Lady Macbeth's Strategy in William Shakespeare's Play Macbeth

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Lady Macbeth's Strategy in William Shakespeare's Play Macbeth

In the seventh scene of act one Macbeth has left the banquet, and expresses his doubts about murdering Duncan in a monologue. Lady Macbeth comes in, and argues with Macbeth, until she manages to 'convince' him, that he has to murder Duncan.

To do that Lady Macbeth uses mainly two arguments.

'Letting 'I dare not? wait upon ?I would? like the poor cat i? the adage? (lines 43-44). Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth here that he shouldn?t let his chance slip away. Now Duncan is in his castle, now Macbeth can murder him, and now Macbeth can become king. If he waits the chance is gone, and Macbeth never will have a chance to become king, as Duncan already announced, that his son Malcolm will take over the kingdom when Duncan ?retires?. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he shouldn?t have doubts about killing Duncan, as he would regret it afterwards. The feelings Macbeth has are, according to Lady Macbeth, normal, but they shouldn?t stop him from acting. There are always consequences (wet paws) if somebody is killed, but the outcome of the murder is reducing the consequences to virtually nothing: ?Like the poor cat i? adage? Malcolm should try to catch the fish (his chance) even though his paws will become wet (there will be consequences).

?(...), and know how tender ?t is to love the baby that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and have dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done this? (lines 54 - 59). Lady Macbeth claims that she would do the most terrible thing she can imagine, she would kill her own child if necessary. She expects Macbeth to now do the worst thing to him, to kill his King Duncan, as it is, according to her, necessary. In fact the comparison Lady Macbeth uses is drawing a very good picture of the situation - Duncan is feeling protected in Macbeth?s castle (just like a baby does in its mother?s arms) and speaks very well about him (?smiles? at Macbeth). Macbeth plans to murder Duncan, who is as unsuspecting about that, as a baby wouldn?t expect his mother to kill him.

The only thing Lady Macbeth says here that doesn?t fit is ?had I so sworn as you have done this? Macbeth never has sworn to murder Duncan, or even really spoke out to her that he is thinking about murdering Duncan. That shows how Lady Macb...

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..., and says: ?Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.? (Act IV, Sene I, ll.85-87). This apparition informs Macbeth that no man born from a woman can harm him. finally, the last apparition appears and is a child crowned, with a tree in his hand. The apparition is saying that he will never bedefeated until Great Birnam wood shall come against him to High Dunsinane Hill. ?Be lion melted, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquish?d e until Great Birnam wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.? (Act VI, Scene I, ll.98-102). These apparitions convinced Macbeth that this was his fate and became over confident, and lead him to his death. The use of the supernatural in Macbeth results quite well with the respect of the unknown. Without the witches, the ghost, the visions, and the apparitions, ?Macbeth? would have been a dull and tiresome play. Even today?s readers need motivation to read, and this ancient superstition of spirits enhanced the play dramatically.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Dietrich Klose. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1970.

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