Milk is one of the many motifs used in Act 1. Lady Macbeth uses this to describe a woman and women are depicted as tender, loving, soft etc. In act 1, scene 5, line 15, Lady Macbeth says, “ It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness”. She says this to insult Macbeth, and she insults him by calling him a woman. Back then society was very sexist, and considers women as weaklings.
Shakespeare uses this in Macbeth in act 1, scene 5, line 15 and line 46 to refer to women. Shakespeare would use milk as a reference to women because only women can produce milk. Women only produce milk when they have a baby and are mothers. This reinforces why Shakespeare would use milk to represent a woman.
In scene 5, line 46, she says, “Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall”. In this line she says to the spirits to take away her milk and replace it with gall (represents bitterness). However, figuratively she is saying to take her female traits and replace them with a male’s, so she can carry out the murder of Duncan.
This motif is significant because it shows how society looked down on females, and it also shows how Lady Macbeth is very tough. She is willing to do anything to help Macbeth become king. Compared to Macbeth, she is crueler because she does not have any worries about killing Duncan.