Macbeth


· Discuss the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and consider to what extent she is responsible for his downfall.


The tragic downfall of Macbeth was not determined by one single cause but


rather caused by a combination of three dark forces: supernatural, external and internal. The three witches and their dark powers represent the supernatural forces. Lady Macbeth acts as Macbeth’s external force, pushing him towards the bloody deeds. Macbeth’s own ambition and inner desires are the internal forces he battles and they act as the deciding power in bringing him to his downfall.


The play begins with an indication that supernatural forces are to be involved.


Three witches are preparing a surprise for Macbeth, a surprise that will ultimately cost him his life. The witches’ predictions play a major role in leading Macbeth to the evil deeds he commits. The witches are the first to unleash his “black and deep desires” by predicting he would be in possession of the crown in the near future. The three sisters trick Macbeth into thinking that it is his fate to be king by promising him the title of ‘Thane of Cawdor’ and fulfilling this promise. After this almost impossible prediction becomes a reality Macbeth decides that he should become king as well. His royal ambition and dreams begin to cloud over his better judgement. He is convinced that “Two truths were told. As happy prologues to the swelling act. Of the imperial theme.” The dark forces “win him with honest trifles to betray in deepest consequence.”


After the witches awaken Macbeth’s desires of becoming King, his wife begins to push him towards the act of murdering Duncan. Lady Macbeth thinks she knows exactly what Macbeth wants--to become king--and decides that it is up to her to ‘support’ him aggressively. At the very beginning of the play, the relationship between Macbeth and his wife is quite equal. Macbeth labels his wife as “My dearest love”, “my dearest partner of greatness” but later on all these intimate addresses start to change. Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth’s kindness makes him powerless and impressionable to guilt and thus will discourage him to take part in the death of Duncan. Slowly, she begins to manipulate and challenge his feelings of guilt and compassion towards Duncan and replaces them with malicious and vindictive emotions; “look like th’ innocent flower, but he be serpent under’t”. She uses Macbeth’s love towards her as an instrument and taunts him about not being able to make a simple kill and proving himself as a man.


Lady Macbeth uses the Macbeth\'s feelings towards her, his bravery, his ambitious nature and his vague desires as tools to make Macbeth act in what ways she thinks will bring him success and satisfaction. At this point, Lady Macbeth is a resolute, a tough woman while Macbeth is portrayed as her indecisive, coward husband although she seems to be weak when she’s asked to kill Duncan. She controls everything including Macbeth\'s mind and the murder of Duncan.


The turning point of the relationship between Macbeth and his wife occurs when Macbeth takes the murder of Banquo upon himself without consulting his wife. "Be innocent to the knowledge" he says, because he wants to protect her from the corruption that he has involved himself in and he knows there\'s no turning back for him. The driving force of Macbeth is no longer Lady Macbeth but his own ambition. He becomes powerful and always keeps himself to himself without telling his wife anything. Lady Macbeth becomes insecure, isolated, "why do you keep alone", as well as anxious because of the disregard of her husband. She describes her happiness as "doubtful" and she seems to have less of a purpose. She is overwhelmed by her guilt and she asks Macbeth to put a stop to all his evil deeds "You must leave this." However, she fails to stop him finally is so cut off from her husband that she descends into madness.


Macbeth\'s ambition becomes uncontrollable and he consults the Weird Sisters for the last time but he is over confident and thinks he will not be overthrown by anyone "Sweet bodements! good!" All these have planned a tragic ending for him.


Witches and Lady Macbeth definitely tried to force Macbeth to