How is Lady Macbeth both a strong wife and weak woman?

When Lady Macbeth sees King Duncan and is reminded of her father, she considers killing him, but when she realizes that he looks like her father she cannot commit the murder.

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Lady Macbeth is a strong character at the start of the play, but she gradually descends into madness after she engineers the murder of King Duncan.

Early in the play, Lady Macbeth does not show much weakness. As soon as Macbeth tells her that the witches said he will be king one day, she starts plotting to make it happen immediately. She is a strong wife because she supports her husband's ambitions and will do whatever she deems necessary to help him reach them. When her husband returns from battle, she persuades him to kill Duncan while he stays in their castle. During Act I, while the two are planning the murder, Lady Macbeth is steady, though Macbeth hesitates. Lady Macbeth only acknowledges the weakness that she is a woman, and she wishes to be rid of her feminine qualities and commit the crime herself. In a famous soliloquy in Act I, scene v, Lady Macbeth implores,

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. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief.
When she says "unsex me here," she is asking for her femininity to be taken from her, since it is not appropriately feminine to commit murder. She wants to be filled with "direst cruelty." She wants to be immune to "remorse" and "compunctious visitings of nature." She hopes to exchange her "milk" from her "woman's breasts" for "gall." All of this means that she wants to be less feminine and more masculine so she can murder Duncan herself. However, she cannot go that far, so she must instead talk her husband into committing the murder. Lady Macbeth shows a rare moment of weakness when she admits why she cannot kill Duncan. She explains,
If Duncan hadn’t reminded me of my father when I saw him sleeping, I would have killed him myself. (II.ii)
Lady Macbeth sees a resemblance between Duncan and her father, so she cannot go through with the murder. This is probably her only truly weak point in the early parts of the play. Soon after this, it is Lady Macbeth who must go back to the scene of the crime and plant the daggers on the guards, since Macbeth is too afraid to return.
As the play progresses, Macbeth becomes more ruthless, and Lady Macbeth feels more guilty. The pivotal scene occurs in Act V, when we witness Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking. As the doctor and gentlewoman observe her in this first scene of the play's final act, Lady Macbeth delivers these lines:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
Lady Macbeth is recalling some details of Duncan's murder. She thinks she has blood on her hands and keeps trying to wash it off. When she is sleepwalking, of course, there is no literal blood, but this symoblizes her inability to rid herself of her guilt in the aftermath of the murder. This is the last time we see Lady Macbeth on stage, and soon after, she commits suicide. She has ultimately succumbed to her weakness.
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Lady Macbeth is both a strong wife and a weak woman at different points in Macbeth. At the beginning, she is the strong wife who knows that her husband will not be able to decide to kill the king on his own. Before he comes home, she asks the spirits to make her more like a man so she can do what needs to be done. “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 (Act I, Scene 5). When her husband expresses his doubts about killing the king, she goads him into changing his mind: “Art thou afear’d/ to be the same in thine own act and valor/ As thou art in desire?” (Act I, Scene 7). Lady Macbeth continues to support her husband and ensure that the murder is successful. “Infirm of purpose!/ Give me the daggers” (Act II, Scene 2). In the aftermath of the murder, Lady Macbeth is by Macbeth’s side to protect him when he is weak. “I pray you, speak not, he grows worse and worse” (Act III, Scene 4).

Lady Macbeth is also weak, although she does not see this in herself until it is too late. During the Duncan's murder, Lady Macbeth experiences a moment of weakness when she looks down at Duncan and sees he resembles her father. She is unable to kill Duncan for this reason. “Had he not resembled/ my father as he slept, I had done ‘t (Act II, Scene 2). Later in the play, Lady Macbeth realizes her guilt is keeping her from enjoying the rewards of the crown. “Nought’s had, all’s spent/ when our desire is got without content“ (Act III, Scene 2). As her husband kills more people and she recognizes that power does not make her as happy as she expected, Lady Macbeth sinks into madness and is unable to recover.

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