Act I, Scene 7
Analyse Lady Macbeth's strategy when she tries to overcome her husband's scruples about killing the king (ll. 35-45 and 47-59) (1) What arguments does she use ?
(2) Point out and explain some of the rhetorical devices she uses to counteract the "milk of human kindness" within him. (3) How effective are they ?
(4) Evaluate Lady Macbeth's strategy from the human angle.
In the seventh scene of act one Macbeth has left the banquet, and expresses his doubts about murdering Duncan in a monologue. Lady Macbeth comes in, and argues with Macbeth, until she manages to "convince" him, that he has to murder Duncan. To do that Lady Macbeth uses mainly two arguments.
"Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would" like the poor cat i' the adage" (lines 43-44). Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth here that he shouldn't let his chance slip away. Now Duncan is in his castle, now Macbeth can murder him, and now Macbeth can become king. If he waits the chance is gone, and Macbeth never will have a chance to become king, as Duncan already announced, that his son Malcolm will take over the kingdom when Duncan "retires". Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he shouldn't have doubts about killing Duncan, as he would regret it afterwards. The feelings Macbeth has are, according to Lady Macbeth, normal, but they shouldn't stop him from acting. There are always consequences (wet paws) if somebody is killed, but the outcome of the murder is reducing the consequences to virtually nothing: "Like the poor cat i' adage" Malcolm should try to catch the fish (his chance) even though his paws will become wet (there will be consequences). "(...), and know how tender t is to love the baby that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and have dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done this" (lines 54 - 59). Lady Macbeth claims that she would do the most terrible thing she can imagine, she would kill her own...
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