Macbeth

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Macbeth - Critical Essay

Evokes 8. Choose a play in which the relationship between a male and a female character changes significantly. Show how the relationship between the two characters changes and discuss to what extent this illuminates a central idea of the play.

“Macbeth” is a power-play between: good and evil; between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and between Macbeth, his cousins and his former fellow Thanes. Lady Macbeth and her husband, Macbeth, play out a complicated contest of wills with one another – this is all interwoven with covert assassinations of the nobility, and secret assignations with Witches and thugs. The dynamic of the twists and turns of the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth illuminates the central theme of `vaulting’ ambition.

At the start, their relationship features a common and pooled lust for power; Macbeth treats Lady Macbeth as an equal and initially defers to her impromptu leadership in the coup against the King, his cousin Duncan. They become close partners in crime – Macbeth refers to her at this stage as “my dearest partner in greatness” though she worries that her husband may be “too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” As if on cue, Macbeth starts to briefly examine his conscience regarding this planned coup: [quote as much of the soliloquy by Macbeth in 1 (vii) as you deem useful]

The witches meddled with Macbeth’s ambitions and sanity and it could be said the idea of becoming king would have never come about without them. Macbeth’s attitude and perception changes dramatically during the play; he was a faithful Scottish soldier who followed commands with a pure conscience but by the conclusion of the play Macbeth exploited people to gain power. This corrupted his relationship with his wife.

The affinity between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth at the beginning is strong or so it seems: he rushes home at the excitement of seeing her. They plot together and talk excitedly about their coup together, and many...
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