What are some examples of the power of Lady Macbeth in Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth's power is shown through her ability to persuade Macbeth to kill King Duncan and take the throne. After they devise their treacherous plot, Macbeth starts to have second thoughts about killing the king. However, Lady Macbeth will not tolerate what she perceives as her husband's weakness, and she berates and shames him into acting. Lady Macbeth's powerful ambition and ruthlessness flout conventional gender roles, as she refuses to be subordinate to anyone, even her husband.

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Lady Macbeth is depicted as an ambitious, powerful woman, who uses her influence to convince Macbeth to follow through with assassinating King Duncan. After calling upon evil spirits to consume her soul and make her cruel, Lady Macbeth begins to formulate a foolproof plan to murder King Duncan, which...

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Lady Macbeth is depicted as an ambitious, powerful woman, who uses her influence to convince Macbeth to follow through with assassinating King Duncan. After calling upon evil spirits to consume her soul and make her cruel, Lady Macbeth begins to formulate a foolproof plan to murder King Duncan, which she will pitch to her reluctant husband. In act 1, scene 7, Macbeth begins to have second thoughts about committing regicide and decides that he will not follow through with the murder. Lady Macbeth proceeds to criticize his masculinity, call him a coward, and demonstrate her power by telling him,

We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey Soundly invite him—his two chamberlains Will I with wine and wassail so convince That memory, the warder of the brain, Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep Their drenchèd natures lie as in a death, What cannot you and I perform upon The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt Of our great quell? (Shakespeare, 1.7.60–73)

Lady Macbeth exercises her authority by successfully convincing her husband to follow her plan and assassinate King Duncan. However, Macbeth is overwhelmed with guilt after committing regicide and refuses to reenter King Duncan's chamber to finish the deed. Lady Macbeth once again demonstrates her authority and resolve by taking matters into her own hands. She proceeds to criticize Macbeth for behaving like a coward and says,

Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead Are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, For it must seem their guilt (Shakespeare, 2.2.51–56).

During Macbeth's feast, he begins to see the Ghost of Banquo, which initially sits down in his seat. Macbeth cannot ignore the ghost, and Lady Macbeth does her best to ease the concerns of the thanes in attendance. After assuring the guests that Macbeth is simply ill, she demonstrates her power by telling him,

O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which you said Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts, Impostors to true fear, would well become A woman’s story at a winter’s fire, Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all’s done, You look but on a stool (Shakespeare, 3.4.63–71).

Lady Macbeth's fierce, callous personality and willingness to criticize her husband depict her power and resolute nature. Despite her ambitious, determined personality, Lady Macbeth gradually becomes overwhelmed with guilt and eventually loses her mind.

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Right from the start it is clear that Lady Macbeth is the real power behind the throne. She takes on a traditionally male role when constantly pushing, cajoling, and inciting her husband to commit murder:

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness. (act 1, scene 5).

Macbeth is too soft. He needs to discover a backbone if he is to fulfill his destiny and claim the throne. Being gentle is a weakness in a king, and by mentioning this, Lady Macbeth is subtly questioning Macbeth's manhood. She slyly hints that Macbeth is not man enough for the job of killing Duncan. Later on in the scene, Lady Macbeth takes control of the situation. It is now only a matter of time before her husband finally acts:

Only look up clear;
To alter favour ever is to fear:
Leave all the rest to me.

Eventually, Macbeth relents and does as he is bid. However, he still feels incredibly guilty over having carried out the dirty deed. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, continues to show enormous strength by remaining perfectly calm and rational:

My hands are of your color; but I shame
To wear a heart so white. (act 2, scene 2).

Lady Macbeth is acknowledging her equal role in the murder. She has blood on her hands too. However, unlike her husband, she has no regrets and no remorse for what she has done. The blood seems to have drained out of Macbeth's heart; he is still a weakling despite his murder of Duncan. His wife still has the power, though. Not only would she have gladly carried out the murder herself, she will now plan everything down to the last detail:

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;
What hath quench'd them hath given me fire.
Hark! Peace!
It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it:
The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd
their possets,
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live or die. (act 2, scene 2).

It is telling that Lady Macbeth only gains power through being "unsex'd," that is, defeminized. She has dispensed her female identity to effectively become a man. This raises the question of how much power she really has. In a way, her power is merely a reflection of her husband's own influence. As a woman, she has little or no power. Lady Macbeth realizes that, and that is why she takes on an entirely different gender role in egging her husband on to commit murderous acts.

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There is no doubt that Lady Macbeth is power hungry.  The mere hint of possibly being queen is enough to spur her toward the nefarious plot of killing King Duncan.  I don't think that is the kind of power that you are asking about in your question though.  I think that you are referring to power that Lady Macbeth exerts over people.  I would say the best examples of that kind of power all occur within Act 1.  

. . . and you shall put
This night's great business into my dispatch;
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

The above quote occurs soon after Macbeth arrives home in Act 1, Scene 5.  Lady Macbeth flat out tells her husband "leave everything to me."  You might say that is not an example of power, but when Macbeth responds with more or less "okay," the reader gets the feeling that Macbeth is powerless when compared to his wife.   

Later in Act 1, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth once again reasserts her power over Macbeth.  Macbeth has decided to not go through with the murder, and Lady Macbeth is not happy about it.  She berates and insults Macbeth until he agrees to kill Duncan.  My favorite line in that sequence is this:

 I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.

Lady Macbeth tells her husband that she would smash a baby if she had agreed to do the deed in order to attain the throne.  It's a disgustingly graphic guilt trip toward Macbeth, but it works. Macbeth turns around and murders Duncan. 

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