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Essay About Macbeth And Lady Macbeth Relationship

Essay About Macbeth And Lady Macbeth Relationship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macbeth

1. The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood,
Stop up th’access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

Lady Macbeth speaks these words in Act 1, scene 5, lines 36–52, as she awaits the arrival of King Duncan at her castle. We have previously seen Macbeth’s uncertainty about whether he should take the crown by killing Duncan. In this speech, there is no such confusion, as Lady Macbeth is clearly willing to do whatever is necessary to seize the throne. Her strength of purpose is contrasted with her husband’s tendency to waver. This speech shows the audience that Lady Macbeth is the real steel behind Macbeth and that her ambition will be strong enough to drive her husband forward. At the same time, the language of this speech touches on the theme of masculinity— “unsex me here /. /. Come to my woman’s breasts, / And take my milk for gall,” Lady Macbeth says as she prepares herself to commit murder. The language suggests that her womanhood, represented by breasts and milk, usually symbols of nurture, impedes her from performing acts of violence and cruelty, which she associates with manliness. Later, this sense of the relationship between masculinity and violence will be deepened when Macbeth is unwilling to go through with the murders and his wife tells him, in effect, that he needs to “be a man” and get on with it.

2. If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly. If th’assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success: that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all, here,
But here upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgement here, that we but teach
Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
To plague th’inventor. This even-handed justice
Commends th’ingredience of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against
The deep damnation of his taking-off,
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself
And falls on th’other.

In this soliloquy, which is found in Act 1, scene 7, lines 1–28, Macbeth debates whether he should kill Duncan. When he lists Duncan’s noble qualities (he “[h]ath borne his faculties so meek”) and the loyalty that he feels toward his king (“I am his kinsman and his subject”), we are reminded of just how grave an outrage it is for the couple to slaughter their ruler while he is a guest in their house. At the same time, Macbeth’s fear that “[w]e still have judgement here, that we but teach / Bloody instructions which, being taught, return / To plague th’inventor,” foreshadows the way that his deeds will eventually come back to haunt him. The imagery in this speech is dark—we hear of “bloody instructions,” “deep damnation,” and a “poisoned chalice”—and suggests that Macbeth is aware of how the murder would open the door to a dark and sinful world. At the same time, he admits that his only reason for committing murder, “ambition,” suddenly seems an insufficient justification for the act. The destruction that comes from unchecked ambition will continue to be explored as one of the play’s themes. As the soliloquy ends, Macbeth seems to resolve not to kill Duncan, but this resolve will only last until his wife returns and once again convinces him, by the strength of her will, to go ahead with their plot.

3. Whence is that knocking?—
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

Macbeth says this in Act 2, scene 2, lines 55–61. He has just murdered Duncan, and the crime was accompanied by supernatural portents. Now he hears a mysterious knocking on his gate, which seems to promise doom. (In fact, the person knocking is Macduff, who will indeed eventually destroy Macbeth.) The enormity of Macbeth’s crime has awakened in him a powerful sense of guilt that will hound him throughout the play. Blood, specifically Duncan’s blood, serves as the symbol of that guilt, and Macbeth’s sense that “all great Neptune’s ocean” cannot cleanse him—that there is enough blood on his hands to turn the entire sea red—will stay with him until his death. Lady Macbeth’s response to this speech will be her prosaic remark, “A little water clears us of this deed” (2.2.65). By the end of the play, however, she will share Macbeth’s sense that Duncan’s murder has irreparably stained them with blood.

4. Out, damned spot; out, I say. One, two,—why, then ’tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

These words are spoken by Lady Macbeth in Act 5, scene 1, lines 30–34, as she sleepwalks through Macbeth’s castle on the eve of his battle against Macduff and Malcolm. Earlier in the play, she possessed a stronger resolve and sense of purpose than her husband and was the driving force behind their plot to kill Duncan. When Macbeth believed his hand was irreversibly bloodstained earlier in the play, Lady Macbeth had told him, “A little water clears us of this deed” (2.2.65). Now, however, she too sees blood. She is completely undone by guilt and descends into madness. It may be a reflection of her mental and emotional state that she is not speaking in verse; this is one of the few moments in the play when a major character—save for the witches, who speak in four-foot couplets—strays from iambic pentameter. Her inability to sleep was foreshadowed in the voice that her husband thought he heard while killing the king—a voice crying out that Macbeth was murdering sleep. And her delusion that there is a bloodstain on her hand furthers the play’s use of blood as a symbol of guilt. “What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?” she asks, asserting that as long as her and her husband’s power is secure, the murders they committed cannot harm them. But her guilt-racked state and her mounting madness show how hollow her words are. So, too, does the army outside her castle. “Hell is murky,” she says, implying that she already knows that darkness intimately. The pair, in their destructive power, have created their own hell, where they are tormented by guilt and insanity.

