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Word Count: 339
Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeares most famous and frightening female characters When we first see her she is already plotting Duncans murder and she is stronger more ruthless and more ambitious than her husband She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder At one point she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself This theme of the relationship between gender and power is key to Lady Macbeths character Her husband implies that she is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence Shakespeare however seems to use her and the witches to undercut Macbeths idea that undaunted mettle should compose Nothing but males Act 1Scene 7Lines 7374 These crafty women use female methods of achieving power that is manipulation to further their supposedly male ambitions Women the play implies can be as ambitious and cruel as men yet social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness overriding all his objections when he hesitates to murder Duncan she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself Lady Macbeths remarkable strength of will persists through the murder of the king it is she who calms her husband down after being in shock immediately after the crime has been carried out Afterward however she begins a slow slide into madness just as ambition affects her more strongly than Macbeth before the crime so does guilt effect her more strongly afterward By the close of the play she has been reduced to sleepwalking through the castle desperately trying to wash away an invisible bloodstain Once the sense of guilt comes to her mind in reality Lady Macbeths sensitivity becomes a weakness and she is unable to deal wit the
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