Lady Macbeth Ambition Quotes
What quotes in Macbeth reveal Lady Macbeth's ambition and desire to be queen?
In addition to Lady Macbeth's first appearance in Act One, Scene 5, there are several other scenes throughout the play that display her ambitious personality. In Act One, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth attempts to persuade her husband into murdering King Duncan by calling him a coward and challenging his masculinity. Lady Macbeth says,
"Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would," Like the poor cat i' th' adage?" (1.7.41-45).
When Macbeth begins to experience feelings of trepidation, Lady Macbeth reassures him that their plan will not fail. Lady Macbeth then explains to her husband how he will go about killing King Duncan without people suspecting him. She says,
"When Duncan is asleep—Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey soundly invite him—his two chamberlains will I with wine and wassail so convince that memory, the warder of the brain, shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason a limbeck only: when in swinish sleep their drenchèd natures lie as in a death, what cannot you and I perform upon the unguarded Duncan? What not put upon his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell?" (1.7.61-72).
The fact that Lady Macbeth comes up with the plan to kill King Duncan reveals her ambition. She not only ridicules her husband for having second thoughts about killing the king but also masterminds the plan. She eventually persuades her husband to go through with the murder and ends up being queen.
Well, the obvious place to look is her first scene. W. H. Auden once said that "first things in Shakespeare are always important", and true to form, the first time Lady Macbeth appears, she reads aloud the letter that her husband has sent her detailing the witches' prophecies. The letter refers to her as Macbeth's "dearest partner of greatness" and Lady Macbeth, reading of the prophecies immediately resolves
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way.
Human kindness is not going to stand in the way of their getting their hands on the crown. At the end of the same scene she makes a strong resolution to win the crown for her husband:
Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
And chastise with the valor of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.
I wouldn't say that it's as much that she wants to be queen, as much as she wants her husband to be king. But ambitious? Undoubtedly.