What Is Lady Macbeth's Opinion Of Her Husband's Character

In Act one of Macbeth, what is Lady Macbeth's opinion of her husband's character and how does she use her knowledge of his character to convince him to kill Duncan?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth's opinion of Macbeth's character is that he is not manly enough. She even asks him if he is afraid to be a man. She insults Macbeth's manhood. She uses manipulation and control to get Macbeth to act upon his desire to become king. She ridicules Macbeth, hoping to strike a nerve which will help Macbeth follow through with his intention to murder King Duncan.

Macbeth does feel pressured by Lady Macbeth. At one point, he had decided to call off the murder of King Duncan:

We will proceed no further in this business.
He has recently honored me, and I now have the
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which I want to enjoy for a bit longer, and
Not cast them aside so soon.

Lady Macbeth responds by insulting Macbeth's manhood:

Are you afraid
To be the same man in reality
As the one you wish to be? Would you have the crown
Which you believe to be the ornament of life,
And yet live like a coward in your own self-esteem,

Clearly, Lady Macbeth asks Macbeth if he is afraid. She asks him if he wants to live like a coward. She is determined to talk Macbeth into following through with the murder. She uses manipulation and control to her advantage. She will not take "no" for an answer:

When you “dared” to do it, then you were a man;
And, in order to be more than what you are, you would
Be so much more the man.

Lady Macbeth uses terms such as"then you were a man" to try to get Macbeth focusing on his manhood. Lady Macbeth is shrewd, very clever. She is used to getting what she wants. After she tears down Macbeth's so called manhood, she is attempting to shame him into being brave. She is determined to become the queen of Scotland.

Macbeth is still uncertain and has questions about the success of his mission which is to kill King Duncan:

If we should fail?

To this question. Lady Macbeth responds:

We fail!
Only dig deep for your courage,
And we'll not fail.

Finally, Macbeth gives in and decides to follow through with the murdering of King Duncan:

I’m convinced, and I commit
Every part of my body to this terrible event.