How do Lady Macbeth and the witches manipulate the influences they have upon Macbeth, and how effective are they?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lady Macbeth chides her husband on lacking the courage to do the deed, and because Macbeth is a warrior above everything everything else, her comments manipulate him a good deal. Indeed, "manliness" is an idea the play interrogates in various ways, such as when Macbeth says "I dare do all that may become a man/Who dares do more is none" (1.7.46-47). This is the notion that his wife use against him: "When you durst do it, then you were a man / And to be more than what you were, you would/Be so much more a man" (1.7.51-53). Some productions show Lady Macbeth kissing her husband, seducing him sexually even while she questions and then builds up his manhood to convince him to kill Duncan. In short, it is by means of his manhood, fundamental to his notion of himself as warrior, that Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband.

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Because the witches offer Macbeth the hope of getting something that he didn't think was within his reach, they are often considered the force that manipulates Macbeth into killing...

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