Rhetorical Analysis Lady Macbeth

920 Words4 Pages

A fundamental part of successful persuasion is being familiar with one’s audience and knowing what may or may not fly out their other ear. Otherwise, it would be like baiting a rabbit into a cage with meat. In order to truly gain an audience’s interest and trust, they must be told something that they consider attention grabbing, designed for their absorption. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth dangles this rhetorical bait over Macbeth, her husband, to expedite their covert plans to murder King Duncan and take the throne. The problem is that Macbeth has become hesitant to carry out those plans and is reconsidering his decision.
Lady Macbeth particularly targets Macbeth’s feelings of pride, by not only sneering at his hesitance but …show more content…

Lady Macbeth begins her argument when Macbeth retreats from their plans without warning. When Macbeth changes his mind about murdering King Duncan, Lady Macbeth sneeringly calls him “drunk” for suddenly being hesitant when it was he himself who suggested it in the first place. She says, “Was the hope drunk wherein you dress’d yourself? Hath it slept since? ... Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor as thou art in desire?” As she says this, Lady Macbeth puts her husband on the spot, leading him to doubt himself and lose confidence in his character. It is as if he has been called out for not being honest and putting on an act. Macbeth now feels self-conscious about not being as bold as he was when he brought up the plan, and as a result, Macbeth begins to reconsider his final decision to save …show more content…

Throughout the scene, Macbeth is subjected to mockery, guilt-tripping, and dishonor for hesitating to kill the king. She brilliantly structures her arguments to focus on her husband, portraying her cause to be in his best interest. This succeeds, for Lady Macbeth knows her husband is an egocentric and, in his eyes, a valiant man. In the end, Macbeth decides to go through with the plan, but becomes more passionate about it than before. Lady Macbeth manipulated him into solidly committing to it. In this scenario, Lady Macbeth appealed to her husband’s understanding of manliness and valor, which meant comparing him to his own standards of what it means to be brave and honorable, even if she does not necessarily view it the same way. Shakespeare’s Macbeth provides a distinct example of audience analysis between Lady Macbeth and her husband, and illustrates the effectiveness of catering to an audience’s values. If Lady Macbeth were to appeal to things that Macbeth generally did not value, then he likely would not have responded the way she wanted him to; the same way a hunter does not expect to bait a rabbit with a chunk of

Open Document