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Act 3, Scene 2
1.Comment on the changing relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In the beginning we see Lady Macbeth playing the more superior, more dominating role of the two. She lays all the plans and all Macbeth has to do is obey her commands. She comes across as a woman, who is persuasive and manipulative. Macbeth on the other hand is fickle-minded and unsure. We discover that the man, who is praised so highly by the King and the general public, is actually weak and submissive man. As in the earlier scenes, Macbeth reveals everything to Lady Macbeth, but here, Macbeth keeps secret from his wife the plot to murder Banquo. He also says “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck”; this shows the audience that he does not regard her as an equal partner anymore and sees her as a small little woman with a sharp tongue. He also alarms her by conjuring up an atmosphere of evil. In the earlier scenes, Lady Macbeth was very ambitious and brave, but here, we hear that she begins to show signs of stress and Macbeth suffers 'terrible dreams'. 2.What evidence is there in this scene that relates to the concept of dissembling (hiding your true feelings)? Macbeth is anxious over what he did to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth can see this and asks him to "sleek o'er your rugged looks". The rugged looks represent Macbeth's obvious anxiety on his face. Sleeking it over is then removing that. This way, no one will suspect that anything is wrong. If Macbeth visibly frets, he will put his guests ill at ease. The more relaxed everyone is, the easier it will be for Macbeth to be “bright and jovial”. Another reference to dissembling is when Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth to honour Banquo and “make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are”. Macbeth is worried for he knows Banquo is now a danger for him. Anxious Macbeth says to his wife that at tonight’s dinner-party, she must greet the guest, Banquo, with a cheerful face wearing a mask, and must flatter him in...
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