How does Lady Macbeth persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth persuades her husband to kill Duncan by challenging his masculinity and essentially calling him a coward for refusing to do what he has already resolved to do. She asks if he is "afeard" to act on his desires. She tells him that he will "live a coward in your own esteem" if he does not go through with the murder, and she even says that she would murder her own child before she went back on her own word if she had sworn to do such a thing. Having provoked Macbeth, she then proceeds to give him courage, essentially telling him that they cannot fail if he is only brave. She tells him to "screw your courage to the sticking place" and proceeds to lay out a plan by which she will get Duncan's chamberlains drunk in order to blame them for the murder of the king. So at this crucial juncture of the play, as Macbeth is vacillating in his plans to marry Duncan, his king and kinsman, it is Lady Macbeth who pushes him toward the act.