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

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Introduction

How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play? Macbeth was one of Shakespeare's last plays that he wrote in Elizabethan times in 1606. It was written for the new king, James I (James VI of Scotland), following the death of Queen Elizabeth. James was interested in witchcraft and Scotland, and hence the themes in the play. One of the aspects that made James more interested in the play was that he believed (as did many others) that Banquo was James's ancestor. Shakespeare found the story of Macbeth in The History of Scotland, by Raphael Holinshed. Shakespeare made changes to the facts that Raphael had written down, making his version much more dramatic. This is because in the original version Banquo (James' ancestor) helped Macbeth in the murder of King Duncan, yet in Shakespeare's version Banquo is innocent. The reason for this is that if Banquo was seen as killing the King then because James being a descendant of Banquo he would have been seen as a murder or have the potential to, therefore it would be an insult the play was, therefore, changed to please the king. The play, Macbeth was set in Medieval Scotland, and as the title suggests it focuses on the actions and events which Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth take part in. Throughout the play different situations such as ambition, chaos and good versus evil, change the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and eventually weakens it. As theses themes unfold the deceit that is growing with the plays on their consciences. Macbeth first encounters the three witches on his way back from a battle he fought alongside King Duncan. The witches foretold of Macbeth's future and how he would be Thane of Cawdor. In a letter to Lady Macbeth, he told his wife of this meeting. At this early point in the play it is evident that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have a strong relationship, this is because of the fact that he wrote the letter to her which shows that he can confide his news in her. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth is showing signs of regret for taking part in the murder of Duncan, because she no longer seems to have power over her husband and doesn't know what he's up to. "Nought's had, all's spent, where our desire is got without content: 'T is safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy." Here Lady Macbeth is saying that they have given everything yet have achieved nothing. This is especially so as neither her nor Macbeth are happy with what they have got. When Macbeth enters the scene Lady Macbeth talks to him in a mocking tone, she tries to make a mockery of him and have the control that she once had over him back, because she now feels that he is keeping things to himself instead of sharing them with him as he once did. Macbeth talks to his wife in way which shows he doesn't care about what she says to him. however, because they are having a banquet that night lady Macbeth tells her husband to be jolly and greet his guest in that sort of way. She says this to him because of the tone her spoke to her in, it came across as tired and she thought that he needed to snap back into reality. Macbeth then replies to her that she should flatter Banquo, and tells her what to do, he takes the driving seat in the relationship. "So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you: Let your remembrance apply to Banquo; Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue: Unsafe the while, that we must lave our honours in these flattering streams, And make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are." Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship roles within in the relationship are changing, whereas once they would confided and tell each other everything Macbeth is now holding back and being secretive. Macbeth also neglects to tell Lady Macbeth the full extent of his plans. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, as soon as a messenger enters the scene Macbeth carries on like the way he was before as if for only a split second that he was beginning to feel something but it seemed to him that war was more important than mourning for his wife's death. Their relationship had changed from equality to Lady Macbeth being stronger then spiralling down into madness and Macbeth became the stronger one. From the evidence above, it is clear that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had a very strong relationship at the beginning of the play, this can be told by the way in which they speak to each other i.e. Macbeth calling his wife "my dearest partner of greatness". After the murder a clear deterioration of their relationship can be seen. The shared grief of their relationship was more then anything else which drove them apart and was the downfall in their relationship. In a sense now his ambition has been fulfilled he can do as he sees fit, however, he excludes his wife from his plans whereas before he would tell her everything and even though he is cold towards his wife she sticks by him in the banquet scene which is Act 3 Scene 4. However, because Lady Macbeth and her husband become so detached from each other lady Macbeth is driven to madness and Macbeth is willing to die fighting for his position as king. At the beginning of the play they were equals in their relationship, but when Lady Macbeth calls upon the evil spirits, they are no longer equals and lady Macbeth is 'wearing the trousers' in the relationship, then their roles very slowly begin to swap over during and after the murder of Duncan. This is until Macbeth has become the stronger character and Lady Macbeth barely gets a look in, therefore highlighting how the murder changes their relationship for worse. ?? ?? ?? ?? Macbeth Essay 1 ...read more.

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