• 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
  10. 10

The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


English GCSE coursework The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Macbeth and Lady Macbeth face an extraordinary situation involving a strong supernatural theme and murder and treason of the highest kind. However Shakespeare still cleverly manages to make Lady Macbeth and Macbeth relate to audiences of all eras and to convey a strong moral message within his play. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is fascinating to study. Shakespeare constantly changes their attitude to each other throughout the play, making it hard to form a clear-cut opinion of their relationship. My personal opinion is that, although events in the play certainly draw Macbeth and Lady Macbeth apart, their love for one another is evident throughout the play. Having encountered the witches, Macbeth sends a letter to his wife informing her of their prophecies. In the Elizabethan and Jacobean times the Divine Right of Kings claimed that Kings were appointed directly by God, and were therefore answerable to only God. This meant that to resist a King was sinful, and so to murder a King was to commit utmost sin against God. By sending his wife a letter with such treasonable contents, Macbeth demonstrates an incredible trust in Lady Macbeth. I believe that Macbeth's main motivation for sending the letter was his recognition of his own weakness. Upon hearing the witches' prophecies Macbeth interprets them himself, and speculates that the murder of Duncan is necessary for his immediate claim to the throne. However he is unwilling to take the responsibility and blame of murdering Duncan alone, and so by sending Lady Macbeth the letter, Macbeth hands the 'task' to her. Thus he provides himself with an authoritative figure behind whom he may hide. He recognises that Lady Macbeth is strong and impulsive, and knows that she is likely to act upon what she reads. By letting his wife announce that they must kill Duncan, Macbeth is able to offload some of the guilt of the deed onto her - he uses Lady Macbeth as a scapegoat for his already guilty conscience. ...read more.


It is obvious that Lady Macbeth considers her femininity to be a potential downfall, as she asks to be unsexed. She also says 'fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty' - she asks the witches to give her more evil, but when talking to Macbeth she gives the impression that she already has the required evil and such qualities to commit any crime. This self doubt is backed up by her pleas to the witches that 'no compunctious visiting of nature Shake [her] fell purpose, not keep peace between Th' effect and it'. Lady Macbeth recognises that she too has some humanity in her, which must be ousted before she is affected by those same qualities in Macbeth when he arrives home. She fears that if this happens, their actions will be impeded and the deed will never be done. However, Lady Macbeth admits no such doubts to Macbeth. In order to convince Macbeth of her strength, she even speaks about killing her own child were it necessary. An act of this kind suggests the utmost strength and evil in a person, as a mother and her child have a strong bond. Not only does Lady Macbeth talk of killing the child, she refers to a brutal murder - 'And dash'd the brains out' - in order to enforce her strength on Macbeth and make him feel the extremity of his supposed inferiority to her. She says that she would be willing to do this 'had [she] so sworn as [he Had] done to this [the plan]' Here Lady Macbeth tries to make herself seem more respectable than her husband - she plays on Macbeth's male strengths. She does so because in Elizabethan and Jacobean times, the strength and masculine qualities of a man were greatly respected, and for Macbeth to have fewer such qualities than his wife would have been a source of shame. ...read more.


And so, although Macbeth seemed to grow unaffectionate and hard towards his wife at the end of the play, he must still have loved her. Macbeth ends his soliloquy; 'it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.' The last line, 'signifying nothing' is very dramatic as it does not follow the rhythm of the rest of the lines. Rather than having five strong beats (the pattern that the rest of the paragraph follows) this line has two strong beats and then a sudden stop with the word 'nothing'. This draws attention to the word 'nothing' showing Macbeth's feelings - his life has come to an abrupt and unexpected halt with Lady Macbeth's death, and Macbeth is left with 'nothing'. The loss of Lady Macbeth's love was the worst thing that could have happened to him, and therefore the only thing that could break down the wall which he had erected to shield himself from the consequences of his actions. Although it was not always apparent, I believe that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth loved one another strongly throughout the play. Their relationship definitely deteriorated as the play went on, due to the acts committed and the conscience of each person. The deeds which the pair carry out in the play meant that the public opinion of them deteriorated dramatically. Macbeth, who was considered to be a worthy man, became a treacherous fiend, and Lady Macbeth, the 'doting wife', became a self-created devil. Shakespeare adds dramatic irony here regarding the opinion of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Duncan, who thought most highly of the pair, was murdered by them. This sense of the betrayal of a friend contributed to the ill opinion of the pair at the end of the play. Shakespeare wrote 'Macbeth' very cleverly. He established a strong sense of moral justice in the play - a wrong deed will always catch up with you. In the case of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, it was through loneliness, heartbreak and death. GCSE Macbeth coursework - Jan. 2004. Hannah Fulford ...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)

    These conflicting images show the first break in their relationship by highlighting their completely different opinions of the murder. Lady Macbeth sees water as a way of hiding their guilt, but Macbeth is so traumatised that he can only imagine blood turning all the water in the sea red, portraying

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

    3 star(s)

    The next scene that Lady Macbeth appears in is Act 1, Scene 6, where she has a brief appearance. She comes in simply to welcome Duncan with elaborate courtesy, almost over the top in her greeting. She is obviously making every effort to lull Duncan into a false sense of security.

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

    In the next section of this play, the audience will see the conflicts that Macbeth faces with his wife and his own self, and delve into the subject of how Macbeth was persuaded to kill the King Duncan. The instant Macbeth returns to his home, Lady Macbeth rushes out to

  2. Discuss how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth and how her character develops during the play

    Shakespeare includes Act 4 Scene 2 to use Lady Macduff as a female comparison against which to measure Lady Macbeth. Lady Macduff and Lady Macbeth both represent the role of a wife whose husband is on a mission and are characteristically similar in the fact that they are critical of

  1. The letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth

    Macbeth Macbeths Diary I have tonight done the deed. I feel reprehensible as I came the stairs I had blood on my hand, I then said "this is a sorry sight" I am shattered to witness this blood, all the seas in the could not wash off the blood, this awful blood will always stay with me and it will haunt me for the remainder of my life.

  2. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    This is also proof that the witches are malicious, scheming old hags that only want to harm and hinder, not to help people as they might say they would. When the witches see Macbeth, they get excited and start chanting: 'A drum, a drum!

  1. How Lady Macbeth changes throughout the play

    Lady Macbeth was really there as the power of the plan. She told Macbeth what to do, and he reported back to her when he had completed the task. The result was to share between them, so they worked together.

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

    previous scene, which I have studied); but from now on the audience may query this response as her character develops into a more tragic figure. So, in her first speech, she accuses Macbeth of three things, these are that he is a coward; accuses him of being drunk when he

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