My essay will argue that Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s emotions and moods will change rapidly in such a way that it effects the rest of the play and the way other characters see them and think of them from this scene onwards. This scene also shows and implies the unrest and uncertainty about their relationship as a couple, and this may be one of the reasons why they did what they did towards the end of the play, along with their joint growing mental instability.
At the banquet, Macbeth is just welcoming his guests when one of the murderers comes to the door. He informs Macbeth that Banquo is dead but Fleance has escaped. From here on in this scene Macbeth and lady Macbeth’s mood and attitude to their guests and surroundings rapidly change, and show influence to their feelings through out the rest of the play. It is this matter that I will argue.
At the start of the scene Macbeth acts the part of the confident and regal host. He submits the following to all present, “Ourself will mingle with society – and play the humble host.” Macbeth refers to himself as ‘Ourself’ so to give him a more regal status. Also the fact that Macbeth calls himself the ‘humble host’ when we all know he is getting more blood-hungry and murderous.
When Macbeth makes the toast towards the beginning of the scene he is joyful and triumphant, showing no fear or guilt from banquo’s murder. Macbeth toasts to everybody that, “I drink to the general joy of the whole table, and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss, would he were here.”
Macbeth deliberately mentions Banquo so that in his own mind, he can congratulate himself with his successful murder, and not be suspected at the same time as mocking Banquo.
Macbeth’s rapid change in mood and emotion is felt when the lords offer him a place at the table, but it appears to him to be full; this combined growing intense question in his mind of ‘who is this person?’ Here on forward his mood changes from being joyful and regal to becoming curious and anticipated. When Macbeth realises that something isn’t quite right, and that the person sitting at the table is actually Banquo’s ghost, he drops his cup and his mood immediately changes from being curious to being nervous, scared and shocked. Lady Macbeth by this time is getting very anxious, and approaches Macbeth when Ross says, “Gentlemen rise, his highness is not well.” It is also interesting to know that some lords, seem from the situation to be worried and bewildered.
Lady Macbeth is somewhat annoyed with Macbeth for not being a good host when she says, “To feed were best at home:
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.”
Here she uses a metaphor to explain that the meeting had no point without Macbeth’s hospitality to the guests.
At this stage in the scene Lady Macbeth is trying her utmost to calm Macbeth and keep him quiet, which is difficult because he is breaking out in short speeches of personification etc. He forms personification to compare things between each other and then compare with himself. For example he says, “It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood: stones have been known to move and trees to speak,” trying to get across the fact that things have been known to change and not go as planned.
The way Macbeth says his speeches; it is as if they are a code that only he knows how to decipher, and lady Macbeth is desperately trying to understand it. Ross it seems is one of the people present who is starting to get quite suspicious of Macbeth, which is shown when he says, “What sights my Lord?” Macbeth himself could really not care less about Ross had just said as he seems to be talking to himself in a sort of trance, Lady Macbeth on the other hand quickly replies with, “I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse,” before her husband has a chance to reply, and then hastily dismisses all of the lords.
Once they are left alone, Lady Macbeth gives way to a fit of depression. Her tone of voice seems to be dull, and her attention to the surroundings and situation distracted. The absence of Macduff marked him as a threat in Macbeth’s mind, and one more person to be disposed of for his and his wife’s evil safety.
The characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have changed in different ways throughout the play so far, Macbeth has become more bloodthirsty and angry towards everybody even sometimes to Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth has had frequent changes in character and personality, she is starting to see the way that her husband is going and is trying to calm things down, as apposed to the beginning of the play where she was like Macbeth is now vice versa.
In general what we have discovered about their characters is that they start off with different thoughts and ways forward and then change to the complete opposite, still clashing with each other’s views.
They were both young in deeds of violence at the beginning of the play, and with their murders and blood thirsty crimes have indeed become more used to it?