• 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...

Introduction

'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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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)

    Now he has been left to his own thoughts for a while, he has began to think back to all the times that Duncan has helped and honoured him, and is quickly coming up with more and more reasons against going ahead with the murder.

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

    she makes Macbeth see the deed of evil as being quite normal and flawless as she soothes her husband's tattered nerves. Lady Macbeth is also quite distraught, however she seems to gain strength from her husband's weakness, which allows her to again make Macbeth believe that the murder of Duncan wasn't as sinister as he makes it out to be.

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

    "Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand." In Act 3, we see Lady Macbeth's vulnerability coming through, but only when she's on her own. We can see that she is troubled by guilt "tis safer to be that which we destroy than destruction dwell in doubtful joy."

  1. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    Lady Macbeth also says; 'Art not without ambition, but without The illness that should attend it', which shows that Lady Macbeth considers herself to be the 'illness' that Macbeth needs, or as Macbeth says, the 'spur' that he needs. I think that Shakespeare was trying to say here that ambition

  2. How does Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship change and develop during the play?

    all that makes her a woman in order to further her husband's ambitions. When asking the spirits to "pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell" she is asking that her thoughts be hid. Similarly Macbeth spoke "let not light see my black and deep desires".

  1. How is Macbeth persuaded to kill Duncan: Is his wife entirely to blame?

    The abundance of her clever word play add to her role as the dominant figure, slowly dragging Macbeth down until he questions, semi-persuaded "If we should fail." As soon as these words leave his Macbeth's mouth, she knows that she has won.

  2. The letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth

    I am afraid of what I have done, I am in torment, I cannot think about anything it will not leave my mind. I am obsessed with thoughts of damnation. I cannot get back to normal as this will always be in my mind and it will curse my mind.

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