In Act III, scene 2, what earlier advice of Lady Macbeth’s does Macbeth echo?Shakespeare's Macbeth

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act III, Scene 2, Macbeth determines that the path of his "vaulting ambition" is not cleared simply by the death of King Duncan; for, there are yet threats to the throne: Banquo and his son stand in the way of his becoming king. So, Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that his mind is "full of scorpions" and he has more deadly plans.  When Lady Macbeth urges him to be jovial in the presence of Banquo and the other guests, Macbeth replies, echoing her urgings to dissemble in Act I,

So shall I, love, and so, I pray, be you:
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
Unsafe the while, that we
Must lave our honors in these flattering streams,
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are. (32-38)

While in this scene of Act III it is Lady Macbeth who despairs and says, "Naugt's had, all's spent," echoing Macbeth's desperate thoughts of his soliloquy of Act I,

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well 

It were done quickly” (1.7.1–2)

Macbeth is the stronger, more determined as he echoes his wife's earlier advice to feel no regret--"A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight"(2.2.20)-- as he tells his wife,

Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. (3.2.20-23) 

Then, echoing his wife's earlier instructions to

...look like the innocent flower,

But be the serpent under’t” (1.5.63–64)

Macbeth urges his wife to make her face a "vizard," a mask and deceive the guests. 

Also, in another role reversal, Macbeth echoes his wife's scolding of his manhood in Act I to motive him to murder Duncan. Here, in this third act, Macbeth ridicules the manhood of the murderers in order to spur them into anger so that they will prove themselves to him by committing the murders. Clearly, there seems to be a complete change in the roles played by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.