Macbeth's Moral Quandary

In Scene 2 of Act 2, Lady Macbethâs master plan to promote her husband to the throne finally comes to fruition. For the first time in the play, however, Lady Macbeth reveals some degree of weakness in her inability to actually murder Duncan with her own hands. Prior to this act, it would seem likely that Lady Macbeth would be the one to carry out the murder, yet in Scene 1 it is revealed that the ringing of a bell will be the signal for Macbeth himself to go in and kill the king. The first indication that Lady Macbeth may be more vulnerable than she appears to be is her frightened reaction to her husbandâs approach in Scene 2. Her first inclination is that the guards have awoken before Macbeth could complete the deed and she expresses fear that âthe attempt not the deedâ? has confounded the Macbeths. Even more surprising is Lady Macbethâs reason for not killing Duncan herself. She states: âHad he not resembled my father as he slept, I had doneât.â? This is particularly unusual for a character that has so far been depicted as cold and heartless. Apparently, Lady Macbeth does have a degree of respect or even love for other people, and the fact that she compares Duncan to her father would seem to indicate that she still has a...

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