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In act five, scene one, what does Lady Macbeth mean when she says...

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mekia44 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2008 at 7:21 AM via web

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In act five, scene one, what does Lady Macbeth mean when she says "afeared"?

Summarize act five scene one.

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 28, 2008 at 8:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Lady Macbeth is guiltily reliving her crime. She is confessing her part in Duncan's murder. "Afeared" is how she helped persuade her husband to murder him. She is saying that a brave soldier should not fear it. There would be no one to prove anything.

This scene deals with the descent into madness of Lady Macbeth. Her servant summoned the doctor to help her, but the doctor realizes that she suffers from guilt. Lady Macbeth is observed repeatedly pacing, attempting to wash invisible blood from her hands, and lying back down again, in a repetitive cycle.

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leagye | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted February 28, 2008 at 11:48 AM (Answer #2)

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The word "afeard" means "afraid." Lady Macbeth, in this scene, is in the throes of a mental breakdown and is reliving the act of talking her husband into murdering their king. She is re-stating her basic words to Macbeth, when she was working very hard at convincing him to murder Duncan: You are a soldier, and afraid? It doesn't matter who knows what we've done, we're powerful enough to avoid being held accountable.

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