Analyse Lady Macbeth's soliloquy in Act I Scene 5, discussing her character and that of her husband.

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This soliloquy, in which Lady Macbeth determines to push her husband toward his destiny as king of Scotland, is among the most chilling in all of Shakespeare's works. Yet it is not without its ambiguities. On the one hand, Lady Macbeth vows to become ruthless and evil in pursuit of greatness for her husband, asking "the spirits/that tend on mortal thoughts" to "unsex" her, filling her with what Shakespeare's audiences would have viewed as the decidedly unfeminine traits of remorselessness and cunning. On the other, it is always important to remember that she wants all this for her husband, who she clearly loves. Indeed, Lady Macbeth reveals much about Macbeth's character when, reading his letter, she muses that he may be too full of the "milk of human kindness" to carry out the murder of Duncan. She believes him ambitious, but unwilling to do what is necessary to fulfill his ambitions.