Throughout the duration of play Lady Macbeth's truly decrepit and vulnerable nature is revealed. Lady Macbeth has been the iron fist and authority icon for Macbeth, yet deep down, she never carried such traits to begin with. This duality in Lady Macbeth's character plays a huge role in planting the seed for Macbeth's downfall and eventual demise. At the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is introduced as a dominant, controlling, heartless wife with an obsessive ambition to achieve kingship for her husband. Her weak, sheltered, unsure and unstable condition is only revealed at the end of the play. However, the audience begins to see hints of this hidden nature by the manner in which Macbeth addresses her. Contrary to her supposed ruthless nature, her husband regards her as a pure being. He attempts to shield her from foreign agencies by saying, "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck," (III.II.45). It is only in private that Lady Macbeth shows her weaknesses. As opposed to her seemingly violent persona, Lady Macbeth is horrified by blood, and during her sleepwalking soliloquy refers to her hand as if suggesting a delicate stature by uttering this: "All the perfumes / of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." (V. I. 43-44). Although Lady Macbeth is unstable and vulnerable, she uses dramatic analogies to persuade her openly fragile husband to follow through with the first murder: I have given suck, and know
How tender tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this. (I.VII.54-59).
Her shocking and persuasive effect on Macbeth convinces him that he is "settled," (I.III.79). By hearing a woman who seems to be fearless of his anxieties, he is soothed. But even here, however, we begin to catch a greater glimpse of Lady Macbeth's very unstable mind. By using such a graphic description, she reflects her straining desperation for Macbeth's commitment. She knows that Macbeth is a strong person, and she must seem stronger to convince him to go along with her. She now has to wear a mask' of this determined and cold character, creating more distance between her true self and Macbeth. Lady Macbeth has the persuasiveness capable of humiliating someone into murder, but has no personal capacity to execute the...