Compare the Way Shakespeare Presents the Relationship Between Joe and Mrs Joe and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Topics: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Macbeth Pages: 5 (1938 words) Published: July 3, 2013
Compare the way Shakespeare presents the relationship between Joe and Mrs Joe and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Macbeth’ include many relationships between many characters whether it is friendship or a martial relationship. One of the main relationships that are portrayed in both stories is martial relationship. In ‘Macbeth’, Macbeth is married to Lady Macbeth and in ‘Great Expectations’, Joe is married to Mrs Joe. These relationships are very important to the plot as we determine whether they support each other.

In ‘Macbeth’ we first know of the matrimonial relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth when Macbeth is talking to Duncan and accepts to be the harbinger and writes a letter to inform his wife of the King’s visit to Macbeth’s castle, Inverness. Macbeth then writes a letter to Lady Macbeth, to whom he refers her as his ‘dearest partner of greatness’. Macbeth also calls his wife ‘dearest chuck.’ This shows that Macbeth loves his wife and thinks of her as a good person. This is ironic as later on in the scene, we find out that Lady Macbeth is not a good lady nut she is evil and wants to become more evil. In the same letter, Macbeth tells his wife of the 3 prophecies he was told and how happy he was and cold not wait to tell his wife his success of being the new Thane of Cawdor and the future prospect of king. This is evident that Macbeth shares everything with his wife and loves sharing his happiness with her.

However in ‘Great Expectations’ we find out that Joe and Mrs Joe were married when Pip was being questioned by Magwitch. Magwitch asked Pip who he lives with and Pip replied back by timidly explaining “My sister sir- Mrs Joe Gargery-wife of Joe Gargery, the blacksmith, sir.” This signals that the relationship is quite weak because Pip says it timidly and thoughtfully; whereas, the Macbeths’ relationship is quite strong and blossoming.

In Great Expectations, again we find out more about Joe and Mrs Joe’s relationship from Pip. We learn that Mrs Joe has ‘a hard and heavy hand which has the habit of laying it upon her husband.’ This signifies that Mrs Joe is the more powerful person in the relationship and wants her husband to follow her and agree with her. This would shock a Victorian reader because they would expect a lower class wife to be subservient to her husband and not hit him. Also when Joe, Mrs Joe and Pip walk to town Mrs Joe leads the way. This is a metaphor for Mrs Joe leading her relationship with Joe.

Similarly, Lady Macbeth also shows she has a powerful influence over her husband when she persuades Macbeth to kill King Duncan. Lady Macbeth does this by questioning Macbeth’s manliness this is seen in the words ‘Be so much more than a man’ and ‘ when you durst do it, then you were a man.’ She believes that if Macbeth does not follow his desire he will prove to be a coward.. As an audience we feel sorry for Macbeth because of the pressure his wife is putting on him. Lady Macbeth speaks using imperative verbs and sentences; this is exemplified in Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy ‘Come to my woman’s breast and ‘Come, you spirits. ’ This would shock the Shakespearean audience because a high status woman would be evil and controlling. It is apparent to the audience that Lady Macbeth wants to become a man when she declares to the spirits to ‘unsex me here.’ The audience experiences catharsis at this because her passion and belief is so strong. This also contributes to the Shakespeare’s theme of ambition because it is Lady Macbeth’s ambition to become Queen as it was at the top of the hierarchy and she is more ambitious than her husband.

In ‘Great Expectations’ Mrs Joe is not happy with ere marriage to Joe because she says while cleaning the house for Christmas that she may have been able to hear the carols if ‘I warn’t a blacksmiths wife. She also talks about how she is ‘a slave with her apron never off.’ The reader assumes that she is very busy and never gets time to...
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