What is Lady Macbeth's reaction to her husband's letter? (Act 1 Scene 5) Please , I need urgently the answer.

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, Scene V, Lady Macbeth reads her husband's letter and immediately displays her ambition and willingness to assist her husband in murdering King Duncan. After reading Macbeth's letter, Lady Macbeth says that he will definitely become king but worries that he will be too kind to follow through with such a brutal act. Lady Macbeth says,

"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" (Shakespeare, 1.5.3-7).

After commenting on her husband's conscientious nature, Lady Macbeth urges him to hurry home so that she can persuade him into committing regicide.

Lady Macbeth then learns that King Duncan will be arriving tonight and she gives her famous soliloquy after the servant leaves her room. Throughout the soliloquy, Lady Macbeth calls on wicked spirits to make her callous, brutal, and cruel. She begs to be void of compassion and filled with a savage, murdering spirit. Her grotesque intentions are revealed throughout her soliloquy as she is depicted as a corrupt, evil individual. Lady Macbeth hopes to have the aggressive, vindictive personality of a man by begging the evil spirits to "unsex" her and make her "milk for gall." Essentially, Lady Macbeth's response to her husband's letter illustrates her ambitious nature and wicked influence. 

mrsenglish eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1, Scene 5, Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth's letter about the prophecies of the three witches.  Look carefully at the two passages spoken by Lady Macbeth after reading the letter.  She expresses her true feelings about the prophecies in these passages.

In the first passage, she shows that she is immediately confident that these prophecies should come true.  However, she has doubts about her husband's ability to help the promise of becoming king come true.  She says,

"Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way..."

Since Lady Macbeth fears that her husband will not be able to achieve greatness on his own, she feels that she must prepare herself to assist him.  In a well-known soliloquy, Lady Macbeth says,

"Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty!"

When she says "unsex me", we can see that she feels that she must become less womanly and more manly in order to be ruthlessly ambitious.  This brings up the issue of gender roles.  Women seem to be associated with caring and nurturing while men are associated with toughness and strength.  Lady Macbeth's willing abandonment of all that is soft and comforting in a woman has made her a symbol of feminine deception.

studenttts | Student

This line is a paradox. it means that everything is reversed in the world of evil. What is percieved as good will be bad and what is percieved as bad will be good. No essay explanation needed. :p

dsgrabek | Student

She is getting more excited about killing the king after he arrives. She does not wish to be a sympathetic "woman" and wants a hand in the murder. She orders her husband how to think and feel about the murder.