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

Analysis of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


English Literature GCSE Essay Piece : Character analysis of Lady Macbeth and her relationship with Macbeth Lady Macbeth is a complex and intriguing character - she presents various elements in her character, often surprising us with sudden turns of personality. This reflects with Macbeth and her, causing various changes in their relationship - drawing them both closer together, and pushing them away from one another. When we first meet Lady Macbeth in Act One, Scene 5, she is reading Macbeths letter. This is the letter that openly tells word for word what happened and what the witches told Macbeth. He obviously had no hesitation in being so open with his wife, which is notable. Straight away, Lady Macbeth takes from the letter her own interpretation, saying that she knows that Macbeth must now kill Duncan so that he can be King as the witches have said, but she also analyses his nature from the letter, fearing that he will be too good natured to carry it out. This suggests that she knows at this point that she is going to have to persuade him. As the scene progresses, an Attendant comes in and tells Lady Macbeth that the King is on his way to the castle to stay with them. Once he leaves, Lady Macbeth is speaking as if she is ultimately sure that this murder will go ahead. But she is fully aware that it is going to be emotionally very difficult to go through with, and she calls upon evil spirits to assist her murderous plans. "Come, you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here And fill me from crown to the toe top full Of direst cruelty;" She does not want to have any human emotion within her, as she knows that that will cause her to possibly back down and not go through with her plans, so she begs that she lose her inner feelings of conscience; "Stop th'access and passage to remorse That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between Th'effect of it." ...read more.


Then however, Macbeth turns his attentions to telling his wife to pay special attentions to Banquo that night at the banquet. He hints darkly to her of dark deeds going ahead that night. This is almost teasing her with information-he knows that she thrives on being the one in control and is almost lavish with his words. At this, Lady Macbeth says nothing, but we can but imagine how she would be feeling to have the notion that Macbeth is doing things without her guidance or leadership. The next scene she is in is Act 3 Scene 4. Banquo has now been killed by Macbeths hired murderers. This scene is the all important banquet scene. It is a banquet held by Macbeth and his Lady, to welcome all of the lords under him, and essentially to try and impress them so that they will support him. Therefore it is undoubtedly very important for everything to go well. The very beginning of the scene shows Macbeth welcoming them all, and inviting them to sit down. The murderers then enter to inform him of Banquo's death, and Fleance's escape. Macbeth is distressed at the news of Fleance's escape, but soon consoles himself that Fleance is too young to do any harm. Then, Banquo's ghost appears, and sits in Macbeths seat. Lennox urges him to sit down with them, but Macbeth denies that there is space for him to sit down. A small discussion takes place in which they are all urging Macbeth to sit down, and Macbeth continues to deny there is space! He then becomes increasingly upset, and accuses the Lords of putting Banquo's ghost there. Sensing that there will be trouble, Lady Macbeth intervenes and tries to calm the situation, and the confused Lords, by telling them that Macbeth is having a momentary lapse, and not to encourage him as it will upset him further; "Sit, worthy friends. ...read more.


Macbeth took first steps towards less dependence when he went and killed the guards. This was not an apparent part of Lady Macbeths plan, and this unsettled her. But still she took charge of the situation by fainting, to draw away attention from his unintended actions. Then, he took further steps by arranging Banquo and Fleance to be murdered, and then Macduff's family. Most importantly in it all, Macbeth did not tell Lady Macbeth of his actions. Instead he teased her with the notion of his plots and plans, leaving her ponder. He most probably enjoyed this mockery of his wife, as it was a large statement in their relationship, which once had been based on his dependence. He continues after all this to keep breaking away from her. He stops telling her his thoughts and plans entirely, and in accordance to this, Lady Macbeth loses her somewhat vital status, which is essentially what she thrived on, and how was the only way to keep their relationship going in the only way she knew how. So inexorably she gets to a point when she is only left to her own thoughts which she has in the past shied away from through putting all her efforts into her husband and his welfare. Off-stage, she dies, although it is never made clear how. We are left to assume that as foreseen by the doctor she died in her bed of such a burdened heart. Alternatively she may have taken her own life, or "fallen on roman daggers", as it described as earlier in the play. As described earlier Macbeth takes this to his own heart as another 'fault' in his own life, and shortly after this point is justifiably murdered himself, by Macduff, whose family Macbeth earlier killed. Earlier in the play, Lady Macbeth sums up the futility of their actions and almost a premonition of what lay ahead was summed up when she said; "Nought's had, all's spent Where our desire is got without content. 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy." ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Some good interpretations are considered in this essay; however the structure of the essay doesn't illustrate a depth of knowledge of the characters. In order to make the analysis the focus of the response always relate the points to language, structure and form and use quotes to support the points where relevant. Avoid overusing quotes and making them too lengthy.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 10/06/2013

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. English essay on horror, tension and suspense

    She felt that this was an abundant home. The old lady was still not conversing with Mary. She just walked with her crooked stick. As Mary walked through the lounge, the floors creaked and water dripped down from the dirty roof. She followed the old lady directing the way. Mary moved along slowly, everything was silent.

  2. Macbeth Act 1 Scene 7

    As the play continues, Macbeth continues to grow in strength and eventually loses all respect from the audience "I'm in blood steeped so far". This shows he has now lost his conscience - and no longer cares who he kills - viciously killing Macduff's family.

  1. How does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth's character and how does it change during the ...

    and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this." This combination of questions and past memories causes Macbeth to crack and give in. This is another example of how cruel, determined, and callous Lady Macbeth can be.

  2. The Witches Are to Blame for Macbeth's downfall

    In his soliloquy; 'If it were done, when 'tis done' (Act 1 scene 7), his reasons for not killing Duncan appear to be more selfish than anything. One of his reasons is that he would 'jump the life to come.'

  1. Letter to Lady Macbeth. I am writing this letter to you to announce the ...

    I have learnt that they have more then mortal knowledge, but when they told me I thought they were simply mad? Who were they? What were they? And what were they talking about? They told Banquo his children will be kings, this confused me incredibly.

  2. What kind of man is Macbeth? Macbeth's character changes through act 1 ...

    He is also very unsure of himself. He says 'I have no spur to p***k the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition'. He is saying that his only motive for killing Duncan is ambition. He says he shouldn't kill the king because 'b****y instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor'.

  1. Who is more evil Lady Macbeth or Macbeth?

    At first, Macbeth felt he had no reason to kill King Duncan, because of the witches' predictions which said that in the future, he would become king. "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir."

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

    that particular moment in time, then Macbeth would have thought that whatever they had said about murder or evil wasn't anything abnormal. They showed him they have the power of prophecy by showing him the 3 apparitions and predicting his future, which must have made Macbeth feel more at ease

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