In Act II scene ii of Macbeth, what does Shakespeare mean when he says, "A little water clears us of this deed." What does it represent?

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This is an extremely important line and concept in Macbeth. This line comes when Macbeth has just killed Duncan and Lady Macbeth is helping him wash his hands of the blood. Directly before she says this, Macbeth says:

How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

He doesn't believe that his hands will ever come clean. Lady Macbeth, in return says:

My hands are of your colour; but I shame

To wear a heart so white.

Knocking within

I hear a knocking
At the south entry: retire we to our chamber;
A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.

At this point, she is the calm and collected one. Macbeth is losing it with the guilt. Later on, the tides turn, as you'll see.

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