Do you agree with Lady Macbeth that "This is the air-drawn dagger, which you said, led you to Duncan?" (From William Shakespeare's Macbeth)

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

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In Act III, Scene iv of Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth (after witnessing Macbeth's breakdown) states the following:

O proper stuff!

This is the very painting of your fear:

This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,

Led you to Duncan. O these flaws and starts,

Impostors to true fear, would well become

A woman's story at a winter's fire,

Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!

Why do you make such faces? When all's done,

You look but on a stool.

What Lady Macbeth is stating is that Macbeth is acting like a fool and drawing attention to himself. Her referral to being a woman is another attempt to call Macbeth's manhood into question. She state that a woman doing what Macbeth is doing could be justified, but a man doing it is unacceptable.

As for agreeing with what Lady Macbeth states, I would not necessarily agree with her. She knows that Macbeth is having "issues" with what he has done. His mentality has been called into question by her in the past; therefore, his mindset is not something which she is unfamiliar with. Instead, what I would suggest is that she is pointing out the fact that Macbeth, on the night of his crowing as king, is not making a very good first impression on his followers.

Lady Macbeth is certainly seeing a pattern though. The dagger which Macbeth claimed to have seen, and now the ghost of Banquo, is making Macbeth look like a fool ("You look but on a stool").

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