What is Lady Macbeth's role in the murder of Duncan?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The lady is solely responsible.  Had she not read the letter, or been home when Duncan visited, he would have left without any harm coming to him.   

Lady Macbeth comes up with the idea for murdering Duncan while reading the letter her husband has sent her regarding the witches' prophecy.  From the moment Macbeth returns home, she is in his ear convincing him of the necessity of the deed. She plans it and puts the plan in action. She even says that had Duncan not resembled her own father, she would have done it herself.  After she sounds the bell to send Macbeth to Duncan's chamber and he returns with the daggers, she takes them back to the room and plants them on the guards in Duncan's bedchamber.   She is the one who insists on "a little water clears us of the deed" but she does not realize the power of a guilty conscience.  She is the first to fall to guilt, sleepwalking and then suicide.


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