Relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is not presented as stereotypical of societal norms in the Jacobean era.
Lady Macbeth appears to pioneer the relationship from the offset as she relentlessly manipulates Macbeth by rebuking him and scornfully emasculating him “when you durst do it then you are a man” She redefines masculinity for him as brutal and merciless which cajoles him into proving his manhood to her by committing regicide. This is very corrupt as in a marriage, you’re supposed to support your spouse.
The love he has for his wife seems unrequited to an extent as he refers to her as his “dearest partner of greatness “ in his love letter whereas she prioritizes her lust for power upon reading these words “fill me with the direst cruelty.” The superlative of direst emphasises the extremity of their differences.
Lady Macbeth coaches Macbeth on the art of deception following the murder. “False face must hide what the false heat doth know.” The heart is regarded as the centre of a person’s innermost thoughts and feelings. The fact that she is demanding that this can be falsified in the same regard as a facial expression is extremely corrupt as this conflicts human nature.
Lady Macbeth has a lot of control over Macbeth and his susceptibility to this is inevitably his hamartia and galvanises the tragic denouement of the couple; his vengeful death and her traumatic suicide.
Lady Macbeth originally requests for her femininity to be displaced masculinity: “Take my milk for gall.” This shows that she is not satisfied with Macbeth’s manhood as she fears he is “too full of the milk of human kindness” This metaphor does not place their relationship in good light as the order found in gender roles (a woman’s femininity and a man’s masculinity) has been lost.
Lady Macbeth fails to recognise her husband after he commits the murder “You lack the season of all natures” The use of superlative helps to emphasise his loss of identity. Her reaction to the banquet scene is also very ironic considering she convinced him to kill Duncan.
Both the Macbeth’s summon darkness to cover their deeds “come thick night” and “let not light see.” This indicates that they are both trying to cover up the deed and are both responsible for the murder. Additionally, the fact that Lady Macbeth does not express her thoughts to her husband, apart from when sleepwalking or in soliloquy “where desire is got without content” shows the lack of support within their relationship.