Why does Lady Macbeth view Duncan's arrival as "great news" in Macbeth?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After reading the letter from her "dearest partner of greatness," Lady Macbeth is in a state of elation that Macbeth has been given the title of Thane of Cawdor. However, she is also concerned that Macbeth may not have the brashness to go after the crown because although he has the desire he does not possess the cruelty and temerity to use any means necessary ("illness") in order to obtain this crown.

...wouldst be great,
Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it. (1.5.5-7)
She, then, wants Macbeth to return to Inverness castle, their home, so that she can employ her powers of persuasion on her husband and argue against whatever it is that prevents him from going after the crown.

...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,
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crowned withal. (1.5.15-20)
 
So, in line 27 when Lady Macbeth has been told by a servant that King Duncan and will soon arrive, she remarks that it is "great news" because now she will be first able to convince her husband that Duncan must die, and she will be present to ensure that Macbeth maintains his purpose and does not waiver because she can "chastise" Macbeth with the bravery of her voice and purpose, providing the "illness" necessary for Duncan's death to be effected. It is after her exclamation of "great news" that Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to "unsex" her that she may be murderous in thought and unwavering in purpose.
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ashmit's profile pic

ashmit | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

In the play Macbeth lady macbeth read the letter of Macbeth and knew everything about witches and arrival of Duncon at her house.She says it great news that Duncon was comming at her house because plan of Duncons murder has entered her mind

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