In Macbeth, how does Shakespeare characterize the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?  Focus on key scenes: Act 1, Scene 5–7 Act 2, Scene 2 and 3 Act 3, Scene 2 and 4 Act 5, Scene 1 (Sleepwalking scene) Act 5, Scene 5 (Lady Macbeth's Death)

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In act 1, scene 5, we see Lady Macbeth reading a letter from her husband in which he refers to her as his "dearest partner of greatness." Referring to one's wife as one's "partner" during the 11th century is pretty unusual; wives were usually subservient and were expected to be submissive to their husbands. It seems, then, that Macbeth loves and respects his wife. He even wants her not to "lose the dues of rejoicing" over his news by having to wait for him to come home to hear it. We see, also, that she feels she is more powerful than he and that she can manipulate him when she says, "Hie thee hither, / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear." She plans to tell him what needs to be done to make his fate come to fruition.

When Macbeth returns home, we see that he calls her his "dearest love" while she refers to him as "Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor"; his feelings for her are straightforward and clear, but her feelings for him more complex and bound up, perhaps, with his position. She does...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 14, 2020