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Shakespeare’s Plays: Marriage Essay

In William Shakespeare’s plays Macbeth and Othello, he provides two examples of how marriages can exist. In Macbeth, there is great love in the marriage despite the chaotic plot. In Othello, there was great love at first, but that all ended when the chaos was too much to handle. Shakespeare has a brilliant way of taking an everyday life and turning it upside down with many obstacles in between. Othello for example, fell in love with Desdemona and despite their color or her father’s disapproval, they got married.

It was not until they were put through stress and dramatic situations this love fell apart. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth on the other hand maintained their love for each other throughout the whole play, even though their psychotic mindsets were what kept them on the same page. Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s stronger female characters. Unlike Desdemona in Othello, Lady Macbeth has a very strong influence on Macbeth’s life. Macbeth considers her his “dearest partner of greatness” (1. 5. 11) as he writes her a letter to inform her of the three witches’ prophecies.

As Lady Macbeth read this letter stating that the witches told Macbeth he would soon be King of Scotland and the current ruler, King Duncan, is going to dine with them that evening. The remarkable quality this uncovers about the couple’s relationship is that they did not have to be together to have the same plan in mind, they were simply on the same page even when not side by side. Lady Macbeth knew what had to be done the moment Macbeth’s letter came to her, to kill Duncan for the crown.

Even though carrying on with this plan was hard for Macbeth, Lady Macbeth encouraged him to follow through with it as she was looking out for his future. As the Macbeths carry out their plot to murder Duncan, it starts to affect them both in a dawning manner. Macbeth has instant guilt as he cannot get over the blood on his hands and the voices in his head. Soothingly, Lady Macbeth reassures him “these deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad” (2. 2. 30-31). These words of advice are spoken from the heart to try and comfort Macbeth, which is exactly what he needs to stay strong.

Although he ends up getting worse after killing his good friend Banquo, Lady Macbeth tries to stay as sane as possible for the sake of her husband. When Lady Macbeth gets to her breaking point is when everything starts to fall apart. She starts to sleep walk and have nightmares of the murder while Macbeth is preparing for war. He tells the doctor to do whatever he can to either make her forget, repair her heart or cure her. Eventually Macbeth realized that they were meant to die, to pay for their devilish actions.

When informed that his queen was dead he states “life’s but a walking shadow, poor prayer” (5. 5. 24) which hints that he no longer sees the purpose of life. Macbeth was killed by Macduff as he was seeking revenge for Macbeth killing his father. Othello and Desdemona’s relationship would have been well notable if jealousy did not get the best of Othello. The fact that they went through with an interracial marriage mean tehy had strong feelings for each other. Othello played a blind man when believing Iago when convincing his that Desdemona cheated on him with.

He predicted perfectly what happened as he stated “But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again” (3. 3. 90-92). He decided to choose his jealousy over love and chaos took over his life. Desdemona was a great wife to Othello, even when joining him to Cyprus as Othello was needed to defend the island from the Turks. They had yet to consummate their marriage but this was not a bother to Desdemona because she was true to her husband and knew it could wait. Desdemona had plenty of evidence that she was chaste and loved Othello, he was just too mad to see it.

Their marriage was unfortunate to be doubted from the start which added extra pressure but if Othello truly loved his wife, they could have worked through it all. Iago really played the villain here as he sought revenge Othello and drove him crazy. Othello soon realizes how ignorant he was to have accused his beautiful bride of adultery when he had already smothered her to death and decided to take his own life as well. The Macbeths might have been a bit insane and dangerous when wanting the thrown, but there should be little question if the two loved each other or not.

They were there for each other through thick and thin, no matter what obstacle they went though. When reciting wedding vows that is what you are promising; to side with each other no matter what. Othello decided to ignore that trait about marriage and defied his bide by believing lies of another man. Had he not went against his wife; he would have lived longer and happier with his soul mate. It is safe to say that the Macbeths had a stronger marriage throughout the play in comparison to Othello and Desdemona.

Macbeth received much pressure from his wife, but never complained. He understood it was for his future and she meant no harm. Lady Macbeth remained strong and supportive of her husband. She even helped keep his composure in front of the Lords at dinner. It was not until she became too dramatized to go any further with her support and was said to have killed herself. If they did not have each other they probably would have a hard time being able to last as long as they did after the murder of Duncan.

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