What is a quote that shows that Lady Macbeth is a good motivational speaker in Macbeth?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth is many things and to add “motivational speaker” to her repertoire is most interesting. I had not thought of her in that way before!

As soon as Lady Macbeth hears of the witches’ prophesies and the honor afforded Macbeth by Duncan, she starts to scheme. She is Macbeth’s “partner of greatness”(I.v)and when she hears of Duncan’s arrival, she begins to plot Duncan’s “fatal” demise.

From a motivational point of view, Lady Macbeth’s words definitely stir emotion in the reader or audience and she paints a vivid picture of herself and her desire to be “unsex(ed)” and filled with “direst cruelty” to the point that the audience can feel her excitement – as if she’s planning a party. She is already preparing Macbeth to “look like th’ innocent flower/ But be the serpent…” She exudes confidence and the audience has no doubt that to “leave the rest to me” will produce drama and dire consequences. Typical of a motivational speaker, she has the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for what is to follow.

At every step leading to Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to proceed with the plan – her plan.  Macbeth must do everything that “may become a man.” (I.vii) Lady Macbeth knows only too well how to manipulate her husband and , in Shakespeare’s day, valor and honor meant everything and to suggest that Macbeth may be anything but a man would  - and did- make a man do things he never thought he would ever do.

Macbeth acknowledges that to kill Duncan is unreasonable as Duncan is a good king and not in keeping with his status (Duncan is his "kinsman")  but his misguided belief in his wife and the confusion caused by the witches, steels him on.

After Duncan's murder, Macbeth is completely bewildered and refuses to return the daggers that he mistakenly brought away with him. He has the vision of the murder in his head and all the blood and cannot "wash " the thought away. Lady Macbeth saves the day (so to speak) and assures him that "a little water clears us of this deed." (II.ii)

Lady Macbeth has so served to spur on Macbeth that he goes on to murder Banquo without consulting her and, other than the ghost apparition after the death of Banquo when she ushers the people away and manages to conceal his secret, Macbeth thinks he is invincible and unstoppable by anyone "of woman born."

Motivational speakers encourage people to chase their dreams and, due to Macbeth's "vaulting ambition," his dream was certainly to be king. On his wife's death, he is saddened and his efforts are "signifying nothing" but still she (and the witches) have given him enough belief in himself that he will be steadfast to the end.

In the final analysis then, she could definitely be called a motivational speaker, strange as that may be.     

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Today's motivational speakers seem to focus on being positive when making and reaching goals; therefore, a motivational speaker would not be the first profession to suggest for her because she's evil and does not care whom she hurts in the process of obtaining her goals. She not only plans the hurt of others, but she emasculates her own husband by calling him a coward in order to motivate him to kill Duncan and gain the throne (I.vii.47).

On the other hand, motivational speakers would say not to let any obstacle get in the way when pursuing goals. When Macbeth asks her what they will do if they fail to kill Duncan and gain the crown, Lady Macbeth refuses to believe that her plans could ever fail.

"We fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail" (I.vii.67-69).

Lady Macbeth is then the author of the killing and the blaming of it on two of the servants. In order to achieve goals, one must commit to the plan and follow it through to the very end, right? Her malicious speech degrades her husband, but her plan then wins him over. 

I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know" (I.vii.90-93).

Lady Macbeth eventually motivates her husband to carry out her plan, so with this success she could be considered a motivational speaker through fear, intimidation, and belittling. These tactics have been employed by infamous dictators before and since the play was written, so why not consider the Lady motivational? However, for today's day, those who are paid for presenting motivational speeches would hopefully use positive reinforcement rather than that of the negative in ways to produce positive results without hurting anyone else in the process.



litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth is a good motivational speaker because she knows how to both butter up and insult her husband until she gets him to do what she wants.

Lady Macbeth does not think much of her husband, but he is her ticket to royalty so she goes with what she’s got.  When Macbeth tells her about the witches’ prophecies, she does not hesitate.  She immediately makes a plan for Macbeth to kill Duncan, even though she does not think he’s strong enough to do it on his own, and essentially shoves it down his throat.

What beast was't then

That made you break this enterprise to me?

When you durst do it, then you were a man;(55)

And, to be more than what you were, you would

Be so much more the man. (Act 1, Scene 7)

Macbeth brings up objections, and Lady Macbeth has an answer for all of them.  They will not be suspected, it will not be hard to do, and they will get away with it.  When Macbeth is still not sure, she pushes him, telling him, “But screw your courage to the sticking-place,/And we'll not fail” (1:7).

During the actual murder, she also pretty much runs the show.  When Macbeth returns blubbering of sleeptalkers, she chides him for not leaving the daggers to incriminate the guards and goes and does it herself.  She has taken full responsibility and guides him at every turn.  She motivates him with a combination of reassurance and insults, until she has created a monster—he begins other killings she had not planned, and she loses control of him.



litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth is a good motivational speaker because she knows how to push Macbeth’s buttons.

Lady Macbeth knows how to get her husband to do what she wants him to.  She alternates between calling him and wimp and telling him that they can do it, nothing will go wrong.

At one point, Lady Macbeth gets angry because her husband is not strong enough to do what she thinks needs to be done—killing Duncan.

But screw your courage to the sticking-place,

And we'll not fail. (Act I, Scene 7)

She is basically telling him to man up, because as long as he is strong there is no way for the plan to fail.

At another point, when her husband is upset because he thought he heard someone calling him a murderer, she tells him to, “Consider it not so deeply” and then butters him up.

Why, worthy


You do unbend your noble strength, to think

So brainsickly of things.  (Act 2, Scene 2)

By stressing both the title “Thane” and the term of endearment “worthy,” she is reminding him of who he is and who she is trying to make him be.  Of course, she is yelling at him for taking the daggers with him the next thing, so sometimes she just nags.

Lady Macbeth is effective because she knows what her husband wants.  She comments early on that he is not without ambition, but lacks the nature to do what she feels needs to be done.  So she gives him a little push now and then.