John Lennon once said “There is a great woman behind every idiot.” By idiot, Lennon means man, which makes a very good point. Behind every man, or idiot, there is a powerful woman who made him that way. This quote is easily proved in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Lady Macbeth heavily influenced her husband to do everything she did not have the courage to do, or could do not do because she was a woman. In Elizabethan England, the only way for a woman to gain any power was through their husbands. Shakespeare very clearly proved this in his play Macbeth when Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband into murdering many people in order for her to gain power.
You can start to see Lady Macbeth’s control over her husband, Macbeth, in the very beginning of the play. In act one she convinces Macbeth to kill the king, Duncan. When Macbeth starts to have doubts about the murder, Lady Macbeth instantly starts to emasculate and mock him. Macbeth tries to defend himself and Lady Macbeth takes it one step further by implying she is more of a man than he is by saying she would have “dashed the brains out” (1.7.59) of a baby while it was smiling in her face. Lady Macbeth wins the argument and by the end of the act Macbeth had murdered Duncan and soon becomes king, making Lady Macbeth queen.
In Elizabethan England there was no equality between men and women, therefore the only way for women to gain any type of power was through their husbands. In my opinion, Shakespeare made Lady Macbeth a manipulative wife to show the consequences of this inequality. If women could gain power themselves, Lady Macbeth would have had no reason to convince Macbeth to kill Duncan. She would have had to gain power on her own, leaving no excuse for convincing her husband to do all of these horrible things.