Lady Macbeth is quite possibly one of the most intriguing characters in Shakespeare's play Macbeth. The wife of the protagonist, Lady Macbeth is a complex character who undergoes a major transition throughout the course of the play. Readers and audiences alike can clearly see her go from one end of the spectrum to the other; she begins as a take-control, no-regrets-type woman, but slowly changes into a mass of guilt and confusion by the end of the play.
When Lady Macbeth first hears of the Witches" prophecy for her husband, she states that he is too cowardly to do what needs to be done, so she plans the first murder herself. After reading his letter, she begins by telling herself that he lacks the innate qualities to carry out such deeds in the following passage:.
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be .
What though art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;.
It is too full o" th" milk of human kindness.
To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,.
Art not without ambition, but without.
The illness should attend it. (1. 5. 15).
Soon after she is heard asking the spirits, "Unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty (1. 5. 48)." In this line we understand that Lady Macbeth is asking for the traditionally male qualities of ruthlessness, lack of fear, and the means by which hideous crimes may be committed. These passages clearly convey a sense of determination, in which Lady Macbeth shows her strength and views regarding the situation at hand.
When Macbeth expresses concern and doubt about killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth tears into his words as if his opinion were worthless. Macbeth acknowledges that Duncan is a good man, and had helped him many times, so it would be terribly wrong to kill such a man. Lady Macbeth both denounces his manhood and uses disturbing imagery to convey her thoughts.
I have given suck, and I know.
How tender "tis to love the babe that milks me.