Character: Lady Macbeth
1. Act II, Scene 2. Lady Macbeth has been anxious about Macbeth's resolve to kill King Duncan so that he can advance the predictions of the witches. She has even asked the preternatural spirits to unsex her so that she can encourage Macbeth.
She has made all the preparations for Macbeth, laying the daggers where he will see them so that they can implicate the servants. But when she hears Macbeth cry out from within "Who's there? What, ho?" she becomes very worried.
....I am afraid they have awaked,
And ’tis not done. Th' attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done ’t. (2.2.9-13)
Diary Entry: What will happen now? Oh, why has my lord cried out? I grow frail and bent with terrifying thoughts as I await him. If he has failed and been seen we must flee the country else be treated as traitors. Hurry, Macbeth, and be successful in thy deed! O, that I had not seen my father in Duncan's face and had done the deed myself!
2. Act II, Scene 2. After Macbeth returns, he tells his wife that he has heard voices cry out, "Sleep no more! Macbeth doth murder sleep" and he confesses to Lady Macbeth, "I am afraid to think what I have done." She, in turn, berates him:
My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white [knock from within
I hear a knocking
At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed.
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended. (2.2.64-70)
Diary Entry: My lord's resolve is not firm. I must be the stronger and direct his thoughts that we will prevail in our desire to rule Scotland. I will distract him in his thoughts; I will attend him with constancy. Who is this now who knocks? He hath brought my lord forth in his gown! O, you spirits who made the predictions, watch over Macbeth that he not reveal his womanliness now.
3. Act III, Scene 2. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that although King Duncan is dead, they have yet to fear Banquo and his son. Lady Macbeth then advises him that Banquo and Fleance cannot live forever: "But in them nature's copy's not eterne." In reply, Macbeth says that they can be killed, and he tells his wife that a terrible deed will be done before the night is over.
What's to be done? (3.2.47)
Diary Entry: My lord has informed me not of his intentions, only told me a "deed of dreadful note" will be done. How can sleep come to me when I have heard such words? Truly now, Macbeth hath murdered sleep for me. How these evil sisters and there dark predictions do make play with us!
I wish the dawn would come so that I can ask Macbeth what hath occurred and know before our guests arrive this next day.
But....I am gladdened that Macbeth hath resolve now and seems stronger in his purpose.
4. Act III, Scene 4. The noblemen arrive for the banquet at the palace. Lady Macbeth tells her husband that he is not being a proper host because he has not welcomed the guests properly. However, as Macbeth starts to sit down, the ghost of Banquo is in his place disturbing Macbeth in his thoughts. He asks who has done this to him, and his guests are confused. Ross suggests that they depart because the king is not well. Quickly, Lady Macbeth tries to allay their doubts about Macbeth, explaining that he has had similar fits since his youth. But when Macbeth grows worse, she must ask the guests to depart quickly.
Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus
And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
The fit is momentary; upon a thought
He will again be well. (3.4.56-59)
I pray you, speak not....
Question enrages him: at once, good night.
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once. (3.4.121-124)
Diary Entry: Last eve I reflected upon my lord's mettle. Now, this eve he hath made a fool of himself. Surely, all will doubt and mistrust him as a king. What shall we do? Macbeth needs sleep to restore him..... I, too, require sleep. He hath said that his delusion is but the fear that precedes a deed; still I cannot but be anxious of all this. Perchance the words of the weird sisters will clear our minds as my lord hath said. Truly, we are, as my lord says, "steeped in blood." How one deed doth lead to another and another! Come, O Night's curtain, and close around me in soft dreams! I feel much discomfort.
5. Act V, Scene 1. Lady Macbeth breaks under the duress of supporting Macbeth. As Macbeth becomes more inhuman, she reverts to the helpless female as opposed to her unsexed, violent, masculine form. In a complete reversal of her characterization, Act V opens with a delusional, guilt-soaked Lady Macbeth. The gentlewoman who tends Lady Macbeth reports to the doctor that Lady Macbeth says things she cannot repeat, so she urges him to listen to Lady Macbeth himself. Further, she reports that Lady Macbeth rises from her bed, writes something on paper and seals the letter, then returns to bed. The doctor hears her talking and says he will record her words.
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him. (5.1.25-28)
Diary Entry: I have written to King Duncan asking forgiveness. I did beseech Banquo as well. O conscience! What hath thou done to me? That spot--that damned spot....blood, blood, blood, blood! And the smell upon my hands? Cannot I rid myself of all this?
Yet must I protect my lord--To bed, my lord, there is that infernal knocking!