How does Macbeth and Lady Macbeths relationship change throughout the play?

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How does Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship change throughout the play?

In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s relationship is widely explored, due to their distinctive character developments throughout.  As the play progresses, due to the choices that they make and the actions they take subsequently, they undergo a role reversal. This takes the form of Lady Macbeth being the deciding force in the relationship and Macbeth being submissive to a fairy rapid change to Macbeth being in control of his own actions and paying no heed to his wife.

At the opening of the play Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as more dominant than Macbeth, and Macbeth as subservient to her.  This is clear in the quotation, “When you durst do it, then you were a man”.  Lady Macbeth can be seen manipulating Macbeth by emasculating him, ‘were a man’, to fill her ambition of gaining power, which she can only do so through her husband, being a woman in the 11th century. Shakesphere uses the past tense “were” to emphasis that Lady Macbeth no longer sees her husband as a man. This line also shows Macbeth’s doubt over their plans to murder Duncan, which is further implied by his soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 7.  Predominantly, at the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth appears to the audience as the driving force behind their ambition to gain power and more assertive than Macbeth, who seems doubtful towards the plans which they have made.

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As the play progresses their roles seem reversed to the audience and Lady Macbeth becomes more hesitant to their murderous plans.  Macbeth, however, appears the more dominant in the relationship due to his newly gained kingship, which he is so desperate to keep.  This is apparent in the quotation, “We have scorch’d the snake not kill’d it”.  This metaphor used by Shakespeare shows that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth still have more challenges to face; although they have killed Dunacan, there are still other threats to Macbeth’s throne.  This extract also shows Macbeth's paranoia and his desire to protect his ...

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