Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Relationship: Love and Ambition

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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Relationship: Love and Ambition

The essay examines the complex relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy. It focuses on themes of love, ambition, and power dynamics within their partnership. The piece delves into how their relationship evolves from mutual ambition to tragic downfall, scrutinizing key scenes that highlight their interactions and the influence they exert over each other. It also discusses the psychological aspects of their characters, exploring how ambition and guilt manifest in their marriage. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about Social Psychology.

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The Complexity of Love and Ambition

Love demands your full attention. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s marriage takes a backseat to their ambitions, which greatly complicates their relationship. Complicating is the best way to describe the relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. They are both driven by power, are very supportive of each other, and, in the beginning, are treated as equals. Their marriage is the best relationship in all of Shakespeare’s plays, until the murder of King Duncan slowly ruins it.

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Their relationship, and later in the play lack thereof, play a small role in both of their downfalls, to imply that while love is a good thing, it can easily be destructive under the wrong circumstances.

A Caring Partnership Begins

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is a very caring one, at least initially. Lady Macbeth is loyal, corroborates Macbeth, and sets up plans to help him achieve his goals. She takes advantage of the opportunity that has been presented before them. In her first appearance at the end of Act 1, she is remarkably fervent about murdering Duncan and gives Macbeth the advice he needs to help pull it off, saying, “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under.” After he kills Duncan, he is overtaken by guilt, and Lady Macbeth is there for him. The ambiguous prophecies of the Three Witches also harm their relationship as after he initially acquiesces to their prophecies, he begins to trust too much in them. He does not tell her about the clandestine meetings with the three murderers. As soon as Macbeth distances himself from his wife, their downfall is inevitable. They began dealing with their problems alone, and their weaknesses got the best of them. Their lack of a strong relationship contributes to their own downfall. In terms of marriage, especially during this time, they genuinely love each other. After the murder of Duncan, their relationship begins to decline, and so does the quality of their lives.

Separate Paths, Collective Downfall

Macbeth incorrectly construes the prophecies of the Three Witches, becomes an arrogant despot, distances himself from his wife, and stops involving her in his plans. Without his wife, he is messy, and his hired covert murderers do not completely pull off the murders of Fleance and Macduff’s family. There were multiple factors that contributed to the downfall of Lady Macbeth, and one of those was her lack of involvement with Macbeth during the later acts of the story. In the article ‘Unnatural Deeds do Breed Unnatural Troubles,’ it states, “Her ambition for her husband and herself proved fatal to him, far more so that the prophecies of the witches; but even when she pushed him into murder she believed she was helping him to do what he merely lacked the nerve to attempt.” Lady Macbeth honestly believes she is helping him but does not realize the unintended consequences of her actions, which, as part of a larger problem, would ruin their relationship. While they are both responsible for their own downfalls, Shakespeare uses their relationship, along with all of the others in his many plays, to express his feelings about love.

Shakespeare’s View on Love

Confusing, complicated, and unpredictable. These are just a few of the words to describe William Shakespeare’s feelings on love, as expressed throughout many of his plays, as most of them have some sort of an element of romance in them. Shakespeare’s personal life does not reveal much about his feelings, as he does not explicitly state how he feels in any of his personal writings. There are also many kinds of love, as portrayed by his plays Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. Some of these traits are misguided, tragic, and genuine, but the disparities are clear. In Macbeth, Shakespeare implies that love can contribute to one’s own undoing if one allows it to. Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth to kill Duncan, which starts a chain reaction in slowly undoing their relationship. Shakespeare’s beliefs on love are unclear, but never in any of his plays does he suggest that love leads to self-destruction.

Modern Perspective on Love in Macbeth

Love is very different from the tragedy of Macbeth. Most relationships do not involve planning to murder the king together. Love mostly plays a background role in Macbeth, but in real life, falling in love and getting married are some of the biggest aspects of life. Love is extremely convoluted. There are lots of elements and hard work that are necessary for a healthy relationship. It is incredibly challenging to maintain a good relationship, with the many possible obstacles in the way. Love cannot be forced. People are willing to go to great lengths to put themselves out there and are willing to try just about anything for a chance at a relationship. The truth is you cannot force something that is not there, and if left unchecked can be an unhealthy obsession. Love is a strong object that brings out the best and worst in people.

Final Thoughts: Love’s Power and Consequences

Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, along with their inability to keep a good relationship with each other, are responsible for their own downfall. Their relationship is not the main reason for their demise, but the lack of one did not help. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s marriage was one of real love, one that was ruined by their ambitions and selfishness. William Shakespeare expresses one of his beliefs on love throughout the play to state that love is a powerful object that can lead to heartbreak or to one of the best feelings in the world. The song The Power of Love says it best, “The power of love is a curious thing, make a one man weep, make another man sing.


  1. Shakespeare, W. (1606). Macbeth.
  2. Bloom, H. (2010). Bloom’s Shakespeare Through the Ages: Macbeth. Infobase Publishing.
  3. Bryson, B. (2008). Shakespeare: The World as Stage. HarperCollins.
  4. Greenblatt, S. (2004). Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. W. W. Norton & Company.
  5. Stallybrass, P. (1986). Macbeth and witchcraft. Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief. Cambridge University Press.
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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Relationship: Love and Ambition. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from