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

'My dearest partner of greatness'. Explore the Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Throughout the Play. What do You Consider the Role of Lady Macbeth to be in the Drama?

Extracts from this document...


'My dearest partner of greatness'. Explore the Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Throughout the Play. What do You Consider the Role of Lady Macbeth to be in the Drama? 'My dearest partner of greatness' is a quotation from a letter written by Macbeth to his wife. In this and the remainder of the letter, in which he shares the prophecy of the witches that he shall be king with Lady Macbeth, William Shakespeare show the closeness of the thane and his wife at the start of the play. Yet as the play develops and Macbeth's power increases, thanks to Lady Macbeth's ambition and strength, their roles appear to be reversed and their relationship deteriorates. While Macbeth the tyrant brutally rules Scotland without his wife's aid, she gradually loses control over not only her husband's actions, but also her own life, possibly as a direct result of the breakdown in communication with Macbeth. Without him confiding in her, she lacks completion and without her ambition for him she has no reason to be strong. She dies an undignified death while Macbeth, also lacking completion without his wife, loses his throne and life in battle. I believe that Shakespeare's portrayal of the relationship shows that the tragic ending to the play for both of the Macbeths is at least partly due to their relationship breakdown. It is immediately clear in Act One Scene Five, the first scene in which the audience see Lady Macbeth, that she and Macbeth are close. In the letter Macbeth calls his wife 'my dearest partner of greatness' which is used by Shakespeare to show how they share Macbeth's successes. He also says '...what greatness is promised thee.' Shakespeare's use of the word 'thee' shows that if he is to become king, she too will be powerful. Macbeth's letter also tells everything about his meeting with the witches, showing how he keeps nothing secret from her, which is a direct contrast with later in the play when he tells her nothing about his actions. ...read more.


After hardly being able to kill Duncan, he is now able to kill two innocent men very quickly without speaking to anyone else about it. He asserts himself much more and this probably stems from the murder of Duncan which he, rather than his wife, committed. Shakespeare includes this action to give another hint of the violence that is to come in Macbeth's character and to show the beginning of his character-change. The first hint of his violence is at the very beginning of the play when we are told that Macbeth 'unseamed (a traitor) from the nave to the chops' in battle. However there is a difference between the earlier violence for king and country and later violence for his own purposes and in Act Two Scene Three scene Shakespeare gives us the first indication that he may use his violence for himself. < a in says He him. worries this and kings be would children his that Banquo told also king becoming prophesied who witches, the knows over. takes really ambition powerful more therefore becomes Macbeth when is> 'To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus. ... For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind; For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered;' and decides without deliberation to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. He also makes this decision without making any suggestion of it to Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare is showing that they are no longer as close as they used to be as he does not tell her about everything. She is no longer his 'dearest partner of greatness' but he can be seen to be power-hungry and, not satisfied with what he already has, seeks further power for himself. The breakdown in communication between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is illustrated in Act Three Scene Two where Lady Macbeth has to ask permission to speak to her own husband. ...read more.


that he felt which would have meant that ambition or no ambition he would not have committed another murder or continued in his ruthless power quest which could have led to a quite different ending. In the latter situation she saves Macbeth from great embarrassment, humiliation and possibly the discovery of the truth by his thanes by keeping her control and providing an explanation and when they try to question him, she says, 'I pray you speak not / ...Question enrages him.' I also believe that in the back of Macbeth's mind he knows that if he makes a mistake or loses his control during his tyrannous reign, such as in the banquet scene, her control will be there to back him up and save the situation, so perhaps if she had not been there Macbeth would not have reigned in the same manner. Once she is dead he does not have this to fall back on, but it is too late to retract his actions and he has gone so far that he has tunnel vision towards absolute power and he can only continue. In conclusion, I believe that although Lady Macbeth catalysed the actions of Macbeth to kill Duncan and become king, they would have happened without her even if far more slowly. However she is a very important part of Macbeth's actions that followed, even though she is not consulted about them because it is she who persuades him to believe that what is done is done and it is the control and strength Macbeth knows she has that he can fall back on as he brutally follows his own ambition. Whatever the distance between them, she is a part of him and so when she dies, something is missing from his life even though he does not realise it as he has become so obsessed with his own quest for power. Therefore the tragic ending is the only one possible when the relationship breaks down and consequently Lady Macbeth dies. ...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, &amp;quot;Macbeth&amp;quot;?

    5 star(s)

    This is one of the several references in the play where Shakespeare has highlighted the differences between the traditional gender roles and where overlapping qualities of the different sexes are needed. Lady Macbeth wants to have masculine characteristics of violence, as well as manipulation.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    She has no trouble with coming out with any sort of lies so that her plans may run smoothly. This is evident of her character throughout the play. The next scene Lady Macbeth is in, Act 1, scene 7, is when she comes in straight after a monologue from Macbeth where he is struggling with his conscience.

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

    Although they are both feeling guilt, Lady Macbeth tries to stay strong when she is around Macbeth, "things with without all remedy should be without regard: what's done is done." This again shows Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth that the murder has happened and that he should get over it, as nothing can be done to change it.

  2. What impression do you get of Macbeth from the First Act?

    In Scene 4 we have little respect for Macbeth as we now see how loving, trustful and na�ve Duncan is. We pity him for being this way when he says about Macbeth's predecessor 'he was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust.'

  1. Imagine that Banquo also writes a letter to his wife. It would be a ...

    my deep inner thoughts I feel fear a dark unknown fear for the kings life and all that succeeds him. If the second prediction is correct I fail to see apart from murder how it would come about. A murder of the king is like killing your brother no matter what you always remain loyal.

  2. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    He also knows that by allowing Lady Macbeth to take up such a domineering role she will take the murder out of his hands, thus freeing him from a great deal of guilt. Upon receiving the letter, Lady Macbeth immediately responds to Macbeth's wishes, realising that it is necessary to kill Duncan.

  1. To what extent was Lady Macbeth responsible for Macbeths downfall?

    and notes its exhilarating affect: 'That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold; What hath quenched them, hath given me fire.' (Act 2 Scene 1 - lines 1-3) The fact that Lady Macbeth had to drug herself to make her brave again shows the audience weakness in the character of Lady Macbeth.

  2. How does the audience respond to the development of the character of Lady Macbeth?

    At the of the banquet scene (Act III Scene 4) the audience will have developed a more ambivalent view of Lady Macbeth's character. In Act II Scene 3, she fainted but they may be uncertain whether this was pretend. The audience already know that their relationship is slowly diminishing as

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