• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

How Does The Relationship Of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Changes Throughout The Play?

Extracts from this document...


How Does The Relationship Of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Changes Throughout The Play? Macbeth is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare during the English Renaissance in 1606. The outline of the play is true but it was adapted by Shakespeare in order to make the play more eventful. The play, at the time, was considered controversial. The idea of witches being portrayed was judged as alarming because at that time they were considered by most as real. Also the killing of a king was controversial, the king was considered to have been sent by God and was only answerable to God in his actions. Due to these issues the play has become well-known and there have been many films of Macbeth. There are many different interpretations of the text and this is reflected in the films as each one is different. Throughout the play the characters and their relationships with others change. It is necessary to outline these changes before looking more closely at the text. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is seen as a valiant soldier who is loyal to King Duncan. Yet, because of the weakness of Macbeth's character, he is corrupted by the witches' predictions and by Lady Macbeth's strong character and ambition. Macbeth's ambition is great but his conscience stops him from committing murder. However, due to Lady Macbeth's persuasive and calculating ways, she is not only able to convince Macbeth to be a part of the killing but actually make him kill the king. Fear begins to motivate Macbeth after committing the first murder. After the killing of Banquo it can be seen that he is not pure evil and his conscience brings him hallucinations of the ghost of Banquo. Lady Macbeth seems to be the complete opposite to Macbeth as she seems mentally strong. As already established, she is able to persuade Macbeth to murder the king as she shared the same ambition as Macbeth. ...read more.


She uses emotional blackmail to persuade her husband to proceed with this ambitious enterprise. Lady Macbeth often questions his courage: "...And live a coward in thine own esteem..."(Line 42). "When you durst do it, then you were a man."(Line 49). She makes an analogy to emphasise the importance of Macbeth keeping his word: "I have given suck and know/How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me/I would, while it was smiling in my face/Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums/And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you /As you have done this."(Line 54-59). After reassuring him that if he keeps his courage the plan shall not fail, Lady Macbeth suggests that they drug the king's chamberlains and then blame them for the killing of the king. Macbeth then tells Lady Macbeth that "I am settled"(Line 79). It is now necessary to study the murder scene. Lady Macbeth confirms in her soliloquy at the start that the guards have been drugged. She though has become energised by the same drink, as she anticipates the return of Macbeth. When Macbeth arrives she is concerned that he has not done the deed. She speaks of how easy it was to kill Duncan and how she would have done it if it did not resemble her "father as he slept"(Line 14). This shows that Lady Macbeth has some humanity. Macbeth reveals to Lady Macbeth that he has done the deed and asks if she heard anything. She replies that she heard "the owl scream and the crickets cry."(Line 15). Both of these are associated with death. However it could mean that she heard nothing unnatural. Macbeth begins to become obsessed. He insists that the guards woke up: "one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried/'Murder!'"(Line 24-25). He becomes preoccupied because after the guards said "'God bless us!' and 'Amen'..."(Line 29), he could not say 'Amen'. ...read more.


She then recollects the death of Macduff's wife and children: "Where is she now? What, will these hands ever be clean?"(Line 37). She also describes the murder of Banquo and the knocking at the door the morning after the death of Duncan. Lady Macbeth is consumed by fear and guilt. Not only is she guilty because of the part she played in the murder of Duncan, but also changing Macbeth from a faithful, fearless soldier to a cold, callous killer. Now, having studied the main scenes, it is necessary to reveal detailed changes of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The weakness of Macbeth's character is his downfall, he is corrupted by the witches' predictions and by Lady Macbeth's strong character and ambition. He never loses his conscience or humanity, and it is fair, to say due to Lady Macbeth's persuasive and calculating ways, he kills the king. Macbeth obviously loves his wife at this stage and respects her because otherwise he would not have been manipulated by Lady Macbeth. After the first murder, fear begins to motivate Macbeth. His wife becomes of minor importance as he continues with his own quest. Throughout the play we see Macbeth, in times of desperation, need the help of Lady Macbeth. This shows that he still has respect for her. Their love for one another is unquestionable, even after Macbeth is lead astray by fear, he calls her "my dearest love", "my partner of greatness", "my dearest chuck". At the end of Act 3 Scene 4 they share a sentimental moment. Such is the extent of Macbeth's fear, they are never given the chance to recover, Macbeth becomes more reliant on the witches as Lady Macbeth feels more and more guilty, a feeling that even a woman of the strongest character cannot handle. The play suffers a lot of twists, as do the characters, but the one thing that can be applied from the start to the end: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." ...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)

    How and why does she change? She is still her evil manipulative self in I.vii Lady Macbeth where pushes her sceptical husband into the murder, "When you durst do it, then you were a man." She has the guts to go-ahead with the plan while Macbeth doubts.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    "From this time Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou Art in desire ? This is blatant emotional blackmail, but when Macbeth doesn't back down, she quickly gets more and more harsh with her words.

  1. How Does Shakespeare Present the Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    This is a massive contrast to the nervous wreck he was in the beginning of the play, when he killed Duncan, this shows just how much he's changed. When Macbeth hears that Lady Macbeth has died, he looks back on the pointlessness of his actions.

  2. In the beginning of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a loyal, valiant warrior ...

    Throughout the whole play Banquo is used as a contrast between good and evil. Macbeth now begins to lie Banquo. When Banquo says how he thinks of the "three Weird sisters" Macbeth lies "I think not of them" when that is really all he has done.

  1. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    can be a good thing, depending on the way it is used. Ambition is a good quality to have, so long as a person has enough sense and rational thought to balance it. He uses Lady Macbeth to portray a character that has much ambition but no sense or conscience

  2. Explain what Act 1, Scene 7 tells us about the characters of Macbeth and ...

    Lady Macbeth has cornered him. This would have struck a chord with the watching audience. The wives of powerful men in that age usually took a backstairs role, totally devoid of power but they would have realised from Lady Macbeth's actions that they could actually make a difference.

  1. Discuss the role of Lady Macbeth in the play. Is it Lady Macbeth or ...

    She feels that he has a soft personality, and does not have it in him to fight for this position. He is too decent a man to take advantage of this opportunity. Lady Macbeth thinks he has the ambition but lacks the courage.

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

    Lady Macbeth then asks when Duncan intends to leave. When Macbeth says tomorrow, Lady Macbeth replies "O never shall sun that morrow see!" She then says that Macbeth is too open, that his face is like a book. She tells him he needs to be more seductive if he wants to be King.

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