How does Lady Macbeth employ argumentum ad hominem?

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Ad hominem, in Latin, means "to the person": it is an argumentative strategy used by someone who avoids the actual topic under discussion and, instead, attacks the person who makes the argument. Lady Macbeth employs this tactic immediately after Duncan's murder. Macbeth is concerned about the potential negative consequences of having killed the king (who is also his guest, cousin, and good friend), and Lady Macbeth, rather than deal with his concerns, attacks him as weak and cowardly. He worries that he will never be able to sleep peacefully again, having murdered someone while they slept, and she responds,

Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brainsickly of things. (2.2.58-60)

She accuses him of coming unraveled, losing his cool, being weak in the face of this stress. She suggests that he has the strength to keep it together but that he is allowing himself to dwell and be morbid. Her arguments increase when he refuses to return the daggers to the room. She says that he is "Infirm of purpose" and that it is "the eye of childhood / That fears a painted devil" (2.2.68, 2.2.70-71). She claims, again, that he is weak and acting like a child. She must return the daggers herself, getting blood on her own hands. When she returns, she tells him,

My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white. (2.2.82-83)

Macbeth fears that this terrible guilt, symbolized by the blood on his hands, will follow him forever, that he will never be able to do anything to remove its figurative stain. Lady Macbeth tells him that her hands are bloodied now too, but she would be ashamed to have a heart which is as cowardly as Macbeth's. Time and time again in this scene, Macbeth presents his very real fears about the consequences of murdering Duncan, and Lady Macbeth suggests that this makes him both a child and a coward.

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In logic the argumentum ad hominem is defined as a fallacy of attacking the character or motives of the other person instead of attempting to disprove the truth of his statement or the soundness of his argument. The argumentum ad hominem is often called a personal attack. It is to be noted that when Macbeth and his wife are arguing about killing King Duncan, Lady Macbeth relies almost exclusively on the argumentum ad hominem. For example:

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely?
What beast was't then
That made you break this enterprise to me?
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.

Macbeth, on the other hand, never makes a personal attack on his wife. When he is by himself and thinking about killing the King, he considers the matter objectively. And as he tells his wife:

We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honor'd me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.

She seems to interpret every one of her husband's reasons as signs of cowardice. She feels that he was brave enough to think about killing Duncan when the king was many miles away but that he has lost his nerve now that he has the golden opportunity to do the actual deed.

Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you.

Actually, Lady Macbeth is probably right. Her husband could think about killing Duncan and his two sons when they were far away, but now that they are right under his roof he can think of a dozen reasons for not acting. Many of his reasons for abstaining are sound enough--but he didn't think about them until it was a question of acting and time was of the essence. He is really afraid and she knows it. Ironically, she uses his fear to make him prove he isn't afraid.

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