What reaction does Macbeth’s letter produce on Lady Macbeth and how does she assure him that she would take charge of the business? What do you learn about the character of Lady Macbeth from her conversation with Macbeth?
In the literature Macbeth, Macbeth was tempted by the prophecies prophesied by the witches. If Macbeth were never to tell his wife of these prophecies nothing would have happened. However he did tell his wife of this incident in a form of a letter, beginning with the sentence ‘my dearest partner of greatness’ to show his amount of trust in his wife, Lady Macbeth. Even though Macbeth describe the prophecies as ‘the perfectest report’ he had no intention to go forward with achieving it. In truth only one person is responsible for the entire corruption of Macbeth’s mind, his wife.
Lady Macbeth immediately understands the full implication of her husband’s letter and her response is direct and uncompromising: her husband must be what he has been promised. No niceties of conscience or loyalty seem to assail her, and it is noticeable how she overwhelms her husband when he appears greeting him with ‘Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter’. It is also interesting to reflect how she instantly taps into the spirit world, and she literally does invoke spirits to possess her body, ‘Come, you spirits’.
After hearing the news of the king will be staying overnight, she exults and invokes demonic spirits to harden her own resolve and the destroy any weakness of pity. The point about her ‘unsex’ing and her ‘woman’s breasts’ no longer being used for milk but murder, bares a curious parallel with the ambiguous sexuality of the witches themselves. It is as if, at this level of evil, one abandons being either male or female – one is a neutral, ‘it’. She goes to the extreme to make sure that the deed is done, as the only failure she wants to escape would come in the form of fear.
After reading the letter, she is worried is worried that Macbeth is too soft a person to be able to take the crown. She is determined to assist him through the ‘valour of my tongue’; she intends to nag until he’s ashamed of being a coward. She also cunningly uses phrases or sentences that could uplift his spirits, ‘ the future in the instant’ as she already feels like a queen and she greets Macbeth with ‘Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter’ to make him feel he’s already got the crown right under his finger tips to make him more determined and too see things Lady Macbeth’s way. Lady Macbeth verbally assaults Macbeth’s courage and manly hood. She brags even if it were her own baby, ‘she would, while it was smiling in my face, have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, and dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you have you done this’. Macbeth feels challenged; he has to toughen himself up to prove he is more a man than Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is the supplementary to the work of the witches, she is the key human agent – the one Macbeth trusts and love – which ensures his temptation, is thorough and complete, making her an admirable temptress. Lady Macbeth when we first encountered her is dominant, determined, powerful and perhaps even frightening in the intensity of her uncompromising desire for her husband to ascend the throne. Lady Macbeth has the future worked out; she’s also preeminently cunning. However like Macbeth, Lady Macbeth shows moments of humanity, she could not kill King Duncan as it reminded her of her own father.
Lady Macbeth is a woman of two faces; Macduff describes her at the start as a ‘gentle lady’. As time passes by there is a switch in roles between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Near the start of this literature Lady Macbeth dominated the conversations with too much confidence, Macbeth said very little. The strong character played by Lady Macbeth toned down as time passes by. She didn’t say much other than suffer out of guilt. In the beginning you see Lady Macbeth persuading, scheming, planning and getting involve with evil. Near the end you see Lady Macbeth cleansing herself of unseen blood. From her conversations with Macbeth she proves to be a smart, cunning woman but later she realizes her wrong doings and try to clean herself of it.
In conclusion Lady Macbeth is a character that portrays all aspects of the literature from the loud and dominating to the quiet and scared character. However throughout the literature Lady Macbeth is a woman who continuously schemes and has planned things to the smallest details. Losing her determined personality has made her give herself away, thus I finish by quoting Lady Macbeth is a ‘strong and vibrant’ character of this literature without her nothing would have happened.