How does Lady Macbeth persuade her husband to go through with the plan in Macbeth?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth, in Shakespeare's Macbeth, is able to persuade her husband to go through with the plan to murder Duncan by insulting his masculinity.

Lady Macbeth states that her husband is a coward, "and live a coward in thine own esteem".  She does not hold anything back when belittling him. She knows that by doing this she will be able to get Macbeth to do anything that she believes needs to be done.

She holds the prophecy of his throne to be true. Once she is tempted by the hope of the crown, she insures that she will do anything that needs to be done to insure that the prophecy will come true. By her husband gaining the crown, she gains the crown as well.

In a conversation between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, Lady Macbeth goads him into thinking that only through his murder of Duncan will he be considered a man to her:

When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.

During this period, men were admired and held up based upon their manhood. To question ones manhood, as Lady Macbeth does, is simply saying that the man is worthless- similar to that of a woman during the time. Lady Macbeth knows that it is important to be seen as a powerful and noble man- this is the way that she is able to persuade Macbeth to fulfill his destiny and claim the crown.

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