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

1613 words - 6 pages

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 Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth that he has to murder Duncan here - she makes him believe that he actually HAS sworn that he?ll murder Duncan, by mentioning that after telling him that she has no doubts about it. He doesn?t even notice that, but his sub consciousness accepts as a fact, that he HAS sworn it.

Another rhetorical device Lady Macbeth uses is that of a rhetorical question: ?Art thou afeared to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thou art in desire ?? (lines 39-41). Everybody KNOWS that your wishes most of the times have to differ from the way you act. Lady Macbeth...

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