How is love and power shown in macbeth and brownings my last duchess Watch
Macbeth:-The problem with Macbeth is that up until Act 3 Sc 1, itcould be argued that he is both a patriotic hero – Act 1 Sc 2 – and from Act 1Sc 3 to Act 1 Sc 7 I would argue that heis unable to make up his mind. He does not want to murder Duncan but is unableto come out and say so. When in Act 1 Sc 7 he does eventually make a decisionit only takes Lady Macbeth 13 lines Act 1 Sc 7 L 61 to 73 to get him to changehis mind.The seeing of the dagger and the bungled murder point to hisunease in murdering Duncan.However from Act 3 Sc 1 when he plots the murder of Banquoand his terrorizing of Scotland as well as the murder of Lady Macduff and herfamily, it is clear Macbeth is a villain.In my view it is cliché – and prompted by Malcolm’s speechin Ac 5 Sc 9 – to consider him a villain and murderer. Yes he murders but hismotives and character make this assumption a bit simplistic.
I would point out the following:-a) In Act 1 Sc 2 he single handedly defeats the two assaults on Duncan’s kingship. Further it is fellow thanes that are attempting tooverthrow Duncan and – one assumes – afterwards murder him. Not only has he notjoined these two, he fights against them.
b) I would point out the two moments when he clearly isunhappy with the idea of murdering Duncan. Act 1 Sc 3 L.143/4 when he says hewill leave it to chance when he is king and Act 1 Sc 5 L. 71 when he informs Lady Macbeth that they will talk later. Act 1 Sc 7 L. 31 when he says they willproceed no further. Yes he later agrees, but look at Lady Macbeth’s 13 linesand the language she uses to get him to change his mind. And note those 13 lines are all about getting him to change hismind: that is their purpose. I would suggest all of that is very different from what wethink of as a villain. These are hardly the actions of a villain.
c) I would suggest the dagger scene and the bungled murderare hardly images that would suggest villainy.
d) However after the assassination the character of Macbethundergoes a change and – up until the final contest with Macduff – he is clearly more of a villain.Therefore I would suggest that in the case of Macbeth it is too simplistic to paint him solely as a villain.
My Last Duchess:-Now the Duke is very different. He is a murderer who feels so secure in his position that he has no problem boasting about it to the Count’s emissary. Not only has he murdered once he implies that if the Count’s daughter does not please him he will murder again. This is a very different character to Macbeth. The Duke does not undergo any of the sole searching that Macbeth involves himself with. In addition for the Duke the murder of his Duchess is a deeply personal matter. For Macbeth the murder of Duncan is a political matter. The Duke is personally aggrieved and insulted by the behavior of the Duchess. Although he gets others to do the killing, in a sense his murder of her is cold vengeance. Although in the murder of Duncan Macbeth undertakes the murder himself, the murders of Banquo and lady Macduff are carried out by others on his behalf. One assume should the count’s daughter not please the Duke he will have her murdered as well.There is a major difference between these two. The Duke is acold calculating being and indifferent to the views of others. Even in the caseof the Count’s bounty there will be no discussion he will name the sum and he expects no argument. MacBeth is different. There is a human side with him – and a human side that has gone badly wrong.
How to link the two Characters:- I imagine there are many ways to link the two, but I would link through character. Macbeth is essentially a good person who makes a fatal act of judgement. The consequence of which brings out a side of his character that - until then - had been suppressed. The Macbeth in Act 1 Sc 2 is a very different Macbeth to the one we see at the second meeting with the witches and arbitrarily decides to murder Lady Macduff and her family just because he can. There is colour variation in his character. Whereas there appears to be no such variation in the character of the Duke. It seems unlikely that the Duke married the Duchess for love. The negotiations on behalf of the Count for the Duke to marry his daughter is most likely what happened with the Duchess. The Duchess is another ornament in his house. The only negotiation is hw much the father will be prepared to pay.
In the character of the Duke the fact that he feels secure enough to boast of having murdered his last Duchess is an issue of significance.
Both the Duke and Macbeth are murderers, but why they murder is very different.
Macbeth:- Aside from the often quoted "chuck” there is other evidence of the relationship between Lady Macbeth and her husband. The text makes clear that there is a close relationship between these two. He writes to his wife immediately after meeting the witches. It is clear he wants her to know the latest events in his life. That said it is clear he finds it difficult to refuse his wife anything. When in Act 1 Sc 5 the idea of the assassination is discussed between them he evades making a decision. In Act 1 Sc 7 where he does make a decision it only takes Lady Macbeth 13 lines to get him to change his mind. True her incredible language was one reason, but the other was he regard and love for his wife. His true feelings about the assassination are contained in the final lines of Act Sc 7.
Implied in the play is the notion that it is his regard and love for his wife that makes him go against his better judgement not to murder Duncan. See Act1 sc 3 143/144 where he says if he is to be king then chance will make him king. He wants to be king, but he does not want to murder to be so. However the assassination changes things. At the first meeting of the couple after the murder lady Macbeth says "How now my Lord? why do you keep alone." As regards the relationship between Macbeth and lady Macbeth the great consequence in their relationship is that after the murder Macbeth distances himself from his wife. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that he blames her for the murder and its consequences.
We do not find - after the murder - the great conversations that were such an aspect of the scenes leading up to the murder.Yes, there is the conversation at the end of the banquet scene, but this is a sad and depressing discussions. We have two characters who show none of the liveliness of the scenes before the murder.There is still affection between the two as signalled by Lady Macbeth's affectionate comment “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.” Caught in the midst of an all out attack on his castle, learning that Lady Macbeth is ill he informs the doctor “If thou couldst, Doctor, cast the water of my land, find her disease, And purge it to a sound an pristine health I would applaud thee to the very echo, That should applaud again.” Act 5 Sc 3L. 50/54 It is clear within these words is the deep love that Macbeth feels for his wife. It is when Malcolm launches the attack on Macbeth that he gets the news that Lady Macbeth is dead. Even then he takes time to reflect on her death. Act 5 Sc 5 L 17/23
This is not Romeo and Juliet, you will not find the great love speeches here. But that does not mean you will not find language that describes the love between Macbeth and his wife.
My Last Duchess:-
The Duke passionate love - and passionate is the right word - is for objects especially objects of art and not for people. The poem begins with the description of two of the objects in his palace. There are lines about who painted the picture and how long Fra Pandolf took. As with Claus on Innsbruck, we can assume both were the eminent men in their field.The discussion with the emissary is all about money - i.e. what he will be paid to marry the Count's daughter. There is passion in the Duke, but is either anger and disgust for people around him including his wife and attendants or his enthusiasm for inanimate objects. There is no comment that illustrates any affection for another human being.
So it is true that both characters love - however it is a different love. For Macbeth it is affection for a fellow being, for the Duke it is affection for inanimate objects and disdain for human beings.