• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play?

Extracts from this document...


How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play? In "Macbeth", the relationship between the characters of Macbeth and his wife is central to the play. It highlights the development of their relationship and the tragedy which is at the heart of the play. The relationship deteriorates from one of affection & equality in Act I when Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth "My dearest partner in greatness" to that of seeming indifference to her suicide in Act 5 when he says "She should have died hereafter". At the start of the play, we are introduced to Macbeth as a brave soldier and an honourable man. He has been successful in battle, loyally defeating the rebels who threaten King Duncan. Ross describes him as "Bellona's bridegroom" worthy to marry the Goddess of War and King Duncan confers on him the title Thane of Cawdor which had been stripped from the rebel leader, calling him "noble Macbeth". Yet it is very shortly after when Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches that we begin to see Macbeth's ambition stirring. We see his suggestible nature being attracted towards the prospect that he might one day be king. ...read more.


Francesca Annis, the actress who played Lady Macbeth, wore white, which is a sign of purity and goodness, whereas traditionally one is lead to believe the Lady Macbeth is an evil woman. In the Royal Shakespeare Company's version Judi Dench wore black clothes throughout the film aswell as Macbeth to depict the darkness of the evil forces at work as black has always been used in imagery to signify evil. Macbeth's soliloquy in Act I Scene 7 reveals the decline of his moral sense. He cannot bring himself to reject the idea of assassinating Duncan and yet his conscience is deeply troubled. He wants to be king if "It were done quickly" and would be successful. However, Duncan is his lord, a relative and a guest and Duncan is a good king and "Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels." He tells her that he cannot kill Duncan because "He hath honoured me of late" and that this would cause him to lose the "Golden opinions" won by victory in battle. In response, Lady Macbeth berates him, angrily accusing him of being "a coward in thine own esteem". ...read more.


However Macbeth backs away from "bare-faced power" and will not murder Banquo himself. Although he distrusts and despises the murderers he employs them whilst keeping his plans from Lady Macbeth. She is unhappy, scolding him about brooding on "what's done is done" (Scene 2) and isolating himself. Here they are both uncertain and insecure. He is caught up in his own plans and she senses his withdrawal from her. When Macbeth reveals that he plans to deal with Banquo, he shows that he has become more dominant in the relationship by dominating the conversation. Lady Macbeth defers to him and he is affectionate and protective of her saying "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,". Their roles are now beginning to reverse and Macbeth begins to assert his dominance. After Banquo's murder, Macbeth's mental fragility increases. Each time he tries to praise Banquo at the banquet, Banquo's ghost appears making him visibly distressed and causing the banquet to end in chaos. Lady Macbeth acts quickly to cover up Macbeth's guilt being revealed by claiming that he is ill but they are both under increasing strain. Macbeth begins to talk of himself alone and his speeches are full of "I" not "we" as before. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Lady Macbeth change throughout the play, "Macbeth"?

    5 star(s)

    and "joy" and the rhythm in the verse stresses the another pair of conflicting words, "safer" and "destruction". Lady Macbeth then spends the whole of Act IV offstage. Shakespeare deliberately does this to show us how isolated she has now become from the action.

  2. How Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play

    dreadful crime, Macbeth has visions as he is walking about the castle in the dark. The dagger he sees before him leads the way to the King. After the murder, Macbeth appears shocked and afraid. Lady Macbeth comforts him and assures him he has done well.

  1. 'My dearest partner of greatness'. Explore the Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Throughout ...

    She is acting to move events forward as quickly as possible and now she has made up her mind she will not let anything get in the way of her ambition. She says, 'you shall put / This night's great business into my dispatch;' and when Macbeth tries to suggest

  2. How does the Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the Play?

    Shakespeare also shows her harshness by the use of language where he uses alliteration and sibilance in, 'murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances' and imagery in phrases such as, 'thick night' and, 'dunnest smoke of hell' to show the severity of her desire to kill Duncan without remorse.

  1. How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play?

    Ironically Lady Macbeth is his partner in marriage and will soon be his partner in a crime (murder). Macbeth also calls his wife "my dearest love" again confirming that they have a very loving relationship. After Lady Macbeth reads the letter, she decides that she wants her husband to become king by whatever means possible.

  2. Show how the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth changes and deteriorates in the ...

    Unsex me here." She wants to be made insensitive so her conscience won't interfere with her plans. When Macbeth enters she praises him with "Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! Greater than both, by the all hail hereafter!" Macbeth refuses to be swayed and sticks to his point, he tells his wife that Duncan is coming to stay tonight.

  1. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    lose the dues of rejoicing' (Act 1, Scene 5:11), that he loves his wife. He calls her his 'dearest partner of greatness', he talks of 'what greatness is promised thee' (Act 1, Scene 5:5,11) and from the moment the murder is committed, apart from an interlude at the banquet, it is he who tries to protect her.

  2. How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play?

    by calling on the spirits of evil to "unsex me here", and to rid her of any womanly compassion in order to carry out the murder of Duncan. The first major threat to their relationship is Macbeth's change of mind about killing Duncan: "We will proceed no further in this business" in Act 1, scene 7.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work