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In Macbeth, how does Macbeth respond to the English attack and the death of his wife?

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msup | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM via web

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In Macbeth, how does Macbeth respond to the English attack and the death of his wife?

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

Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:54 AM (Answer #1)

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In Macbeth, Macbeth has made a false interpretation of the witches' prophecy and this causes him to believe that he is nearly invincible in the face of attack.  When Macbeth learns that the English army is advancing on his castle, he is not overly afraid because he thinks that "no man of woman born" can harm him.  Macbeth does not see how anyone could not be of "woman born," so he thinks that no one can hurt him.  As a result, he vows to fight.  When Lady Macbeth commits suicide, Macbeth does not stop to mourn her death and says that there is no time for such things.  He says that she was bound to die sooner or later, so to him, her death is no great tragedy.  However, even though Macbeth does not react strongly to these individual events, he is aware that he has lost much because he has not ruled well--a bit earlier in the play, Macbeth acknowledges that he will not grow old with respect, love, loyalty, and friendship the way good kings do.

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