The Power of a Woman

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The Power of a Woman

The familiar saying "Behind every great man is an even greater woman" can certainly hold true in many cases. A woman may very well be the driving force behind any successful man. However, a woman can also use her strong influence in a negative way. This can be seen in Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth is the evil force behind Macbeth's cruelty and evil doings. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the main reason that Macbeth is transformed from a noble, respected Thane into a ruthless, murderous character. Lady Macbeth fuels his inner desire for power and brings forth his greed and ambition, which both eventually lead to his downfall. The tactics that Lady Macbeth use to drive her husband to this downfall are manipulation, dominance, and her evil nature.

Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth into believing that he is a coward and a bad husband, which persuades him to agree to the murder of King Duncan. She dwells on the fact that he is a coward, when she says "My hands are of your colour, but I shame/ to wear a heart so white" (2.2.64-65). This instills feelings of embarrassment into his mind, and manipulates him into believing that if he does not murder King Duncan, he will be a weak, cowardly man. Not only is she challenging his manhood, by appearing to be the stronger and braver of the two, but also, by calling his heart "white", she is criticizing his cowardice. The fact that his wife is undermining his masculinity causes Macbeth to want to be stronger, and not to appear weak and timid. When Lady Macbeth yells "Infirm of

purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood/ that fears a painted devil" (2.2.53-55), she further contributes to the shame which she has driven into Macbeth's mind. She bluntly tells him that he is acting like a weak, nervous child, and insults him for being afraid of something that is already dead! This shame encourages Macbeth to want to consent...
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