What are the motivations of Lady Macbeth in Macbeth? Her role and motivations.

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Lady Macbeth is depicted as an extremely determined, callous woman who is highly motivated to convince her husband to commit regicide. Similar to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth shares his ambitious nature and desires to become the queen of Scotland. After Lady Macbeth receives the news regarding the witches ' seemingly...

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Lady Macbeth is depicted as an extremely determined, callous woman who is highly motivated to convince her husband to commit regicide. Similar to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth shares his ambitious nature and desires to become the queen of Scotland. After Lady Macbeth receives the news regarding the witches' seemingly favorable prophecy, she says,

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
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'ld’st have, great Glamis,
That which cries, “Thus thou must do,” if thou have it,
And that which rather thou dost fear to do,
Than wishest should be undone. (1.5.14–24)

Lady Macbeth is essentially acknowledging her husband's compassionate, sensitive nature and believes that he is too kind to follow through with such a bloody crime. In order to plan Duncan's murder and take part in the assassination, Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits to fill her soul and make her cruel. Her willingness to transform into a malevolent, violent person emphasizes her motivation to become queen.

In act 1, scene 7, Lady Macbeth once again demonstrates her ambitious nature by persuading Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. When Macbeth reveals that he is reluctant to commit regicide and has decided against killing the king, Lady Macbeth ridicules his masculinity by saying,

From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
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' th' adage? (1.7.38–45)

Lady Macbeth successfully peer pressures Macbeth into following her instructions and even participates in the assassination by returning the bloody daggers to King Duncan's chamber. Overall, Lady Macbeth's primary motivation for convincing her husband to commit regicide concerns her desire to become the queen of Scotland. Shortly after becoming queen, Lady Macbeth becomes overwhelmed with guilt and gradually begins to lose her mind before finally committing suicide.

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According to literary criticisms of Shakespeare's work, Lady Macbeth is one of the most evil female characters he wrote.  She is manipulative, cunning and more ambitious than Macbeth in the beginning of the play.

After she receives her husband's letter detailing the witches prophecy which predicts that Macbeth will be king, she immediately begins to plan Duncan's murder.

Lady Macbeth, in Act I Scene V, as she reads her husband's letter, she decides that Macbeth:

Lady Macbeth: ...do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
That which cries 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
And that which rather thou dost fear to do
Than wishest should be undone.' Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal. (I.v)

Deciding that she will instill in him the courage and strength that he will need to kill the king.  She challenges his masculinity, which in the beginning of the play, she defines as aggressive and violent.  Lady Macbeth's role is co-conspirator, accessory to murder, all motivated by unchecked ambition and a lust for power.  

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Lady Macbeth hungers for power.  In Act 1, scene 5, when we first see her and she gets the letter from her husband telling her of the witches' prophecies, she immediately says that he shall be "what thou art promised": "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be / What thou art promised:..." (1.5).  She goes on to say that he has ambition, which is good, but he also has the "illness" along with it, namely, a ruthless desire to achieve at any cost.  This implies that she does have that ruthlessness in her.  In a few more lines, she says that she will try to persuade him to do what must be done (kill Duncan).  Later in the scene, when she finds out that Duncan is coming there to visit that evening, she immediately decides that he should be killed that night.  She doesn't waver and she invokes the powers of darkness to help her succeed.  Raw, unrestricted ambition is her motivation.

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