What are some quotes of Lady Macbeth that show that she manipulates Macbeth?

The audience sees Lady Macbeth’s willingness to manipulate Macbeth in act 1, scene 5, after she receives his letter and when he returns home. She tells him how to act, what to do, even how to look and the expressions he should use. She also tells him to leave their plans to her, suggesting that she would make them without him. Finally, she insults and berates him when he wants to renege on their plans, eventually coercing him to recommit.

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Act 1, scene 5 of Shakespeare's Macbeth opens with the first appearance of Lady Macbeth. She enters the scene reading a letter from Macbeth telling her about his encounter with the witches and their prophecies to him.

Within just a few lines, Lady Macbeth indicates that she intends to manipulate Macbeth into making that prophecy come true.

LADY MACBETH. Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear
And chastise with the valor of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round.

When Macbeth appears in the scene, he tells Lady Macbeth that King Duncan is coming to stay at their castle, and Lady Macbeth decides that they should murder him.

MACBETH. My dearest love,
Duncan comes here tonight.

LADY MACBETH. And when goes hence?

MACBETH. Tomorrow, as he purposes.

Shall sun that morrow see!

Lady Macbeth notices some hesitation from Macbeth about killing Duncan. She immediately takes charge of the situation and starts telling Macbeth how to behave towards Duncan when he arrives and says one of her most famous lines:

Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under't.

Lady Macbeth doesn't trust Macbeth to do what she wants him to do, so she tells him, twice, that she's going to take charge of the situation herself.

LADY MACBETH. [A]nd you shall put
This night's great business into my dispatch.

Leave all the rest to me.

After Duncan arrives at Macbeth's castle, Macbeth has serious second thoughts about killing him, and he tells Lady Macbeth, "We will proceed no further in this business" (act 1, scene 7, line 34).

This is not what Lady Macbeth wants to hear. In her next speech, she berates Macbeth for changing his mind, accuses him of betraying her, says that he doesn't love her, calls him an indecisive coward, and says that he wants everything handed to him without doing anything to deserve it. Macbeth protests:

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.

He means that he's done everything honorable to advance himself and that to do otherwise would be dishonorable.

Lady Macbeth takes his words literally. She calls him a "beast" who's broken his word to her, and she attacks his manhood, saying that a real man would do whatever is necessary to become king.

LADY MACBETH. 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.

She further emasculates and denigrates Macbeth by saying that she would kill her own baby rather than break a promise to Macbeth like the one that he made to her.

By the end of the scene, Lady Macbeth has convinced Macbeth to kill Duncan—or she's simply browbeaten him into submission—and Macbeth ends the scene by saying to Lady Macbeth something that she might say to him.

MACBETH. 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.

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When Macbeth returns home in act 1, scene 5, Lady Macbeth immediately begins to issue him instructions. She says, “To beguile the time, / Look like the time,” meaning that, in order to fool people into thinking that he is trustworthy and loyal, he must appear to be trustworthy and loyal rather than shifty and lost in his thoughts. She also tells him to “look like th’ innocent flower / But be the serpent under ‘t,” meaning that he should act both innocent and welcoming when the king arrives, hiding his violent and destructive intention to usurp the king’s position and take his life. When he says that he wants to “speak further” with her, she sort of brushes him off, saying, “Leave all the rest to me.” These lines show how Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband, telling him how to act and what to do, and she makes it clear that she wants to be in charge, to hold the reins, so to speak.

Later, after Macbeth tells her that he no longer wants to kill the king, as they’d planned, Lady Macbeth manipulates him even further. She cajoles and berates him, insulting his masculinity and calling him a coward. She says, in part,

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?

And wakes it now, to look so green and pale

At what it did so freely? From this time

Such I account thy love.
(act 1, scene 7, lines 39–43)

She suggests that Macbeth is behaving in a cowardly way, and she equates this weakness with not only his character but also with his love for and loyalty to her. All of these examples show just how manipulative Lady Macbeth is and how willing she is to maneuver her husband to get her way.

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To see how Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth, take a look at act 1, scene 5. When Macbeth sends her a letter in which he details the prophecies, Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to fill her with "cruelty" so that she can manipulate Macbeth by transferring some of this cruelty (and ambition) to him:

Hie thee hither,

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear

And chastise with the valor of my tongue

All that impedes thee from the golden round.

In addition, later in this scene, she manipulates Macbeth by telling him that she will arrange everything for Duncan's murder. By doing this, she ensures that Macbeth cannot have a change of heart and call off the murder:

And you shall put

This night’s great business into my dispatch.

Finally, she manipulates Macbeth by questioning his sense of masculinity. This is shown clearly in act 1, scene 7, through the following quote:

Was the hope drunk

Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?

And wakes it now, to look so green and pale

At what it did so freely? 

By describing Macbeth as "green" and "pale," Lady Macbeth suggests that Macbeth is a coward, too afraid to take power from Duncan. This manipulation tactic is successful: Macbeth is keen to prove his masculinity and goes ahead with the murder.

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There are numerous statements from Lady Macbeth that show she is manipulating her husband, and indeed, doing so consciously. When she reads the letter from him in Act I, Scene V, as soon as she stops reading, she says the following:

" Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness(15)
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great;"


She judges him too kind, and so, a few lines later, says " That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,"

In other words, she explicitly plans to manipulate him into grasping his fate.


Not much later (in Act I, Scene VII), she teases him when he hesitates, saying " Wouldst thou have that(45)
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would”
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?"

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