How Does Lady Macbeth Influence Macbeth

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Words: 767 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 767|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is a tragic tale of ambition, power, and the corrupting influence of unchecked desires. At the center of this gripping drama is Lady Macbeth, a character who plays a crucial role in shaping the decisions and actions of her husband, Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's influence over Macbeth is undeniable, as she manipulates his thoughts, challenges his masculinity, and fuels his ambition, ultimately leading to his downfall. This essay will explore the ways in which Lady Macbeth influences Macbeth, examining her persuasive tactics and the consequences of her actions.

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From the very beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth exerts her influence on Macbeth by manipulating his thoughts and emotions. In Act 1, Scene 5, she receives a letter from Macbeth informing her of the witches' prophecies. Immediately, Lady Macbeth recognizes the opportunity for power and begins to scheme, stating, "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be / What thou art promised" (1.5.14-15). Here, Lady Macbeth plants the seeds of ambition in Macbeth's mind, convincing him that he deserves to be king and pushing him to take action. Furthermore, she questions his masculinity, asserting that he is not "without ambition, but without / The illness should attend it" (1.5.17-18). By challenging his manhood, Lady Macbeth effectively manipulates Macbeth's thoughts and motivates him to commit the heinous act of regicide.

Supporting evidence can be found in the scene where Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to kill Duncan. She uses persuasive language, saying, "I have given suck, and know / How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me" (1.7.54-55). Here, she indirectly implies that Macbeth is less of a man if he does not take this opportunity to seize power. Lady Macbeth's manipulation plays a crucial role in influencing Macbeth's decision to murder Duncan, as he succumbs to her persuasive tactics and the desire to prove his masculinity.

Lady Macbeth's influence over Macbeth is further amplified by her continuous challenge to his masculinity. In the Jacobean era, manhood was closely tied to strength, honor, and the ability to assert dominance. Lady Macbeth skillfully exploits these societal expectations to push Macbeth towards committing regicide.

One example of Lady Macbeth challenging Macbeth's masculinity is evident in Act 1, Scene 7, where Macbeth hesitates to carry out the plan to murder Duncan. Lady Macbeth berates him, saying, "When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And to be more than what you were, you would / Be so much more the man" (1.7.49-51). By questioning Macbeth's manhood, Lady Macbeth manipulates his emotions and forces him to prove his masculinity by following through with their plan. This constant challenge to his virility significantly influences Macbeth, pushing him further into the depths of darkness.

In addition to manipulating Macbeth's thoughts and challenging his masculinity, Lady Macbeth plays a crucial role in fueling his ambition. She becomes the driving force behind his quest for power, pushing him to commit unthinkable acts in order to achieve their shared goals.

One instance where Lady Macbeth fuels Macbeth's ambition is in Act 1, Scene 3, when Macbeth hesitates about killing Duncan. Lady Macbeth admonishes him, stating, "Art thou afeard / To be the same in thine own act and valor / As thou art in desire?" (1.7.39-41). Here, Lady Macbeth highlights Macbeth's ambition and desire for power, urging him to overcome his fear and take action. By constantly reminding him of his aspirations, Lady Macbeth keeps Macbeth focused on their shared goal, solidifying her influence over him.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth uses her own ambition as a tool to manipulate Macbeth. In Act 1, Scene 5, she declares, "Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here" (1.5.39-40). This statement reveals her willingness to abandon traditional gender roles and embrace a ruthless ambition. Lady Macbeth's ambition serves as a constant reminder to Macbeth of the power they could both attain if they follow through with their plans. Her unwavering determination to achieve greatness fuels Macbeth's own ambition, solidifying her influence over him.

In conclusion, Lady Macbeth's influence over Macbeth is undeniable. Through her manipulation of his thoughts, her challenge to his masculinity, and her fueling of his ambition, she shapes his decisions and actions throughout the play. Lady Macbeth's persuasive tactics and relentless pursuit of power ultimately lead to Macbeth's downfall. This tragic tale serves as a cautionary reminder of the consequences of unchecked ambition and the corrupting influence of those who manipulate and exploit it. Shakespeare's portrayal of Lady Macbeth's influence over Macbeth continues to captivate audiences and serves as a timeless exploration of the human psyche.


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Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Kenneth Muir, Oxford University Press, 2005.

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How Does Lady Macbeth Influence Macbeth. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“How Does Lady Macbeth Influence Macbeth.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
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