Homework Help

In Macbeth, what does Lady Macbeth's soliloquy reveal about her state of...

user profile pic

metalmulisha47 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:49 AM via web

dislike 2 like

In Macbeth, what does Lady Macbeth's soliloquy reveal about her state of mind?

"Nought's had, all's spent, / Where our desire is got without content: / 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy."

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:18 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Lady Macbeth, in Shakespeare's Macbeth, echoes an idea also stated by her husband.  They have power, but they do not safely have power. 

Lady Macbeth expresses discontent with her situation.  She has fulfilled her desire (Macbeth is king), but the fulfillment has brought no contentment.  She's figuratively spent herself, but achieved nothing for her efforts.  Any joy she feels is contaminated. 

Lady Macbeth would rather be that which they destroyed (Duncan) than to live with the uneasy power they've achieved.  At least Duncan has peace. 

In short, Macbeth has shut her out of the decision-making process and shunned her since the assassination.  He continues to foul up their cover up by doing things like ordering the killings of Banquo and Fleance.  Macbeth has become a tyrant and people are beginning to suspect him/them of treachery.  She has power (or at least Macbeth does, since he's replaced her as adviser with the witches), but that power is not solidified.  She has no peace, which the dead Duncan does.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes