The Macbeths' Relationship
Shakespeare crafts a very intricate relationship for the audience to observe within the Macbeth’s marriage. It is very paradoxical to observe for reasons that it is an upheaval from many stereotypes of Shakespeare’s time. The role of gender within a marriage, which umbrellas from gender roles in Shakespearian society in general, are examples of these that prevail within the play.
Lady Macbeth implores to be unsexed by a supernatural influence upon hearing the witch’s prophecies in the letter from Macbeth. This comes as a result of her fears that Macbeth is “too full of the milk of human kindness” to interfere with the natural order of fate unimpeded. She uses power play in her relentless manipulation of Macbeth and establishes a new definition of masculinity as brutal and merciless in Macbeths head, provoking him to mould to fit her definition and prove his “manhood” by any means. This averts from the societal norms of the time where the husbands would pioneer the marriage and the wife would take a much more obedient and submissive approach than Lady Macbeth adopts. “When you durst do it then you are a man”
Contrarily, Macbeth exhibits an endearing nature when conversing with his “dearest partner of greatness" and "dearest love." This indicates that Macbeths morality is fogged by his love for his wife as well his corrupted ambition and unveils to the audience Macbeth’s hamartia, his vulnerability to be coerced.
The relationship of the Macbeth’s erodes gradually throughout the play leading to a tragic denouement of the couple, her suicide and his vengeful death. A turning point where this prevails is the banquet scene. Lady Macbeth communicates disapprovingly to her husband that he “lacks the seasons of all natures.” This is ironic as she reprimanded him into committing the treasonous murder in the first place. This highlights the instability of her mental state and as a result, her relationship with her husband.
Macbeths portrayal of his emotions is also a creditable contribution to the downfall of their relationship. We observe this in the rebuking Lady Macbeth gives him prior to the murder to “Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under’t” This is very different to how he acted following the murder discovery. “There’s nothing serious in mortality” almost eulogises the death of Duncan and does not conform with the distressed reactions from the rest of them “O, Horror! Horror! Horror! “
Lady Macbeth however supresses her emotions throughout the entirety of the play, revealing them only in soliloquy and in an unconscious state “Noughts had all’s spent” before reverting back to her emotionless apathetic demeanour upon the arrival of Macbeth. “Things without all remedy should be without regard. What’s done is done” Suppressing her emotions is what led her to hysteria and her eventual death as she did not open herself up to the support of her husband.
Shakespeare’s story of the Macbeth’s tragic demise acts as a an allegory to his audience of all eras, that you should not let your ambition take priority over your morals and the people close to you.