Lady Macbeth is an ambitious woman who easily manipulates Macbeth.

Once he sees Lady Macbeth, after she has been informed of this news, they immediately conclude they must kill the king of Scotland, Duncan, even though the prophecy mentioned no such thing....

The reader should see Macbeth as a great man whose ambition for security leads to his downfall.

Prior to this we hear about one escapade of the witches who take revenge against a sailor's wife who would not share her chestnuts! What does the witch do? She goes after the woman's husband. "Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger;/ But in a sieve I'll thither sail, / And, like a rat without a tail, / I'll do, I'll do, I'll do" (I, iii). The other witches offer to send additional wind to help her. She plans to keep the sailor awake so that "Sleep shall neither night nor day/ Hang upon his pent-house lid;" (I, iii), and then proudly displays "a pilot's thumb" (I, iii). Shakespeare is letting us know a thing or two about these "weird sisters." What is his take on them? I would ask my students to speculate. They do not seem to be as malevolent as Macbeth will later become. We do not hear of brutal murders at their hands. Yet they are not dutiful wives or carefully chaperoned daughters. They are disorderly and disheveled, outside of society's norm, and worst of all, seem to enjoy that position.


‘Lady Macbeth is entirely responsible for Macbeth ..

Macbeth descends into Madness with theaid of The Witches, Lady Macbeth and theidea of good vs.

When she learns that the king's dead body has been discovered, she grows faint and must be carried from the room. (Hmm. It's almost as though Lady Macbeth has literally been drained of that "spirit" she said she was going to pour into her husband's "ear.")


The Downfall of Macbeth Macbeth's love for Lady Macbeth, ..

This is done through giving Macbeth thoughts of treason against the king, telling him to secure the kingdom from Banquo and his descendants, and giving him a false sense of invincibility against his enemies.

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Derek Cohen states, "The equation of manliness with violence, a truism in the criticism of Macbeth, has a curious double edge. It is from Lady Macbeth that Macbeth himself takes his images of manliness. His fears and scruples, his anxious dependence on his wife's opinions bespeak a sensitive 'femaleness' in his own nature which is visibly belied by her brutality. We are left in gender limbo"(133).

Macbeth suffers a terrible downfall – Who is to blame

The world that Shakespeare has created in is a world of men and women living with gender stereotypes: crossing them, fighting against them, and the blurring of roles. Interestingly, according to Holinshed's , the inspiration for many of Shakespeare's plays, we learn that in the days of the historic Macbeth, once the actual King of Scotland, women were not kept in a quiet, weak, uninvolved role. We learn from Carolyn Asp that "Holinshed actually writes of this period that 'in the daies also the women of our countries were of no lesse courage than the men; for all stout maidens and wives. . .marched as well in the field as did the men, and so soone as the armie did set forward, they slue the first living creature that they found, in whose bloud they not onlie bathed their swords, but also tasted thereof with their mouthes"(158). Shakespeare, on the other hand, creates a world where it is unnatural for women to fight. In Act IV, scene iii, Ross is explaining to Macduff how bad things go under the rule of Macbeth, so bad in fact, that "your eye in Scotland would. . .make our women fight." Asp believes that "this comment suggests that Shakespeare took liberties with his source in order to create an artistic world in which he could examine male and female stereotypes"(158).

Macbeth suffers a terrible downfall ..

So Shakespeare seems to have deliberately chosen to examine what happens when a man or a woman departs from sexual stereotypes. In the case of Lady Macbeth, we see the tragic result of one who pushes for the ultimate act of violence, in a manly fashion, not able to predict the "manliness" she will unleash in her husband, or the distance it will create between herself and her "partner in greatness."