Mabet – Lady Macbeth’s influence

How important is the influence of Lady Macbeth on her husband?
Lady Macbeth plays a key role in influencing her husband to take the path that he does. She is the catalyst that effectively unleashes Macbeths true side of evil. Throughout the play we can see that she has a strong influence on him and is a primary cause for increasing Macbeths ambition. Lady Macbeths words to her husband as well as her many powerful soliloquies show us her great desire to become Queen and hence urge Macbeth to murder Duncan as well as begin his reign of tyranny. However, in no way can Lady Macbeth be seen as the sole influence on Macbeth. Although Macbeth appears to be greatly subordinate to his wife in terms of levels of evil, he is still an extremely ambitious and powerful character. She greatly helps him throughout the play to get him through various problems. The supernatural also plays an important role in Macbeths life. Macbeth and his wife have a very loving relationship in which they have great influence in one and other. In the earlier acts of the play we can see that Lady Macbeths words mean a lot to her husband, giving the impression that she is definitely the dominant figure in the relationship. Lady Macbeth has a strong influence on her husband however he is a strong and ambitious character without her.


Lady Macbeth is an influence on her husband in many different ways, for many different reasons. We discover that as soon as she opens her husbands letter she immediately begins to scheme and plot, showing her true evil and ambition. We can immediately become aware that she wants Macbeth to become King so she can become Queen of Scotland. She is unsure whether Macbeth is too kind and without the evil that needs to merge with his already prominent ambition. As said in her famous soliloquy, I fearis too fullo the milk of human kindness, to catch the nearest way. For this reason, she influences him greatly into the prospect of murdering the king. The thought of becoming Queen pushes her and causes her to act outrageously. She calls on spirits, showing the presence of the supernatural, saying such things as come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me heremake think my bloodtake my milk from gall. She decides to pour all her spirits of evil into Macbeth and ultimately remove any fear that would hold him back from obtaining the crown. Macbeth is slightly doubtful of her plot to kill the King, however Lady Macbeth cunningly bombards him with comments that question his courage and by saying that his love is worth nothing if he refuses to go through with the plan. She says screw your courage to the sticking-place to make him more evil and confident about his actions.

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Although lady Macbeth may be a strong cause for Macbeths reign of tyranny, she still greatly helps him through uncomfortable situations. She supports and helps him throughout his gradual decline. Because Macbeth is not completely certain of the success of the devious plan, he is greatly assisted by his wife. Lady Macbeth is worried that her husband will give their plan away through his facial expressions so she gives him the advice, look like the innocent flower but be the serpent undert. When Macbeth tells his wife that he will not do it she turns on him and starts to insult him by telling him he is a coward and live a coward in thine own esteem. Lady Macbeth uses this because she knows that he is a known as a brave soldier, in hope that he will defend himself by carrying out the murder. Another example where she helps Macbeth is the incident after he has killed Duncan. As Macbeth is uneasy and mesmerised she takes the daggers back into Duncans chamber for him and helps him wash the blood off his hands. She is very useful in this situation as she helps pull him together psychologically. When Macbeth is speaking to Macduff directly after the murder he threatens to give the game away so much so that Lady Macbeth faints to draw attention to herself, ensuring that he doesnt give too much away. In the banquet scene Lady Macbeth plays a crucial role in support of her husband. The ghost of Banquo caused Macbeth much stress and places a huge amount of pressure on Lady Macbeth. Even though she cannot see the apparition herself she has to cover up for him putting great emotional pressure on her. She tries to get him out of this strange state of mind by once again questioning his manhood while at the same time giving the guests the excuse that Macbeth is not well. This however does now work so she takes control and tells all the guests to leave. As you can now see Lady Macbeth does prove herself useful in helping her husband through uncomfortable situations.


Lady Macbeth is not the only influence on Macbeth. He is greatly influenced by the witches as they combine with his already prominent ambition that sets him forward to become King. When Macbeth first hears the prophecies from the witches he himself, without the influence of his wife, thinks of murdering Duncan. The idea of becoming King obviously appeals to him and it is therefore hard to accurately determine whether he would have become King without the aid of Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth can be seen to have simply pushed him at the right time, as we can see from later parts in the play Macbeth looses the need for his wifes influence as he already has the instinct for evil and tyranny. This influence can also be associated with the supernatural. Macbeth manages to murder many people including his good friend Banquo without the influence of his wife, which shows us that Macbeth is already a strong and highly ambitious character.


Lady Macbeth plays an important role in influencing Macbeth to take the path that he does. She plays the dominant role throughout the opening scenes asserting her ambition to gain hierarchic status. Her famous speeches and soliloquies show the extent of her influence on him. Macbeths character is also string by itself and with the supernatural prophesies boosting his ambition he quite possibly could have continued his reign of terror without the aid of his wife. Lady Macbeth begins the evil evolving Macbeth into an evil tyrant of cruelty. He becomes an evil character without her help in the end in contrast to the beginning of the play where he was the respected and honourable thane of Glamis. This strong change in character can be said to be caused by Lady Macbeths influence on him, however Macbeth is already a strong and ambitious character without her.

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