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How does Lady Macbeth die in Macbeth?  Quote and cite lines from the end of the act...

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totalwar | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted September 13, 2010 at 5:07 AM via web

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How does Lady Macbeth die in MacbethQuote and cite lines from the end of the act to support your response.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:15 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act 5, Scene 5, Macbeth hears a scream and when he asks what it is, he is told that it is Lady Macbeth, who is dead. Macbeth does not ask how she died, and he tells his servant that she would died later anyway (this is a famous speech in the play): 

She should have died later.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this trivial pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted
The way to dusty death for fools. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's only a walking shadow; a bad actor,
That struts and worries about his hour onstage,
And then is not heard from again. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

In earlier scenes, Lady Macbeth has gone mad. Her doctor and nurse have been watching her sleep walk. She is constantly wshing her hands, imagining that she cannot get out a "damned spot" - which symbolically represents her guilt due to her part in Duncan's murder. She is extremely depressed because of this guilt, and her death is related to her madness, but readers are not told exactly how she dies, just that she does die.

Read the text here on eNotes.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM (Answer #2)

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To answer your question about Lady Macbeth's death in Shakespeare's Macbeth, just follow the prompt included with the question.  Just go to the end of the act as the prompt tells you to, and you will find the information you need.

Malcolm concludes the play in Act 5.8 with a speech.  During the speech he refers to Lady Macbeth's manner of death.  You will find what you need in Malcolm's concluding speech in 5.8.  This is the only specific information given in the play as to her death. 

Once you read Malcolm's words, then you can draw conclusions about the connection between her madness and her death. 

Remember, however, that Shakespeare loves ambiguity, and the information he gives concerning Lady Macbeth's death is scant.  What information there is, though, is in Act 5.8.  I cleaned up your question and italicized the key phrase for you. 

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