Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth
is depicted as a heartless, ambitious woman, who encourages her reluctant husband to follow through with their plan to murder King Duncan
. She also contributes to the assassination by planning the crime, duping Duncan's chamberlains, and placing the bloody daggers back into Duncan's chamber. Following Duncan's assassination, Macbeth
gradually develops into a ruthless tyrant, who is plagued by his guilty conscience and bloodlust.
In act 1, scene 7, Macbeth tells his wife that he is no longer interested in murdering the king. Lady Macbeth
responds by challenging her husband's manhood and calls him a coward. She says,
From this time Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor As thou art in desire? 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? (Shakespeare, 1.7.38-45).
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