Criticle Analysis Macbeth

  • Category: English
  • Words: 1111
  • Grade: 100
Critical Analysis of "Macbeth"

"Analyse the breakdown of the relationship of Macbeth and his wife."

Throughout this essay I will be analysing the relationship between the main character and his wife from William Shakespeare's world famous play "Macbeth". At the beginning of the play we see a strong bond between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, they are both equal partners yet by the end of the play, their relationship has deteriorated so much that Macbeth shows no emotion when his wife dies. I will be focussing on the initial love the two shared, the reasons for the breakdown as well as the turning point in their relationship, and finally how the shifts in power between the couple drastically affected their marriage.

In Act 1, Macbeth writes to his wife to tell her of his thoughts and the witches' prophecies. He relies on her and strongly values her opinion. In the letter he refers to her as:

""¦my dearest partner of greatness,"

This shows that he viewed her as an equal in their relationship. He also writes that the reason he is informing her of the witches' prophecies is so that she too can celebrate them. Macbeth was told he would be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and then King, if this was to come true, it would improve Lady Macbeth's life yet that does not seem to be the reason the news excites her. At this stage in the play we see Macbeth's wife being truly happy for him, she does not appear to care that she will become Queen, only wishes the best for her husband and this shows that her love is pure.

When Macbeth returns home to his wife, they speak of the murder and it is Lady Macbeth's nagging that makes him go through with the idea. She has control over her husband and accuses him of being a coward and making drunken promises to her when he tells her that he now believes that it would be wrong to kill Duncan as killing the king, who is God on earth, and that would be an unforgivable sin. Lady Macbeth devises the plan that Macbeth should stab Duncan whilst he is asleep in their home. He is then to leave the daggers in the hands of the grooms making them appear guilty of the crime. Macbeth originally sticks to her plan. After killing Duncan he forgets to leave the daggers with the grooms. This is due to the shock he is in, which is evident as he hears voices, later cannot sleep and is unable to say "amen" after prayer. To rectify the problem, Lady Macbeth enters the room herself and leaves the bloody murder weapons beside the two innocent men.

The first time Macbeth strays from the plan could be viewed as accidental, afterward, Lady Macbeth manages to rectify the problem and makes her husband pull himself together and go to bed so that noone will suspect them. It is the next morning that he intentionally goes against the plan and it is at this point we see the power shift and the beginning of the relationship breakdown. Macbeth kills the grooms. When Lady Macbeth hears the news that her once "dearest partner of greatness" has done this she faints. Her power over him is no more and after she has fallen, Macbeth makes no effort to go and see if she is alright. This lack of care shown by Macbeth increases throughout as their love and marriage breakdown.

After Macbeth's coronation, Lady Macbeth fades into the background. It is at this point that Macbeth begins to plan the murder of Banquo and his son yet does not tell his wife. This is a dramatic change in their relationship as in Act on he consulted her when he was only having thoughts about the murder of the King and now he is about to kill his best friend yet she is to know nothing. He no longer needs her approval nor is he totally truthful with her. He does, however, still tell her about how disturbed he still is about Duncan's murder.

""¦these terrible dreams"¦"

He is sharing his problems with Lady Macbeth yet she keeps quiet about hers. They have stopped sharing all their emotions as well. Along with this lack of sharing, Macbeth also appears to have stopped viewing Lady Macbeth as an equal:

"Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,"

Not only does he withhold information from her, he refers to her as "chuck" which bears little similarity to his "dearest partner of greatness" we heard him refer to in Act one. At this stage however, he continues to have fond feelings towards her; these soon fade to indifference. He also does not inform her about the murder of Macduff's family, perhaps because he knows she would disapprove or, perhaps because he does not see it important anymore to communicate with his wife.

Lady Macbeth does not appear at all during Act four and is not mentioned by Macbeth. He has now started to place al his faith in the witches and is totally committed to evil as opposed to his "beloved" wife. The couple are never again seen together and when Lady Macbeth begins to have nightmares and a doctor is brought in.

"Cure her of that;"

Macbeth shows no love for his wife as he speaks to the doctor. He wishes he cured so that she will cease to sleepwalk and talk in her sleep. He fears that someone who hears her talking will figure out that he is guilty of the killing of Duncan, he does not show any emotion or concern for her well being.

"The Queen my lord is dead"

When he is told this news, his reaction shows us that he has no love left for Lady Macbeth. He shows no signs of sadness. All he can say is:

"She should have died hereafter:
There would have been time for such a word."

The man has no time to grieve his dead wife. The relationship broke down long ago, but, it is at this point that we see to just what extent.

It is my opinion that the relationship breakdown must be, at least in part, the fault of the witches' black magic. I believe that this must be true as the couple shared such a strong bond and I believe that it could not fall apart so quickly without the effects of the witches evil powers. When she dies, he thinks only of himself; it seems impossible that this is the act of a man who was in Act one:

""¦too full of the milk of human kindness"¦"

He has changed into a monster and it was for that reason the relationship fell apart.






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