5. She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle.
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor 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.

These words are uttered by Macbeth after he hears of Lady Macbeth’s death, in Act 5, scene 5, lines 16–27. Given the great love between them, his response is oddly muted, but it segues quickly into a speech of such pessimism and despair—one of the most famous speeches in all of Shakespeare—that the audience realizes how completely his wife’s passing and the ruin of his power have undone Macbeth. His speech insists that there is no meaning or purpose in life. Rather, life “is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.” One can easily understand how, with his wife dead and armies marching against him, Macbeth succumbs to such pessimism. Yet, there is also a defensive and self-justifying quality to his words. If everything is meaningless, then Macbeth’s awful crimes are somehow made less awful, because, like everything else, they too “signify nothing.”

Macbeth’s statement that “[l]ife’s but a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage” can be read as Shakespeare’s somewhat deflating reminder of the illusionary nature of the theater. After all, Macbeth is only a “player” himself, strutting on an Elizabethan stage. In any play, there is a conspiracy of sorts between the audience and the actors, as both pretend to accept the play’s reality. Macbeth’s comment calls attention to this conspiracy and partially explodes it—his nihilism embraces not only his own life but the entire play. If we take his words to heart, the play, too, can be seen as an event “full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.”

The Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Throughout the play of «Macbeth» written by William Shakespeare there is an on-going relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This relationship is one of the functions of the play that creates most of the actions, reactions, moods, feelings and attitudes.

Macbeth’s relationship with his wife was not always great. This is shown in one of there conversations;

MACBETH: «We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.»(Macbeth,I,vii, )

LADY MACBETH. «Was the hope drunk Wherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since? And wakes it now, to look so green and pale At what it did so freely? From this time Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem; Letting «I dare not» wait upon «I would,» Like the poor cat i’ the adage?»(Macbeth,I,vii, )
In these two quotes we see that there is a disagreement that continues through the entire scene. Macbeth decides that he does not want to murder Duncan and that is final and that the discussion is over. Lady Macbeth on the other hand feels that Macbeth is being a coward and that he should think about what he is doing before he makes up his mind. Slowly throughout the scene Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth that he should kill Duncan and he finally agrees. This goes to show that the relationship produces a sense of trust and openness. This is due to the fact that Macbeth listens to his wife and finally takes what she has to say into thought and carries through with it. The function of this is to create a sense of hostility amongst the audience. Everyone can’t believe that Lady Macbeth is encouraging her husband to kill someone and it really makes them uncomfortable and shifts there mood of love towards Lady Macbeth to hate. This mood of the audience is highened in Act 2 Scene 2 when once again Macbeth has decided that he is going to stop what he is doing although he had already killed Duncan;
MACBETH. «I’ll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on’t again I dare not.» (Macbeth,II,ii, )

LADY MACBETH. Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead Are but as pictures: ’tis the eye of childhood That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, For it must seem their guilt. (Macbeth,II,ii, )

This shows that Macbeth once again was filled with guilt but again his wife contradicted him and lead him down the path of evil. This is the example of the relationship at opposite ends. Macbeth wanting to do the greater good and Lady Macbeth wanting to do the most evil. Evil provails and it shows a sense of death and darkness through the couple.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are also on the same page at some points in the play. This is portrayed in Act III Scene iv when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are talking about the feast that is about to take place in the castle;

MACBETH. «Ourself will mingle with society, And play the humble host. Our hostess keeps her state; but, in best time, We will require her welcome.»(Macbeth, III,iv, )

LADY MACBETH. «Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends; For my heart speaks they are welcome.» (Macbeth,III,iv, )

