Homework Help

In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, what is the quote which shows that Lady Macbeth wants...

user profile pic

vicrene | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM via web

dislike 1 like

In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, what is the quote which shows that Lady Macbeth wants power too?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:17 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

William Shakespeare's Macbeth proves to be a play which speaks to the quest for power. That said, Macbeth is not the only character who desires power. In act one, scene five, Lady Macbeth proves to be another character who desires the power a title will bring.

Perhaps the most prominent quote spoken by Lady Macbeth, which shows her desire for power, is found in lines 41-44:

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty!

While power is not directly spoken of, one can readily see that Lady Macbeth desires power. Here, she is asking "spirits" to make her male, figuratively. She recognizes the fact that men are the ones who possess power. She, therefore, asks to be "unsexed" in order to possess the power to do what needs to be done. In this sense, "direst cruelty" parallels power for Lady Macbeth.

Compounding this idea, Lady Macbeth constantly questions Macbeth's maleness, stating that he is far "too full o’ the milk of human kindness" to do what must be done to take the throne from Duncan.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes