In the play of “Macbeth”, Shakespeare gradually and effectively deepens our understanding of the themes and most importantly the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The main theme of Macbeth is ambition, and how it compels the main characters to pursue it. The antagonists of the play are the three witches, who symbolise the theme appearance and reality. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relation is an irony throughout the play, as most of their relation is based on greed and power. This is different from most of Shakespeare’s other plays, which are mostly based on romance and trust. There is also guilt that leads Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to the final consequences of the play. As the progresses, the constant changes in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are exposed.
The relation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth takes a few turns throughout the play. It starts with Lady Macbeth being in control and dominating Macbeth. Then suddenly Macbeth turns into an unhesitant man, who gets accustomed to killing and getting his own way. The dire changes in the characters affect the couple’s relation extremely.
Shakespeare introduces the protagonist of the play as a valiant and a prominent character, even before the audience meets him. Macbeth’s fellow soldiers give us a view of his bravery and courageous manner. In order to prove his loyalty towards his king, Macbeth had won the appalling war against Norway, and became a hero:
“For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name – Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution.”
Shakespeare’s effective use of word choice in ‘brave’ makes the audience understand the protagonist deeply. Ironically, later in the play, Macbeth’s ambitions take over him and become the antagonist of the play, which happens when he meets the main antagonists. The development of evil within Macbeth’s mind begins when the three witches, the antagonists, plot the seed of evil. The witches proclaim a prophecy to Macbeth, in which he will be the Thane of Glamis then the Thane of Cawdor then become a king in the near future. This startles Macbeth as most turns out to be true but he also starts hoping that the prophecy comes true. However, when Macbeth goes to meet King Duncan, he discovers that Malcolm will be Duncan’s heir, and not him. At this point, Macbeth’s intentions turn evil, which he feels guilty about:
“Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires.”
The language Shakespeare uses here gives us an insight that evil acts are done in the dark, therefore Macbeth does not want the “stars” light to shine upon his dark side and reveal his “deep desires”. After leaving King Duncan’s castle, Macbeth goes home and tells his wife about King Duncan arriving at their place. Lady Macbeth, knowing the prophecy, decides to help Macbeth fulfil his ambition by planning Duncan’s death. However, Macbeth struggles with his conscience before “this night’s great business”. He is in a dilemma on whether...