Within the story of Macbeth, Macbeth has many different relationships with many different people which all contribute to the tragic storyline. A lot of the relationships don’t last long or are either very unhealthy. Throughout the story relationships never last, the play shows the power in a relationship and how it could take a role in someone’s life and lifestyle. For example relationships like Banquo and Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, and also the relationship with Scotland and Macbeth. These relationships are shown as unhealthy and how they turned out for the worst.
From the beginning, Banquo is seen to be one of Macbeth’s closest friends. In the start, Macbeth and Banquo are loyal to each other, honorable, and extraordinary warriors of King Duncan’s army. Banquo and Macbeth’s friendship is challenged on their encounter with the three witches. The witches promised Macbeth that’d he’d be king by which Banquo is anxious to find out his future. Although Banquo’s family is promised to sit on the throne, Banquo hesitates to have faith in the witches prophecy. He has recognized them to be evil and devious. Banquo is quick to distinguish evil plans where Macbeth fails to. “…Oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths…” (Act I, Scene 3, lines 124-28)
Despite Banquo’s warning, Macbeth is now more confident that his deep desire will be fulfilled especially after the witches prophecy. Macbeth feels that kingship is within his reach and acts upon the prophecy, however, Banquo feels that he does not need to act, as he believes that if the prophecy is true, it will happen without his action. The difference in their attitude is seen in their encounter with the witches. Unknowing if the witches are telling the truth, Banquo is cautious in questioning them about the prophecies. “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favors nor your hate.”(Act 1, Scene 3, 61-64). However, Macbeth commands “tell me more. By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of Glamis”(Act 1, Scene 3, 71). Macbeth’s belief in the witches prophecy makes him act to fulfill his desire and the prophecy.
When Macbeth murders King Duncan, Banquo becomes very skeptical of him, yet he remains loyal to Macbeth. Banquo’s outstanding quality of loyalty stands throughout the whole play. Banquo does not act on the witches, even after King Duncan’s murder, Banquo still remains faithful to the new king, Macbeth, although he is suspicious. Macbeth’s evil ambition brings chaos to Scotland and also to his and Banquo’s friendship. In Macbeth’s selfishness, he also murders Banquo so that Banquo’s prophecy and his generation sitting on the throne will never come. At this stage, it’s clear to see the differences between Macbeth and Banquo. Where Banquo hesitated to act on the Macbeth’s prophecy, yet Macbeth acted. While Banquo chose to remain loyal, he had been murdered. When Banquo could identify evil, Macbeth could not. Macbeth died fighting for his own evil ambitions, but Banquo died as a martyr for Scotland.
In addition to relationships in the story, there’s also Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s unhealthy relationship. Initially, Lady Macbeth seems to be the one to make the decisions in the relationship, for example, “live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’ Like the poor cat I’ the adage”(Act 1, Scene 7, 40). She is the one to first suggest that King Duncan die before leaving Macbeth’s castle, and she asks the spirits to ‘unsex her’ or take away her women qualities so that she can play her part in the murderous scene. She thinks she has them, but she would need to stop being a woman in order to act on her instinct. As a woman, she is too likely to feel guilt and remorse a little more than a man, she says, ‘filled with cruelty like a man’, “Come, your spirits.
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here And fill me, from the crown to the toe” (Act 1, Scene 5, 54) Macbeth is very unsure about murdering the king at first whereas Lady Macbeth is confident and passionate to accomplish the act. She is the one who makes all the plans and keeps them from Macbeth until the time is right. After the murder is committed, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth begin to almost switch places. Macbeth keeps secrets from Lady Macbeth, such as Banquo’s death. Lady Macbeth becomes the one who is unstable and unsure to the point where she goes insane because she cannot handle what she has done. Macbeth becomes seemingly harsh and evil, confidently deciding to kill whoever might threaten his time on the throne.
For both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, their greed, selfishness, and desire for the throne blind them to everything else and deteriorate their relationship to the point that upon Lady Macbeth’s death, Macbeth barely seems to be concerned. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth close together as partners in crime, the consequences of this act ultimately worsen their relationship and drive them apart. Lady Macbeth is worried that her husband lacks the guts and the drive to do what is necessary to take power.
Furthermore, not only did Macbeth destroy his relationships with most people, but he also destroyed Scotland. Macbeth is someone you don’t want to be when it comes to kingship. It shows how violating the laws of God and man by murdering a king turns the Macbeth into a tyrant. Macbeth, once a decent and courageous man, changes for the worse as he pursues his bloodthirsty path. Under his rule, Scotland has turned from a safe, and prosperous kingdom into a land of fear torn apart by the man himself. the conversation between Lennox and the Lord reveals just how bad things have gotten in Scotland. Lennox speaks of rumors and Macbeth’s manner saying strange things have been happening, he also states that Macbeth shows regret to Duncan, but only after Duncan was dead. Lennox also doesn’t believe that is Fleance killed his own father, neither does he believe that Malcolm and Donalbain killed their father.
Macbeth’s grief which led to Macbeth killing the guards out of rage and trying to frame them without them getting a chance to explain themselves. Again, Lennox no longer believes this is what actually happened. Nor does he believe that any of Macbeth’s actions, since the quelling of the rebellion, were done nobly. The Lord then clarifies both the forces that are mustering against Macbeth as well as the reason why the opposition is growing, “That by the help of these—with Him above To ratify the work—we may again Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives” (Act 3, Scene 6, 30). Scotland finally takes action on Macbeth and they come out with an easy victory since not even Macbeth’s troops would fight for him after what he’s done and the mental state he is in.
With Macbeth now dead, they have to choose the new king of Scotland and it goes to the one who most deserves it. “Hail, King! for so thou art. Behold, where stands Th’ usurper’s cursèd head. The time is free. I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl, That speak my salutation in their minds, Whose voices I desire aloud with mine. Hail, King of Scotland!” (Act 5, Scene 8, 65-70). When Macduff says ‘the time is free’ he means that Macbeth’s journey has come to an end and the people of Scotland now live in peace from tyranny.
Macbeth is a play that shows just what can happen when evil and strong ambition gets a tole in a lifestyle and how easy it is to ruin oneself life or many others you have power over. You deteriorate and in the process, can lose everything you have, your life, your dignity, even the relationship with your dearest wife.