Relationship between Spouses in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are initially portrayed as an intimate and caring couple. In the beginning, the infatuated Macbeth puts his wife on a pedestal (which is unusual in Jacobean the era) and continuously addresses her with words of endearment. Lady Macbeth on the other hand appears to be stronger willed and more decisive, focusing solemnly on murdering Duncan. However, as the play progresses the audience witness surprising changes in the relationship. The guilt from murdering Duncan torments and disintegrates Lady Macbeth, making Macbeth the stronger of the two. Eventually Macbeth becomes so unattached from his wife that her failing mental health, or even her death, fails to rekindle his affections for her. Our initial glimpse of Macbeth and Lady Macbeths’ relationship, through Macbeth’s letter in Act 1 Scene 5, not only reveals that they have an affectionate relationship, but more significantly that they have an equal relationship with complete trust in each other. In his letter, Macbeth describes Lady Macbeth as his ‘dearest partner of greatness’. Referring to her as his ‘dearest’ shows his love and desire for her and the word ‘partner’ expresses his respect for her- at this stage she is his greatest confidant. By including the witches’ prophecies Macbeth, is showing great trust in his wife as this content is treasonous. It is ironic that Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth his ‘partner of greatness’ because when he eventually achieves ‘greatness’ by becoming the King, he isolates himself from her and no longer treats her as his ‘partner’. ... ... middle of paper ... ...gether, like Romeo and Juliette, therefore this lone suicide by Lady Macbeth exemplifies how love is absent in this relationship. In conclusion, the relationship starts strongly but rapidly declines after Macbeth becomes King. Macbeth, who once heralded his wife ‘my dearest partner’, transforms to the point that he showed no remorse when Lady Macbeth committed suicide. This disastrous ending to the relationship can serve as a reminder to Shakespeare’s readers that wrongfully achieving anything will bring along dire consequences. In this case regicide was committed in order to obtain Kingship; this would have been complimentary to the Shakespearean King (King James 1), as he was under constant fear of regicide himself. Had Macbeth disregarded the witches’ prophecies and remained loyal to the king, he and Lady Macbeth may have enjoyed a long and content life together.

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