During Shakespearean times, women were regarded as delicate little creatures who were there to give birth and look pretty. They were not thought to be smart or equal to men. Though in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth serves as the main influence in Macbeths life. He trusts her with everything he has. She is, after all, his dearest partner of greatness. (I, v, 13) The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is different from others of Shakespearean time.
Though he is the man, he often consults his wife before he does anything. In the beginning of the play, when the witches tell Macbeth of his promising future, Lady Macbeth is the first person he writes to. Upon hearing the witches prophecy, Lady Macbeth wishes it to be true in hopes that she will become queen. Immediately, the audience realizes the evils of Lady Macbeth. She asks the spirits to unsex [her] here and fill [her] from the toe top-full of Direst Cruelty! (I, v, 41-43) Lady Macbeth wants to become bold enough to persuade her husband to kill Duncan. Once Lady Macbeth puts the idea of murdering the King in Macbeths head, she begins to plan the murder.
Lady Macbeth is very direct and intelligent. She plans what looks like a perfect murder. Even though she appears to be rather bold, it is obvious to the audience that she is not very brave. She wants to be crowned just as much as Macbeth, if not more, but she doesnt have the guts to stab the King.
Once the King arrives at Macbeths castle, Lady Macbeth does what she tells her husband to do. She is a terrific actress and Look[s] like th innocent flower but be the serpent under t. (I, v, 65-66) This also shows Lady Macbeths intelligence. When Macbeth thinks further about killing the King, he decides that he has too many reasons not to do it. Macbeth believe that the only good reason to murder the King is his ambition. Ambition is also Lady Macbeths only reason for wanting to become queen.
When Macbeth tells the Lady of the change in plans, she immediately launches and attack on his manhood. She calls him a coward and says that she would murder her own baby if she had promised to do so. Lady Macbeth uses a very smart tactic here in trying to persuade Macbeth. She goes for the one thing she knows men have trouble proving: their manhood. When Macbeth does as little as question her plan, she attacks him again, telling him to screw [his] courage to the sticking place... (I, vii, 61) This method was successful in persuading Macbeth to murder the king.
This scene shows that Lady Macbeth is very powerful in this relationship. She is able to change the thanes mind even when he clearly stated We will proceed no further in this business. (I, vii, 32) In the scene after the killing is done, the audience sees how calm and clear Lady Macbeth is. This event doesnt seem to affect her very much. Her husband, on the other hand, is the total opposite. He forgot to place the daggers in the drunken guards hands and refused to go back.
Lady Macbeth fearlessly grabs the daggers and returns them. He says strange things about his bloody hands and doesnt think rationally. Lady Macbeth calmly tells Macbeth to wash his hands and tells him to put on their nightgowns and go to bed. Lady Macbeth also shows how responsible she is in the banquet scene after the murder of Banquo. She calmly tells the lords that Macbeth is simply ill and tells them to leave when she sees that things may be getting out of hand. After this scene, Lady Macbeth doesnt seem to have much to do with the play anymore.
This is because of the change in the relationship of her and her husband. Macbeth is acting on his own accord now. He decides on his own to kill Banquo. When Lady Macbeth asks about this, he replies simply, Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck... (III, ii, 48) Macbeth also doesnt consider her when he decides to return to the witches and to kill Mac duffs household.
From what has happened in the play so far, the audience doesnt see any good in Lady Macbeth. Later in the play, however, the murders do appear to have an affect on Lady Macbeth. The murders having an affect on her may not count as goodness, but that is as close as it gets with her. She sleepwalks and is bothered by her bloody hands. Lady Macbeth, no longer able to stand it, kills herself.
Lady Macbeth is a major figure in this play. She is evil and very intelligent. She is Macbeths other half. Without her, who knows if Macbeth would have become king of Scotland She is able to change the whole play because of her authority over Macbeth.