In what way does Lady Macbeth's reaction to the murder differ from Macbeth's?lady macbeth in act 2 scene 2

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mr-robitaille | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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After the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth continues much as she did before the murder. She appears cold and uncompassionate, while Macbeth is stunned, nearly in shock from what he has done. When Macbeth comments on what a "sorry sight" Duncan is, she says that this is "a foolish thought." She then goes on to tell him to "consider it not so deeply"; in other words, not to give it too much thought. Otherwise, she fears, "it will make [them] mad."

She then encourages Macbeth to return to the scene of the crime to leave the grooms' daggers and smear their faces with Duncan's blood so that they will appear guilty. Macbeth refuses, claiming that he can't look again at what he has done. Lady Macbeth then does this herself, showing how completely she is ignoring her pangs of conscience. That her conscience is, in fact, punishing her is made clear by the way that she psychologically unravels later in the play.

The final ironic divide between Lady Macbeth's attitude and that of her husband occurs later in the scene, lines 59-62, where Macbeth claims that the blood on his hand can never be cleaned off, rather, it would turn the entire ocean red. After he says this, Lady Macbeth enters and begins to wash her hands, announcing that "a little water clears us of this deed." She has completely ignored her humanity to accomplish her goal.

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