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Macbeth - the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

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Introduction

The play of Macbeth is all about power and greed. It is about ambition overriding inhibitions and the conscience of a good man. Macbeth is portrayed as a good and a brave man at the start of the book, for example King Duncan himself refers to him as "O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!" He is admired for his skills in battle by everyone. It is hard to say what driving force underlies the events of the story, but the relation and power balance in the marriage of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, can be interpreted as to the cause of Macbeth's eventual downfall. Lady Macbeth plays a key role in influencing her husband to take the path that he does. From the very beginning Lady Macbeth is presented as ambitious and driving as shown by the quote "That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th�effect and it..." When she says this she means that nothing will prevent her from fulfilling her aim, and that pity will have no effect on her. Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a very determined person in the play. She seems very unfeminine and sometimes even evil. She is also highly ambitious and therefore becomes the catalyst that effectively unleashes Macbeth's true side of evil. Throughout the play we can see that she has a strong influence on him and is a primary cause for increasing Macbeth's ambition. ...read more.

Middle

She says 'screw your courage to the sticking-place' to make him more evil and confident about his actions. This to Macbeth, a proud and mighty warrior is a deep insult, and he soon is convinced that he will carry out the murder. Lady Macbeth's cold hearted side again shows, saying she would 'dash� out the brains of her own child because she is so sure Macbeth should kill Duncan. We also see how Lady Macbeth's influence has rubbed off on Macbeth, as he says 'False face must hide what the false heart doth know�, which is very similar to Lady Macbeth's words of the 'innocent flower� earlier. In Act two, after murdering Duncan, Macbeth says 'This is a sorry sight�, but Lady Macbeth again shows her power over Macbeth. 'A foolish thing to say a sorry sight�. This shows how she is still callous, as she thinks it is 'foolish� for a man to show remorse at a murder he committed. She orders him to not think 'so deeply�, saying that thinking about the deed 'will make us mad� and 'unbend your noble strength�. Here we see a slightly weaker side to Lady Macbeth; she is herself feeling vulnerable to guilt, almost immediately after the murder. This is shown in 'will make us mad�. The 'us� shows that she is no longer only concerned for Macbeth, but is worried about her own mental state too, fretting that she may go mad with guilt. ...read more.

Conclusion

He does not bother to tell his wife about his plans of hiring murderers to kill Banquo and Macduff's family. In other words, Lady Macbeth cannot be completely blamed for Macbeth's downfall as she does not play a strong part in the later stages of the play, and other sources such as the witches and as we see, the idea of becoming King obviously appealed to him for him to continue pursuing his ill ambition. Thus, Lady Macbeth can be seen as to have simply pushed Macbeth at the right time, as from the later parts in the play; Macbeth looses the need for his wife's influence as he already has the instinct for evil and tyranny. Though Lady Macbeth plays the dominant role throughout the opening scenes asserting her ambition to gain hierarchic status for herself and her husband she loses importance as the play progresses. The relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth clearly illustrates this change. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, who were very loving and close to each other at the start of the play, slowly drift apart as both of them take different approaches to the murder of Duncan. Macbeth becomes evil despite being remorseful, while Lady Macbeth becomes a helpless and guilty individual full of regret for what she has done. Eventually, she is unable to come to terms with the fact that her plan for status has failed, and she has lost her loving husband, and therefore kills herself, finally displaying her feminine and weak side as compared to Macbeth who fights till the end. ...read more.

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