Analyse how a relationship revealed strengths and/or weaknesses in a character
In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth revealed strengths and weaknesses in Macbeth. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth revealed Macbeths flaws of being easily manipulated and unconfidence, but also demonstrated how resolute Macbeth was. The strengths and weaknesses revealed through the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth highlights the theme ‘unchecked ambition leads to destruction’.
Macbeth’s fault of being easily manipulated is revealed in the play through Macbeths relationship with Lady Macbeth. Towards the beginning of the play Lady Macbeth uses her position as wife to manipulate Macbeth into killing King Duncan. Lady Macbeth insults Macbeth and says if he does not kill King Duncan, he is not fit to be a man when she says“ When you durst do it, then you were a man; And to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man,”. 1606 was a time where men were looked at as strong, powerful figures with woman being second and considered weak, so for a woman to tell Macbeth that he is like a woman was a great insult at the time. This elucidates how easily Macbeth was manipulated as all it took was his wife (who society considered less than him) to insult him once and he decided to do as she said. Another part in the play where Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband is at the banquet. When Macbeth is calling out to the ghost of Banquo she says “O, THESE FLAWS AND STARTS, IMPOSTERS TO TRUE FEAR, WOULD WELL BECOME A WOMAN’S STORY AT A WINTER’S FIRE, AUTHORIZED BY HER GRANDAM”. Calling Macbeth, a weak fragile woman was all it took for Lady Macbeth to manipulate Macbeth into silence again. Shakespeare uses this line to demonstrate to readers how Macbeth was not manly enough to deal with the consequences of Banquo’s murder. As readers we contemplate about how often we will follow the person we trust the most rather than making a choice of our own. Macbeths love for his wife made him more susceptible to being manipulated by her as he did not want to lose her if he went against her ideas despite Macbeth supposed to be the decision maker of the household. Shakespeare used the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to show how easily Macbeth was manipulated which led to Macbeth causing a lot of unneeded death and war because he became too ambitious and neglected the thoughts of others.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeths relationship also revealed Macbeths strength of being resolute. For instance, Macbeth says “I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell. “. This illustrates how resolute Macbeth was as once he had decided to kill Duncan, he would do so regardless of the consequences. Despite having second thoughts earlier once Macbeth had made his decision, he was not going back on it, even though he felt guilty. His relationship with his wife revealed this strength because without Lady Macbeth, Macbeth would have never decided to kill Duncan so we would not have seen his quality of being resolute. The quality of being resolute was important in Macbeth as it showed how when Macbeth was ambitious, he would achieve what he wanted despite of any destruction he may be causing. The author Shakespeare uses Macbeth and Lady Macbeths relationship to elucidate how Macbeths quality of being resolute led to many unnecessary deaths. Additionally, Macbeth and his wife’s relationship showed us him being resolute was when he ordered the murder of Banquo. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had decided that Macbeth was to be king and so Macbeth was willing to do anything to achieve this ambition- even killing his friend. After Macbeth has ordered the murder of Banquo, he discusses it with his wife and says ‘O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.’ Even though Banquo was his loyal friend he stood in the way of Macbeths success so Macbeth must kill him to achieve his ambition. Macbeth describes the worry he felt as ‘scorpions,’ he was afraid his friend would tell others the truth (that Macbeth had killed Duncan) and like a scorpion flying near you it became impossible for Macbeth to ignore his worry, so he had to kill Banquo. His strength of being resolute was shown in the conversation with his wife as he was telling her that he would do whatever it took to achieve their combined goal. Shakespeare uses the murder of Banquo to reveal to readers how through Macbeth being so resolute he forgot about others and caused a lot of pain and death. I think that as readers we can use the mistakes Macbeth made to ensure that in our own lives our goals are not causing pain to other. We see how in a fictional sense unchecked ambition led to so much destruction, so it makes us stop and think about if our ambitions are likely to cause destruction too and if they are to stop them before it is too late.
The next flaw Macbeth and Lady Macbeths relationship reveals is Macbeths unconfidence. Macbeths unconfidence is his weakness as it is the reason, he is indecisive and make mistakes. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth discuss their plan and Macbeth asks, “If we should fail?”, this elucidates Macbeths unconfidence in himself and in his wife as he contemplates the possibility of everything going wrong. His relationship with his wife reveals this as it is only to his wife that he confesses his fears. Shakespeare uses Macbeths unconfidence to show the theme as we see how despite his fears his unchecked ambition causes him to still go ahead with the plan. It makes us wish Macbeth went with his gut feeling of unconfidence so he had not caused so much trouble. Another point in the play where we see Macbeths unconfidence is when he orders the murder of Macduff’s family. Macbeth says “The castle of Macduff I will surprise; Seize upon Fife: take possession of Fife. Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o’ the sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line: follow him in his family line,”. This demonstrates Macbeths unconfidence as he did not need to kill these innocent people, but he was afraid Macduff was getting too close to the truth, so he decided to cause Macduff unnecessary pain. His relationship with Lady Macbeth revealed this flaw of unconfidence as he did not tell Lady Macbeth of his plans because he was afraid, she would disagree with him. Macbeth ordering the death of Macduff’s family was used by Shakespeare to show how Macbeths unchecked ambition led to unnecessary death. Shakespeare uses Macbeths unconfidence and his actions caused by it to encourage readers to trust in ourselves when we know something is wrong and to have the courage to stand up and defend ourselves rather than just doing what the confident person says. Like Macbeth they may look confident on the outside but be unsure of themselves on the inside.
In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth revealed Macbeths strength of being resolute and revealed his weaknesses of being easily manipulated and unconfident. These strengths and weaknesses were used to elucidate the theme of ‘unchecked ambition leads to destruction’.