan quickly, so Macbeth can be king: He that's coming must be provided for; and you shall put this nights great business into my dispatch (1, 5, 65b-67) ...read more.

Middle

Secondly, she could have done a 'fake' faint, as Macbeth was getting into more and more trouble, and could not answer the questions posed by Macduff. Both these reasons could point to the fact that Macbeth was acting independently, contrasting with when Lady Macbeth was the driving force behind his actions. The irony of the whole situation is that Lady Macbeth does care for her husband, and fainted to get him out of trouble. Act 3, Scene 2 reveals that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are moving further apart than before. Now, Lady Macbeth has to have an appointment to see Macbeth: Say to the king, I would attend his leisure for a few words. (3,2,3-4) When Macbeth enters, Lady Macbeth greets him as 'My Lord', which is not as loving as before, when she greets Macbeth with words like 'my husband', or 'my love'. We also know that Macbeth has been consulting less with Lady Macbeth after he has been proclaimed the King of Scotland, as she says 'why do you keep alone' (3,2,8b). Macbeth is worried about what he has done, so Lady Macbeth tries to calm him down. There is still love between the two, and Macbeth shows a great deal of affection for Lady Macbeth by calling her 'dearest chuck'. But this is just to keep her away from his plans to murder Banquo and Fleance. Unlike before when Lady Macbeth planned the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is planning to carry out this murder on his own, without consulting Lady Macbeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

(5,5,17-18) These two lines have two different meanings. Firstly, she should have died at a convenient time later on, when the battle was over, a time which would have suited all. This shows that Macbeth still loves her, he would have spent some time with her, time permitting before her death. The second meaning is not as friendly. It implies that she would have died anyway, and the death of his wife has not caused him any harm, not even given him a shock. This means that Macbeth has turned so evil that he is devoid of any emotions. Throughout the play, the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth changes considerably. From the start, when they were a team, and Lady Macbeth was heralded 'My dearest partner of greatness' (1,5,10b).Their relationship change when Macbeth becomes the king. No longer Lady Macbeth calls him 'husband' or 'love', but 'my lord'. Their relationship deteriorates to a point where Macbeth couldn't spare the time to look after her when she was sick in her mind, and showed no emotion when she committed suicide. Finally, it is important to note that Shakespeare seems to draw the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth very much as a linked and complimentary pair: when Macbeth is weak and indecisive, Lady Macbeth is strong and vibrant; when Macbeth is heartless and determined, Lady Macbeth is tormented and disintegrating. Their fates are inextricably joined, but Lady Macbeth's role and character support Macbeth's destiny; while Macbeth is too preoccupied with his own role to support her. Shankar Suresh Page 1 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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