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How has Macbeth's disturbance grown following his murder of Duncan?William...

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hottpink | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM via web

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How has Macbeth's disturbance grown following his murder of Duncan?

William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In Act 2 Scene 2.

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:14 PM (Answer #1)

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Macbeth's agitation was evident just before the murder, when he started hallucinating about a dagger, and in the immediate aftermath, in Act 2, scene 2, he still continues to hallucinate, as he wildly tells his wife of the voices he can hear crying out about the murder. This shows that if anything his disturbance has increased. It is not just that he found the murder very hard to commit, he goes on wishing that he had not ever done it at all. This is made quite clear when he looks at his bloody hands and declares: 'This is a sorry sight' (line 18). He further emphasises this when he remarks with horror that he would not be able to cleanse his hands even in an ocean, but rather the ocean itself would turn blood-red because of his sin (lines 57-60).Then at the end of the scene when they hear the knocking on the door, he remarks: 'Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou could'st'! (line 71). This all goes to show that already he is utterly consumed with guilt, and that he wishes the murder could be undone. It is left to Lady Macbeth to try and rally him. 

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