How does the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change throughout the play?
In the early stages of the play, the Macbeths seem to be a devoted couple. Their love and concern for each other remains strong and constant throughout the play, but their relationship changes dramatically following the murder of King Duncan in Act 2.
The Macbeths’ relationship is presented in very strong terms in Act 1 by virtue of their sense of togetherness and resolve when separated by war and when placed under enormous pressure and temptation by the Witches’ prophesies. Macbeth’s initial reaction to the prophesy of his future kingship in Act 1, scene 3, is skepticism and disbelief: “Say from whence/You owe this strange intelligence? or why/Upon this blasted heath you stop our way/With such prophetic greeting?”, but this changes to amazement and wonder when he hears from Ross about his promotion to the Thane of Cawdor, in the same scene, and he immediately thinks about using bloody means to become king: “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,/Shakes so my single state of man”, but as this quotation also shows, he is afraid of its treasonable implications.
His devotion to Lady Macbeth is immediately apparent in Act 1, scene 5, when he writes her a letter in strictest confidence informing her about the prophesies, although there is a note of inferiority and intimidation, and a sense of duty in his comments: “This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness”. Yet it is a sign of their understanding that they independently come to the same conclusion about killing the king. This is apparent in Lady Macbeth’s instant response to his letter:
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round.
Lady Macbeth knows her husband’s weaknesses though, “yet do I fear thy nature;/ It is too full o' the milk of hum...