William Shakespeare: "Macbeth", Act I, Scene VII

Lady Macbeth has a conversation with her husband with the aim of convincing him to kill the king, Duncan, while he is their guest.

Just at the beginning of the scene, Macbeth holds a monologue, expressing his inner struggles about his cruel thoughts of murdering his king, showing his fear of the consequences. Then, after Lady Macbeth’s enter, a conversation starts between her and her husband. Actually one couldn’t talk about this scene as being a "conversation", it is more a persuasive speech of Lady Macbeth's, which Macbeth interrupts several times, but only for short statements.
Lady Macbeth’s line of persuasion is a very clever one. She directly catches Macbeth at a very vulnerable point: his masculinity. He, presumed to fulfil the role of the strong, fearless warrior and perfect man could not afford to withdraw (be a "coward", l. 43) after mentioning his cruel thoughts in the presence of his wife ("[what] made you break this enterprise to me? / When you durst do it, then you were a man", ll. 48 - 49). After this provocation, she comes up with a very brutal and shocking image: she would kill their child if she had sworn it like Macbeth did it with the murder. Here it becomes clear that Lady Macbeth’s only aim is to convince her husband, without taking any counter - argument into consideration. She even doesn’t hesitate to use their unborn child as an "argument", which does not necessarily mean that she would do as she said, but shows how important the issue is for her. One could speculate about her motives to persuade her husband to kill the king. One of the main reasons could be that the outlook for the position of the Queen is so tentative that she overthrows with all moral and social obstacles on her and her husband’s way to power. As she completely disregards these aspects (in contrast to Macbeth, who harbours deep - rooted doubts against murdering his king, his guest, his relative), she proceeds in her line of argumentation. After the shocking aspect with the child Macbeth for the first time seems to waver, but is not yet convinced. Now, in a strategical intelligent way, she immediately fulfils the gap in his thoughts with the presentation of a complete plan describing how it would be possible to murder Duncan. This doesn’t leave Macbeth any possibility to resist, as he now recognises how easy it would be to accomplish his objective. It is also his objective, as it became his inmost dream after the witches mentioned his likely success, which he is just too restricted to utter. So he gives in, even adding an aspect to the plan, and finishing the scene with the central quote: "False face must hide what the false heart doth know" (ll. 82 - 83).

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