Friday, 29 September 2017

How Does Lady Macbeth Persuade Her Husband to Murder Duncan?

When Lady Macbeth enters, Macbeth tells her that he ‘will proceed no further in this business.’ But Lady Macbeth wants the old king must be killed at all costs. She refers to his previous promise and to his fickleness of mind not worthy of a brave soldier. When Macbeth admits to her that his golden reputation might lose its ‘gloss’, she sets out to strengthen his resolve by mocking his perceived weakness. She adds a distinction between masculinity and femininity: In contrast to her own self-proclaimed manliness, she pours scorn upon her husband’s lack of courage. She tells him he is ‘green,’ ‘a coward,’ and that he resembles the proverbial ‘poor cat’ that wanted the fish but would not get its paws wet. Finally, and most daringly, she tells him that she herself would go so far as to take her own nursing baby and dash its brains if necessary. She counsels him to ‘screw (his) courage to the sticking place’ and details the way they will murder the king. They will wait until he falls asleep, she says, and thereafter intoxicate his bodyguards with drink. This will allow them to murder Duncan and lay the blame on the two drunken bodyguards. Macbeth is astonished by her cruelty but resigns to follow through with her plans. Thus, in order to persuade her husband to murder Duncan, Lady Macbeth uses her persuasive eloquence to the best of her power.

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