A Comparison in Morality of Two Shakespeare Characters

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Both Lady Macbeth and Iago, have versions of a temptation scene in which they manipulate the minds of their prey to achieve a goal. After strengthening her mind and fortifying her emotions, Lady Macbeth feels prepared to take on the responsibility for what’s to come. Sensing her husband’s tentativeness, she eases his nerves by saying “you shall put this night’s great business into my dispatch, which shall to all our nights and days to come give solely sovereign sway and masterdom” (I. vii. 67-70). She manages to keep her cool and maintains a level head for the beginning stages of their villainy when Macbeth is still on the edge. In order to push him into compliance she distorts her idea of masculinity and “comes to assume all the obnoxious aspects of patriarchal thinking. She patronizes Macbeth, seeks to bring him back into the logical system of masculine dialect [and] male dominance in the name of order” (Fawkner 92). Knowing full well that Macbeth would be swayed by this line of taunting, she questions him, “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’, like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?” (I. vii. 39-44). She goes on to assure him of the impossibility of their failure and promises him that he’ll “be so much more than man” upon completion of their evil deed (I. vii. 51). “This was the nature of Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth. She could sway him because she understood him and loved him, and because he loved her and depended on her love and good thoughts of him” (Shanley 308). It was this trust in each other and the fact that she knows just which stri...

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