Shakespeare MacBeth and Lady MacBeth An Analysis of a Marriage

MacBeth orders more murders to cover up the original murder. Meanwhile, while MacBeth becomes more evil, Lady MacBeth becomes more guilty at her role in the crimes. She tries to wash imaginary blood off of her hands, and she begins to sleepwalk. She ends up killing herself. MacBeth himself ends up being beheaded by MacDuff, for whom MacBeth is responsible for the wife and child being murdered (Shakespeare). This would make it seem that the two, MacBeth and Lady MacBeth do not have a good marriage – she manipulated him, and paid for it with her life. he became a murderous villain who turned completely away from good, because of her urgings. While this might be the surface of the play, a deeper reading of their marriage proves slightly more complicated. Discussion Munro (1887) states that Lady MacBeth fully manipulated MacBeth, which would imply that the marriage was not a good one, because one partner shouldn’t attain what they want through manipulating another. As Munro states, Lady MacBeth knew MacBeth extremely well – his strengths, weaknesses, fear and hopes, and his basic nature. As such, she was able to manipulate him and his nature. Munro (1887) states that MacBeth didn’t want to do what he did, but only did so because he was manipulated and goaded into doing it by Lady MacBeth. This would imply that MacBeth was, in essence, emasculated – instead of being the man in the relationship, which would mean that he would be the one taking charge, at least during Shakespeare’s time, MacBeth was not the one in charge, but, rather, was being dominated by Lady MacBeth. In this view, Lady MacBeth was manipulative, and MacBeth was emasculated by her (Chamberlain, 2005). These two traits in a marriage would not necessarily speak towards the marriage being a sound one, to say the least. Further, the marriage was not healthy because the two of them brought out the very worst in one another. As Munro (1887) notes, Lady MacBeth’s goading of MacBeth led MacBeth to do the treacherous deed of killing Duncan, and, after this, his basic nature began to change. Where he was considered kind-hearted and well-loved before this act, after this act, he began to drift away from his basic nature of goodness. He piled one crime upon another crime, in an effort to make sure that his original crime was not undone and his position was maintained. Lady MacBeth, meanwhile, became wracked with guilt over what she had wrought – a tyrant, and the knowledge that she was the one responsible for MacBeth’s conversion to a man who turned away from good. So, in essence, MacBeth brought out guilt and remorse from his wife. Lady MacBeth brought out evil in her husband. Since a marriage is supposed to bring out the best in one another, not the very worst, this is another reason why their marriage could not be said to be a good one. Despite the view by most that Lady MacBeth was emasculating and murderous, therefore the marriage between the two could not be considered healthy, there are some alternative views. For instance, Lotto (2007) states that Lady MacBeth did what she did, in essence, for love. Lady MacBeth knew of MacBeth’s ambition to be king, says Lotto (2007), so she decided that she would do all that she could to make this ambition come true. Lady MacBeth also knew that her husband was too kind-hearted to do what he needed to do to attain power, which is to murder Duncan, so that is the only reason why she took it upon herself. It was then that Lady MacBeth asked to be unsexed – that, in other words, she, as a female, did not have the capability of cruelty, so she wished to have