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Discuss What Shakespeare Conveys About Macbeth and Lady Macbeths Relationship in Act 1, Act 2 (scene2) and Act 3 (scenes 2 and 4) Through Their Speeches and Actions

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Introduction

Discuss What Shakespeare Conveys About Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's Relationship in Act 1, Act 2 (scene2) and Act 3 (scenes 2 and 4) Through Their Speeches and Actions At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 5 Macbeth writes a letter to Lady Macbeth illustrating the witches' prophecies. Macbeth refers to his wife as "my dearest partner of greatness" and the immediate need to tell her of the situation, that he will be "King hereafter", reveals the closeness between them. Shortly after, we acknowledge Lady Macbeth's intimate understanding of her husband and describes him as "too full o'th'milk of human kindness" to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth realizes that Macbeth's high level of morality could be a crucial obstacle in the way of both their ambitions, her becoming Queen and him King. However this is hugely ironic and a contradiction to her initial judgement of Macbeth as it is Lady Macbeth who ends up "full o'th'milk of human kindness" and demises into madness. Plagued by the guilt and remorse of her actions, "had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't", and consequences of events, Lady Macbeth ultimately commits suicide. Further into scene 5, it is clear that Lady Macbeth is eager for Macbeth to return so that "I may pour my spirits in thine ear And chastise with valour of my tongue". ...read more.

Middle

"Such I account thy love. Art thou afeared To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou art in desire?" "When you durst do it, then you were a man" "But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we'll not fail." Lady Macbeth successfully questions all the things she knew were Macbeth's weak spots and as a result of this, Macbeth succumbs to her influence and decides to kill the king. This allows the audience to see that the relationship is based on trust. This is demonstrated by fact that Macbeth listens to his wife and ultimately takes what she has to say into account, then carries through with it. In Act 2, scene 2 of the play the contrast between Lady Macbeth's 'manly' strength and Macbeth's vulnerability intensifies and the cracks in their relationship become visible. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth is tormented by a guilty conscience and is terrified of the repercussions to follow. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?" Macbeth is coming to terms with the fact that no amount of water will wash away what he has done; he now has to face up to it. In comparison to this, Lady Macbeth instead says "A little water clears us of this deed". She thinks that by washing away the physical evidence, it will also clean them of the emotional consequences; this illustrates her strength of mind whereas Macbeth is losing his nerve. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Thou canst not say I did it; never shake Thy gory locks at me! The effect of Banquo's murder has added to Macbeth's already troubled mind and he diminishes further into insanity. Lady Macbeth, however, maintains composure and rescues Macbeth from his weak conscience. "Sit worthy friends. My lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth." The atmosphere is extremely tense and Lady Macbeth is terrified that Macbeth will give away their evil deeds. She takes him aside in attempt to calm him but her insults have no affect on Macbeth and the influence she held over him at the start of the play is now broken. Lady Macbeth then questions his manhood as it appeared successful previously; "Are you a man?" Macbeth replies with "Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that Which might appal the devil". This marks the collapse in their relationship as Macbeth no longer needs his wife for motivation or for strength and the emotional consequences of his actions have finally caught up with him. In conclusion, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth shared a close relationship at the beginning of the play. They both knew that Macbeth had too much moral fibre to kill Duncan and so he sought his wife for encouragement and strength. However, when Macbeth operates independently and Lady Macbeth loses influence over him, their intimacy deteriorates ultimately resulting in Macbeth, still manically ambitious and Lady Macbeth, insane with fear and remorse. They no longer know each other and their once strong relationship collapses under the pressure of it all. ...read more.

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