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Explore the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the early scenes of Shakespeare's play. Make specific reference to Act 1, Sc 5 and 7 and Act 2, Scene 2.

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Introduction

Explore the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the early scenes of Shakespeare's play. Make specific reference to Act 1, Sc 5 and 7 and Act 2, Scene 2. At the beginning of Act 1, Scene 5, we see Lady Macbeth reading a letter from her husband. This letter outlines Macbeth's battle with the Norweyans and his meeting with the three witches. He also tells his wife that he has been honoured by his King, and has a new title, Thane of Cawdor, thus fulfilling the first of the witches prophecies. Macbeth tells his wife that the witches hailed him "King that shalt be, and addresses her as his "partner of greatness". This can been seen as a sign of a good relationship. Macbeth is telling his wife of something major that may happen to him, and trusts her. He also calls he his 'partner' of greatness, telling us that the Macbeth believes he and his wife are of equal stature and have ambition for each other. This shows a balanced relationship. Macbeth trusts his wife implicitly when he tells her of the witches prophecies, "Lay it to thy heart", He says in a conspiratorial tone. Lady Macbeth obviously knows her husband's character well, and knows would be more than hesitant about killing his own King for his own gain, but that he is, "... ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth feels alone and in isolation. He has no one to turn to, to discuss his intent to be king. He cannot tell any of his other house guests that he is considering to kill his king. Macbeth makes a decision not to attempt to kill the king, and knows only his greedy ambition is making him even consider this vile act, "................................I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself, And falls on th' other-" At this point Lady Macbeth interrupts his quiet thought. This is a pivotal point in the play. Macbeth has clearly made up his mind not to kill Duncan, "We will proceed no further in this business," but Lady Macbeth thinks she can convince him otherwise. Lady Macbeth seems horrified at her husbands apparent weakness. Macbeth is a brave warrior, who has killed for his country many times, but will not take a dagger to a single man in his own home, ".........................Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteems'st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would'" Their now seems to be immense tension on the once flourishing relationship. Macbeth is disgusted that he may be called a coward, and claims he would do anything any other man would, and more, "I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none." ...read more.

Conclusion

"Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep,' the innocent sleep." His wife's cool calm exterior appears to be at breaking point, and her frustration is obvious at her husband, and compares him to a frightened child, " Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead Are but pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood That fears the painted devil" Shakespeare now uses knocking as a stage device, signifying the urgency of the situation. The couple have no time to brood over their actions, but still lady Macbeth manages to keep her composure, under immense pressure, "My hands are of your colour; but I shame To wear a heart so white [knock within] I hear a knocking At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber." Macbeth now completely regrets the nights incidences and wants to undo the horror he laid upon his king, "to know my deed, 'twere best not know my self [Knock within Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst." By the end of this scene, we see the once close and happy couple growing further and further apart. Lady Macbeth concerns herself with the immediate future, whereas he husband is emotionally shattered, and will never be the same man again. This violent scene is the beginning of the constant corrosion, which plagues the couple throughout the play, eventually resulting in complete communication breakdown. Paul Gormley 12B English Coursework Macbeth/Lady Macbeth Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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