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How does Shakespeare contrast the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Sc. V and Act 3 Sc. II?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare contrast the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Sc. V and Act 3 Sc. II? In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare there are two major characters, Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth. Throughout the play, they come up with several plans to obtain power. The magnitude of their relationship alternates as the plot develops, each one gaining power at different moments. This 'shift' in power affects the way in which they relate to each other. In the two specified scenes one can see each character abusing their power; taking it to extremes. In Act 1 sc. V, it is evident that throughout the scene Lady Macbeth is the one who is in power; this is visible through the way that they speak to each other. The first thing the audience is likely to notice in this scene is that Lady Macbeth is the one who speaks the most and thus she seems to take control of the situation and in consequence of her husband. Shakespeare also makes her more demanding compared to Macbeth, giving Macbeth orders on how to behave. ...read more.

Middle

In order to express Lady Macbeth's desires to have the power and control Shakespeare fills her speeches with powerful imagery giving the effect that Lady Macbeth is desperate to have control and will do anything to get it; this point is seen near the very beginning of the scene. Lady Macbeth - "...unsex me here and fill me...of direst cruelty..." Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to make her evil, by making Lady Macbeth's speech to the spirits it makes her appear grand because she is asking the spirits to do her a favour. Shakespeare ends this scene with Lady Macbeth speaking the last words. By giving her the last words the audience is sure that she is the one in power. "Leave all the rest to me." Shakespeare also made Lady Macbeth's last words very powerful in meaning, making Lady Macbeth appear to be superior and powerful as she is the one making the plans for Macbeth. Shakespeare ends this scene very well by making Lady Macbeth's last words effective and powerful, something the audience will remember. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare seems to have created a pattern in the way they treat each other in correlation to who is in power. In the first scene discussed when Lady Macbeth is in power, it is evident to the audience how Macbeth feels about his wife when he calls her "My dearest love". This gives the audience the sense that Macbeth is weak trying to stay on his wife's 'good side', this can also show fear or insecurity and therefore, compared to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth appears to be more confident and consequently more powerful. Ironically in this scene the audience can see that Macbeth, who is not in power, sees himself and his wife as equals when he says 'Dearest Partner of greatness'. In the second scene chosen, where Macbeth is more powerful, the audience can perceive that Macbeth is not so weak or insecure any more but rather the opposite even degrades his wife, who used to have such a great effect over him, by referring to her as 'dearest chuck'. In this seen Lady Macbeth then seems to take the position that Macbeth used to have, referring to Macbeth as her "dear lord", in the first scene and here is another result due to the shift in power. ...read more.

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