Macbeth decides to kill king Duncan to overtake his throne. I cannot say that I did not see it coming. From the moment Macbeth hears the witches’ prophecy he seems determined to fulfill his goal. What in fact does surprise me is Lady Macbeth’s desire for Macbeth to become the new king. I even tend to believe that Macbeth alone is not capable of caring out such a monstrous plan if not for his wife’s support. She is the mastermind behind his actions. When Macbeth contemplates his decision to kill the king, she steps in and says:
“Wherein you dresses yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?”
These are the Lady Macbeth’s words that challenge Macbeth’s desire and what it takes to execute the murder of the king.
The old saying “like the poor cat” that she uses mocks Macbeth’s indecisiveness and attacks his ego. She basically compares him to a cat who likes to eat fish but not so much getting her paws wet. In other words, she states that Macbeth would enjoy being a king but is afraid to take steps needed to get there. Of course, this is an open provocation on her part. Apparently, she knows her husband’s weak points, and is very calculated.