Please summarize (using four adjectives) the character of Lady Macbeth.

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lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Lady Macbeth is influential. She is able to convince Macbeth to kill King Duncan. When Macbeth was having second thoughts about murdering King Duncan, Lady Macbeth asks is he afraid. She is highly effective in influencing Macbeth to follow through with the murder. He gives in:

I’m convinced, and I commit
Every part of my body to this terrible event.
Let’s go and pass the time by pretending to be happy.
False faces must hide what the false heart knows.

Lady Macbeth is determined. She will not allow Macbeth to change his mind. When he had in fact decided against the murder of King Duncan, she uses manipulation to control him. She challenges his manhood by asking him if he is afraid:

Are you afraid
To be the same man in reality
As the one you wish to be? Would you have the crown
Which you believe to be the ornament of life,
And yet live like a coward in your own self-esteem,

Lady Macbeth is evil. She does not seem to care that King Duncan has honored her husband. She disregards King Duncan's praise of her husband. She insists that she would kill King Duncan herself had he not resembled her father as he slept:

If the King hadn’t resembled
My father as he slept, I would’ve done it. My husband!

Finally, Lady Macbeth is guilty. She cannot sleep. She cannot wash the bloodstains from her hands. She is losing her sanity. She is overcome by guilt until she can not find rest for her soul. She walks through the castle trying to rid her hands of bloodstains:

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One; two; why, then it is
time to do it. Hell is murky! For shame, my lord, for shame! A soldier,
and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call
our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to
have had so much blood in him.

arkaless's profile pic

arkaless | College Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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On her first appearance in the play, Lady Macbeth is chastising. As she receives the letter from her husband, she decides to "chastise him with the valour of (her) tongue". Then as Macbeth returns to Inverness with King Duncan to follow, Lady Macbeth is hyperactive. She prevails upon her husband and drafts the blue-print of the murder of Duncan. In the scene of the discovery of Duncan's murder, Lady Macbeth faints and her fainting betrays the first symptom that she is dispositionally neurotic. Her persisting despair and anguish after Macbeth assumes the throne further suggests her increasing neurotic disorder that climaxes in her sleep-walking. But, on the whole, Lady Macbeth is very loyal, committed to her husband as a devoted wife to make him realize his ambition.

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