Why did Lady Macbeth want Duncan dead?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lady Macbeth wants Duncan dead so that her husband can become king. Her husband informs her of the witches ' prophecy in a letter, and she immediately resolves to set him to murdering the King. She fears that he is "too full of the milk o'human kindness" to do what...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Lady Macbeth wants Duncan dead so that her husband can become king. Her husband informs her of the witches' prophecy in a letter, and she immediately resolves to set him to murdering the King. She fears that he is "too full of the milk o'human kindness" to do what she thinks must be done to fulfill the prophecy. When Macbeth wavers just before sneaking into Duncan's chamber to murder him, it is his wife that pushes him along, essentially challenging his masculinity and his bravery. She does this, it must be said, out of her own ambition, but also because she clearly loves her husband, and wants him to claim what she believes is his, even though doing so will require him to commit unspeakable deeds. Her goading, and Macbeth's willingness to be pushed toward the deed, winds up destroying both of them, and she dies at the end a shell of the strong, ruthless woman she is at the beginning of the play.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team