"Behind every great man, there is a great woman." This classic saying may as well have been inspired by the role of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Arguably the most powerful woman in literature, Lady Macbeth sets all that transpires in the play into motion. Without Lady Macbeth's encouragement, her husband would never have realized his true potential and the evil he is capable of. Because she feels she is unable to commit the atrocities herself, because she is a woman, she persuades her husband to commit them for her. Lady Macbeth wishes to be stripped of her female compassion. However, it is the repression of her emotions that leads to her demise and makes Macbeth into the villain of the play.
When the reader first meets the character of Macbeth, it is evident that he is ambitious, but has the tendency to self-doubt. This is where Lady Macbeth comes in. She knows that her husband needs an extra push if he is going to be king, because according to her, his nature is "too full o' the milk of human kindness"(1.5.4). Lady Macbeth's apparent ruthlessness seems to be just what the reluctant Macbeth needs to take action. Though Lady Macbeth wishes to be "unsexed", her method of making Macbeth bend to her will is purely feminine. She knows that she will need to manipulate Macbeth in order for him to carry out what needs to be done. Though it is obvious to the reader that Macbeth's courageousness is not something that needs to be questioned, Lady Macbeth makes him feel inadequate by questioning his manhood to the point Macbeth feels he needs to prove himself to her. .
In Act II Scene II, after Macbeth has murdered Duncan, Lady Macbeth still seems to be unmoved by what they have done. In fact, she chides a shaken Macbeth for being afraid. She even finishes the deed when Macbeth refuses. Lady Macbeth acts as if they have nothing to worry about when she says: "Retire we to our chamber.