Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Notes: In the opening scenes if the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seemed to enjoy a close intimacy in that they share their deepest thoughts, but as the plot unfolds, she loses her iron grip on him and his murderous momentum gathers a speed of its own. Before Duncan’s death, her opening soliquy in Scene V of Act I shows that she does know him well. But after the death, her realization that her husband had become transformed into a stranger drove her to suicide.Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here- This passage suggests that, for Lady Macbeth, being a reproductive woman could prevent her from committing a violent deed.
She is prepared to sacrifice her femininity for the sake of kingship. At this point the audience is introduced to both Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s ambition and determination. They understand each other very well even though neither one of them mentions murder. Lady Macbeth offers her husband advice and instructs him in the arts of hypocrisy while she herself takes on the role of managing events: “Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent underneath”.When Macbeth seems to doubt whether to “proceed no further in this business”, his wife, who has committed herself to the powers of darkness calls him a coward: ..
. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valour, As thou art in desire? In the killing scene, Lady Macbeth once again takes control of the situation when she urges Macbeth to gain composure and on Macbeth’s refusal to go back to the chamber, Lady Macbeth accuses Macbeth of being weak.Macbeth is left alone fascinated by his bloodstained hands and when Lady Macbeth returns she also displays bloodstained hands but she coldly says: “A little water clears us of this deed. In the first Act Lady Macbeth is determined and she leads the debate on why they should commit the murder, but later on we see her fade away. As the events unfolds the audience witnesses, a great change over their relationship.
Lady Macbeth scarcely speaks while Macbeth evokes terrifying and intense images.To survive mentally and find the strength to continue, they have to imagine a new world of evil and almost conjure it into existence By Act 5 we witness a complete reversal of roles. Whereas before Lady Macbeth had been the leading role and stronger of the two, now she is deeply troubled by her guilty conscience. She walks in her sleep and imagines blood on her hands”What, will these hands never be clean? ” In the beginning Lady Macbeth was the stronger of the two, she was more hardened and tried to convince Macbeth that his murder should not be thought upon.But as Macbeth becomes more hardened with sin she becomes weaker and weaker. This becomes evident on the news of Lady Macbeth’s untimely death where Macbeth’s spine-chilling reaction convey his hardened heart.
Lady Macbeth has a dangerous desire for power and it was her mockery and persuasion that leads Macbeth to murder the King, “When you durst to do it, then you were a man. ”. Lady Macbeth presents herself publicly as a kind and gentle character but underneath lies an evil, ambitious woman. She knows what hurts Macbeth: to question his manhood.The letter which Macbeth sends to Lady Macbeth as soon as he heard he had been made “Thane of Cawdor” reveals his closeness to his wife: the withces equivocations that he shall be “King hereafter” had to reach Lady Macbeth’s ears immediately. But she reveals a true understanding of Macbeth’s strong moral fibre which would be a major obstacle to the realization of “their” ambitions.
Lady Macbeth is certain that her husband’s ambition was to be crowned the King. So, in her response to her husband’s uncertainty. She questions his courage, manhood and his love for her: “Such I account thy love…..As thou art in desire? .
..... We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, And we’ll not fail.
” Lady Macbeth is a strong character controlling her terrifying dreams at night and rescuing Macbeth from his weak conscience as in the scene when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost. She protects him and defends him at the banquet. However as the play progresses, Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth deteriorates and we see more of her vulnerability and fragility. Lady Macbeth is increasingly detached from her husband. He doesn’t confide in her anymore e. g.
for Banquo’s murder.She loses her sanity, because she can no longer control Macbeth: “Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all’s done You look but on a stool. ” Lady Macbeth’s mental and physical condition deteriorate. Macbeth hardly notices. He is obsessed with his own plans.
In the sleepwalking scene, Lady Macbeth spoke aloud her feelings of guilt: “What, will these hands ne’re be clean? ” madly trying to clean the blood off her hand after recalling the murder of Duncan. In actual fact, Lady Macbeth’s madness shows that Macbeth didn’t know her as well as he thought- she wasn’t made of steel. She completely fell apart.To conclude, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth enjoyed a close intimacy in the opening scenes.
He looked to her for strength and motivation because both he and Lady Macbeth knew he didn’t have the required courage to kill Duncan. However the closeness and intimacy suddenly diminishes when he acts independently and Lady Macbeth loses control over him. In the end they were like strangers on the opposite side of the spectrum. Macbeth: maniacally and ruthlessly ambitious and Lady Macbeth: crazy with fear for the future of her husband.
She knew the Macbeth in the opening scenes but she didn’t know the Macbeth at the end of the play.