The joy of happiness has spread amongst Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after Macbeth has become king and once again they have been free of guilt and full of love. They talk of having their guests to the feast and the mingling that will take place with there society of Scotland. This shows that the relationship has taking a turn to the best but at the same time to the worst. Both, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, have cleared themselves of guilt from the killing of Duncan and have portrayed that they are pure evil wrapped in a loving exterior. This is a symbol of the step towards darkness that they are both taking and that they are both taking without stopping. The turn to good is that once again they are happy and are agreeable. This though which the audience fears is a horrific sight that will slowly lead them down to darkness. So while they are good now it seems that all of this evil will turn around and «nip them in the butt» so-to-speak. Their relationship is changed later in the scene again when Macbeth experiences a tale of woe and already it seems the evil has come back to haunt him. Again in Act III Scene iv Macbeth is visited by the ghost of Banquo which does not visit Lady Macbeth. This creates a sense of discomfort and urgency which is seen from Lady Macbeth;

LADY MACBETH. «Sit, worthy friends:—my lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat; The fit is momentary; upon a thought He will again be well: if much you note him, You shall offend him, and extend his passion: Feed, and regard him not.—Are you a man?» (Macbeth,III,iv, )

MACBETH. «Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that Which might appal the devil.» (Macbeth,III,iv, )

LADY MACBETH. «O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear: This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws, and starts,— Impostors to true fear,—would well become A woman’s story at a winter’s fire, Authoriz’d by her grandam. Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all’s done, You look but on a stool.» (Macbeth,III,iv, )

We see here that Lady Macbeth loves her husband so dearly that she will lie to many noble guests to try to protect his secrets. She urges that he has a sickness and that sometimes he just has fits and that it will go away. We can understand that in her speech she is sad and uncomfortable but at the same time full of love not wanting her husband to give himself away. Lady Macbeth continues this behaviour until all of the guests have left and it is just the two of them. Now we see that it is just the two of them and that it is them against the world and although the odds seem impossible they try to fight through the guilt, the rumours, and try to continue their love, ruling and try to keep their secrets amongst each other. This functions the story to more of a evil power manner. It seems that evil is trying to succeed and it scares the audience that if this is happening in this play, why can it not happen in real life? How is such a couple united and bonded but at the same time filled so much darkness.

Lastly we see a relationship that has slowly drifted apart and one that is more of a deed then a show of affection. This is finally seen in Act V Scene iii when the good doctor tells Macbeth that Lady Macbeth is sick and his mood of calmness and uncaring is a meer showing of his evil;

DOCTOR. «Not so sick, my lord, As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies, That keep her from her rest.» (Macbeth,V,iii, )

MACBETH. «Cure her of that: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d; Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow; Raze out the written troubles of the brain; And with some sweet oblivious antidote Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart?» (Macbeth,V,iii, )

This shows that Macbeth is so overrun with greed that not even his demon infested wife cannot take his eyes away from his ambitions. Macbeth just tells the doctor to cure her and that is all. He does not talk to her and think much of her and mean while she has commited suicide but the evil in Macbeth has greated such a smog that it is barely even noticeable to him that the woman he once loved so dearly is now gone. This portrays the evil and darkness and how deep Macbeth has actually gone down the staircase of hell. The function of this foreshadows the collapsing of an empire. Not only has Macbeth have soldiers leave him but now his most loyal and trusted companion has also left and abandoned him, he should feel alone and ashamed but he is so clouded by evil that he still carries on and feels that he can rule Scotland and everything else that gets in his way.

The relationship that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had always directly affected each others decisions and actions. This relationship is a support block of the story. The audience knows that when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are getting into a detailed conversation a decision is going to be made and most likely it is not going to be a good one. The function of this relationship is a mood changer, I believe that even when good decisions are about to be made this relationship acts as a curse for when one actually sees the holy way, the other convinces them into evil. This function of the story is quite ironic that evil can overpower good, but then again what happened to Macbeth in the end? This really leaves the audiences mind thinking and wondering whether or not this relationship was for love or to fufil ambition. I believe that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth loved each other so much that they tried to hard to please each other and not disagree that they forgot what exactly they were doing. This acts as the biggest function in the play, what if Macbeth were single? Would he still try to take over the kingdom? Unanswered questions that no one can answer are what we, the audience, are left with.

Throughout the play of «Macbeth» written by William Shakespeare there is an on-going relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This relationship is one of the functions of the play that creates most of the actions, reactions, moods, feelings and attitudes. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are the two most main characters and thrive off each others actions and decisions. Sometimes this relationship is at it’s peak and sometimes it is on the flat line. Macbeth’s mind is fulling with greed which is then overfilled by Lady Macbeth which results in castrophe for the country of Scotland and all who serve there. This relationship feeds to the story and really is the main acting function of the story.

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Macbeth

Characterize the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. If the main theme of Macbeth is ambition, whose ambition is the driving force of the play—Macbeth’s, Lady Macbeth’s, or both?

