His lack of firmness contrasted again Lady Macbeth’s headlong approach to the question of kingship is extreme telling.In fact, when Lady Macbeth questions her husband’s own resolve she acknowledges, “rather thou dost fear to do” (Shakespeare I.5.22).Once the sense of guilt comes home to roost, Lady Macbeth’s sensitivity becomes a weakness, and she is unable to cope.
Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself.
Lady Macbeth’s remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king—it is she who steadies her husband’s nerves immediately after the crime has been perpetrated.
The mettle of a woman is often times weighed down by societal expectations.
Women in literature are repeatedly boxed into roles describing them as weak and without power.
Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and frightening female characters.
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When we first see her, she is already plotting Duncan’s murder, and she is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband.
Macbeth’s weakness or vacillations do not cloud her judgment.
She counsels and directs Macbeth moving the power dynamics somewhat away from a patriarchal structure.
This theme of the relationship between gender and power is key to Lady Macbeth’s character: her husband implies that she is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body, which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence.
Shakespeare, however, seems to use her, and the witches, to undercut Macbeth’s idea that “undaunted mettle should compose / Nothing but males” (1.7.73–74).