The Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

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The Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

In the early stages of the play, the Macbeths seem to be a devoted

couple. Their love and concern for each other remains strong and

constant throughout the play, but their relationship changes

dramatically following the murder of King Duncan in Act 2.

The Macbeths' relationship is presented in very strong terms in Act 1

by virtue of their sense of togetherness and resolve when separated by

war and when placed under enormous pressure and temptation by the

Witches' prophesies. Macbeth's initial reaction to the prophesy of his

future kingship in Act 1, scene 3, is skepticism and disbelief: "Say

from whence/You owe this strange intelligence? or why/Upon this

blasted heath you stop our way/With such prophetic greeting?", but

this changes to amazement and wonder when he hears from Ross about his

promotion to the Thane of Cawdor, in the same scene, and he

immediately thinks about using bloody means to become king: "My

thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,/Shakes so my single

state of man", but as this quotation also shows, he is afraid of its

treasonable implications.

His devotion to Lady Macbeth is immediately apparent in Act 1, scene

5, when he writes her a letter in strictest confidence informing her

about the prophesies, although there is a note of inferiority and

intimidation, and a sense of duty in his comments: "This have I

thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness". Yet it

is a sign of their understanding that they independently come to the

same conclusion about killing the king. This is apparent in Lady

Macbeth's insta...

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...r player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

The dreariness of the alliteration and repetition, the fragility of

the candle imagery and the futility of the acting imagery all suggest

that Macbeth's psyche cannot cope without his wife and his queen. Life

holds no future or purpose for him, now she is dead.

After their deaths, their relationship is portrayed by Malcolm as

"this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen", forever united in evil.

He began as a noble captain and ended as a bloody tyrant; she began as

a devoted (some might say doting) wife, but ended up a guilt-ridden

suicide. Their love remained until the end and their relationship,

although subject to change and separation, remained firm.
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