Analyze Lady Macbeth's strategy when she tries to overcome her husband'S scruples about killing the king. (I,7 lines 35-45 and 47-59)

· What arguments does she use?

· Point out and explain some of the rhetorical devices she uses to counteract "the milk of human kindness" within him

· How effective are they?

· Evaluate Lady Macbeth's strategy from the human angle

It is Lady Macbeth's sole goal to convince her husband to kill Duncan in order to make Macbeth, already Thane of Cawdor and Glamis, king and thus herself queen.

While Lady Macbeth has appealed to evil forces in order to "unsex" her (sc. 5), her husband still has doubts about killing Duncan.

These lines show how immensely ambitous Lady Macbeth has become and how she tries to convince Macbeth to go ahead with the murder by threatening his manhood.

It is interesting that Lady Macbeth keeps on talking about how Macbeth swore that he would kill Duncan while he actually never did swear to do so.

In line 43 she says "letting I dare not wait upon I would"- she means that now he is saying "I dare not", however this will eventually change into "I would" and Macbeth will go ahead and do it. Lady Macbeth is trying to say that her husband should not let the chance he has now slip away as it will be the only and easiest one he will get.

Her words " When you durst to do it, then you were a man; and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man" (49-51) once more show that Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth promised to kill Duncan while he never did. When he promised to do it he was a "real man" and if he did it then he would become even more a man while if he wouldn't do it, then he would become "less a man". This argument appeals to Macbeth's honour but even more so to his ambitiousness. It is like saying "come on, you can't tell me that you don't want to be king, there is so much to it".

Lady Macbeth also tries to milder her husbands fears. Macbeth worries about the consequences that will result from murdering the popular Duncan- she tells him that it is rather normal to fear the consequences of such a murder but that he shouldn't let these worries hinder him and his plans.

The strongest but also most confusing argument is in lines 54-59. She says that she would even kill her beloved baby while it was sucking at her breasts if she had sworn to do so. As she asumes that Macbeth, the brave and worthy soldier, swore to kill Duncan (that is why this argument is confusing, he never did swear to do so), the king, (comparision baby-king) she says that it is his duty to kill him.

The milk of human kindness prevents him from going ahead with the murder. There are several images concerning fear and cowardness (eg.: "Was the hope drunk, wherein you dressed yourself?"). "Art thou afread to be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art in desire?"- Lady Macbeth asks this rhetorical question which Macbeth can't answer with "no" as everyone has differences between thoughts and actions.

As Lady Macbeth taunts her husband's honour and manhood, he has to respond in order not to look like a coward.

She goes on distance by using the formal "you" instead of "thou" as she realises that he might not kill him. Naturally Macbeth will feel uncomfortable with this distance and will therefore have to close this gap by killing Duncan.

The, to us, disgusting "baby argument" is rhetorical as well, as there is hardly a way that Macbeth will be able to deny his wife's ambitiousness - there isn't anything worse for a mother to do than kill her baby and likewise there isn't anything worse that a soldier can do than kill his king. As Lady Macbeth has been "unsexed" (sc. 5) by evil forces she appealed to she now uses her evilness to challenge her husband.

It is, undoubtably, evident that Lady Macbeth's argumentation as well as her "tactical and rhetorical games" are sucessful. By the end of the scene she has completely convinced Macbeth and he is all set to go ahead with the murder. "I am settled, and bend up up each corporal agent to this terrible feat" - there is a parallel to Lady Macbeth's monolgue in scene 5 in which she asks evil forces to make her body and mind ready for the murder, now Macbeth says that every corporal agent is up to do it. Lady Macbeth chose the "right" tools to convince her husband- appealing to a brave and worthy soldier's honour and manhood is the most effective strategy Lady Macbeth could have chosen in order to convince her husband to kill Duncan.

From the human aspect there are two sides to Lady Macbeth's strategy.

On the one hand she only wants the couple's best- becoming king was the highest goal a soldier could set for himself at that time. On the other hand she is trying to influence him to such an extent that he will to the worst thing one could do at that time- kill the king.

In spite of the Elizabethan world picture, Lady Macbeth is committing a serious offence; by planing to kill the king she is planing to upset degree and thus the state's order. In any case, killing someone is "not right", no matter whether you will gain out of it in the end.

The couple's, especially Lady Macbeth's, ambitiousness has taken control of their thoughts and they are destined to commit the worst crime there is.

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