The Macbeths’ marriage, like the couple themselves, is atypical, particularly by the standards of its time. Yet despite their odd power dynamic, the two of them seem surprisingly attached to one another, particularly compared to other married couples in Shakespeare’s plays, in which romantic felicity appears primarily during courtship and marriages tend to be troubled. Macbeth offers an exception to this rule, as Macbeth and his wife are partners in the truest sense of the word. Of course, the irony of their “happy” marriage is clear—they are united by their crimes, their mutual madness, and their mounting alienation from the rest of humanity.

Though Macbeth is a brave general and a powerful lord, his wife is far from subordinate to his will. Indeed, she often seems to control him, either by crafty manipulation or by direct order. And it is Lady Macbeth’s deep-seated ambition, rather than her husband’s, that ultimately propels the plot of the play by goading Macbeth to murder Duncan. Macbeth does not need any help coming up with the idea of murdering Duncan, but it seems unlikely that he would have committed the murder without his wife’s powerful taunts and persuasions.

One of the important themes in Macbeth is the idea of political legitimacy, of the moral authority that some kings possess and others lack. With particular attention to Malcolm’s questioning of Macduff in Act 4, scene 3, try to define some of the characteristics that grant or invalidate the moral legitimacy of absolute power. What makes Duncan a good king? What makes Macbeth a tyrant?

After Duncan’s death, the nobles of Scotland begin to grumble among themselves about what they perceive as Macbeth’s tyrannical behavior. When Macduff meets Malcolm in England, Malcolm pretends that he would make an even worse king than Macbeth in order to test Macduff’s loyalty to Scotland. The bad qualities he claims to possess include lust, greed, and a chaotic and violent temperament. These qualities all seem characteristic of Macbeth, whereas Duncan’s universally lauded reign was marked by the king’s kindness, generosity, and stabilizing presence. The king must be able to keep order and should reward his subjects according to their merits. For example, Duncan makes Macbeth thane of Cawdor after Macbeth’s victory over the invaders. Perhaps the most important quality of a true king to emerge in Malcolm’s conversation with Macduff is loyalty to Scotland and its people above oneself. Macbeth wishes to be king to gratify his own desires, while Duncan and Malcolm wear the crown out of love for their nation.

An important theme in Macbeth is the relationship between gender and power, particularly Shakespeare’s exploration of the values that make up the idea of masculinity. What are these values, and how do various characters embody them? How does Shakespeare subvert his characters’ perception of gender roles?

Manhood, for most of the characters in Macbeth, is tied to ideals of strength, power, physical courage, and force of will; it is rarely tied to ideals of intelligence or moral fortitude. At several points in the play, the characters goad one another into action by questioning each other’s manhood. Most significantly, Lady Macbeth emasculates her husband repeatedly, knowing that in his desperation to prove his manhood he will perform the acts she wishes him to perform. Macbeth echoes Lady Macbeth’s words when he questions the manhood of the murderers he has hired to kill Banquo, and after Macduff’s wife and children are killed, Malcolm urges Macduff to take the news with manly reserve and to devote himself to the destruction of Macbeth, his family’s murderer. Ultimately, there is a strong suggestion that manhood is tied to cruelty and violence: note Lady Macbeth’s speech in Act 1, scene 5, when she asks to be “unsexed” so that she can help her husband commit murder. Yet, at the same time, the audience is clearly meant to realize that women provide the push that sets the bloody action of the play in motion. Macduff, too, suggests that the equation of masculinity with cruelty is not quite correct. His comments show that he believes emotion and reflection are also important attributes of the true man.

Suggested Essay Topics

1. The fantastical and grotesque witches are among the most memorable figures in the play. How does Shakespeare characterize the witches? What is their thematic significance?

2. Compare and contrast Macbeth, Macduff, and Banquo. How are they alike? How are they different? Is it possible to argue that Macbeth is the play’s villain and Macduff or Banquo its hero, or is the matter more complicated than that?

3. Discuss the role that blood plays in Macbeth, particularly immediately following Duncan’s murder and late in the play. What does it symbolize for Macbeth and his wife?

4. Discuss Macbeth’s visions and hallucinations. What role do they play in the development of his character?

5. Is Macbeth a moral play? Is justice served at the end of the play? Defend your answer.

6. Discuss Shakespeare’s use of the technique of elision, in which certain key events take place offstage. Why do you think he uses this technique?

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