The Changing Relationship Between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
Throughout "Macbeth" there are changes in the relationship between
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as they both in turn take on the role of the
more dominant character. Shakespeare presents the play in such a way
that the audience sees how progressively their relationship changes
dramatically as a result of how they each handle their emotions
following the murder of King Duncan.
It is evident at the beginning of the play that Lady Macbeth is the
dominant character in the play. She is portrayed as ambitious,
manipulative and overpowering by Shakespeare. When Lady Macbeth is
first introduced in to the play she is reading a letter from Macbeth,
describing the Witches' prophecy and her reaction does not display
uncertainty or suspicion. Her only concern is of whether Macbeth is
capable of fulfilling the prophecy and she is certain that the "valour
of my tongue" will persuade him. This letter in itself shows the
nature of Macbeth's relationship with Lady Macbeth as he clearly
trusts her to a great extent to have shared this potentially
treasonous information with his wife, describing the Witches'
predictions which indeed could become truth. The letter shows a deep
love between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the phrase "my dearest
partner of greatness" suggests that he sees her as an equal. At this
time in history, women were seen as inferior to men and therefore this
Lady Macbeth sees Macbeth as a weak character and is determined to
"pour mine spirits in thine ear." Already at this point in the play we
can see that Macbeth does not share his wife's ruthless edge and she
is confident that she can manipulate him as her main objective is the
task of killing King Duncan. Lady Macbeth prays to the dark powers to
"unsex me here" and "come to my woman's breasts and take my milk for
gall" as she wants to replace her maternal femininity with cruelty.
This could perhaps show a weaker side to her personality as it
indicates she was not born evil and needs guidance from the
supernatural in order to gain this extra infusion of darkness. Lady
Macbeth uses imperatives in her speech which display determination and
urgency. Shakespeare implies that Lady Macbeth has no feelings of
guilt or remorse and when she says, "That croaks the fatal entrance of
Duncan," we are aware that this is where she intends the murder to
take place. She is willing to sacrifice her femininity and humanity to
"give solely sovereign sway and masterdom" to Macbeth and herself.
When Macbeth enters they greet each other warmly and Lady Macbeth
immediately tells her husband of her plan to murder the king.
Shakespeare constructs the character of Lady Macbeth to reveal
absoluteness and purpose to her personality, to indicate her control
of the situation and...