In Shakespeare's dramatic tragedy Macbeth, at the beginning of Act III, scene ii, Lady Mcbeth quietly tells herself, "Naught's had, all's spent/Where our desire is got without content" (v. 4-5)....

In Shakespeare's dramatic tragedy Macbeth, at the beginning of Act III, scene ii, Lady Mcbeth quietly tells herself, "Naught's had, all's spent/Where our desire is got without content" (v. 4-5). Explain the quote, especially discussing whether Macbeth would agree with her at this point in time. 

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, by the time Act III arrives a great deal has taken place. Most importantly Macbeth has murdered Duncan (his king, his cousin and his friend). 

After Duncan's murder, Lady Macbeth expected that she and Macbeth would be able to enjoy what they gained—especially after they had invested everything. They even sold their souls, for the Elizabethans believed it was a mortal sin to commit regicide. Now that they have sacrificed their loyalty, honor and integrity to become king and queen of Scotland, Lady Macbeth wants to enjoy this new life and all that comes with it. However, Macbeth is not only dissatisfied, but also extremely paranoid that it will all be for nothing if he does not tie off every loose end. 

It quickly becomes evident that Macbeth will murder anyone who might stand in his way. By Act III, scene i, Banquo has become Macbeth's next target because he was present when the witches prophesied that Macbeth would become king. Macbeth is certain—with good reason (as witnessed in Act III, scene i)—that his friend might be suspicious that Macbeth has become the new ruler of Scotland especially because Duncan was murdered at Macbeth's castle. Banquo is so honest a man that Macbeth believes he will never rest until Duncan's murder is avenged and Macbeth is brought to justice. 

Lady Macbeth want to know why—when they have achieved their desired results—they cannot simply put Duncan's death behind them and move on.

Nought's had, all's spent,

Where our desire is got without content. (III.ii.4-5)

In other words, she and Macbeth have invested everything to get to the throne. But it is meaningless if they have achieved the ends towards which they worked so hard, but cannot be happy and satisfied. Lady Macbeth is prepared to forget everything else and enjoy their new life together.

Macbeth is not satisfied, but believes that working out some important details will make everything right. In the previous scene, Macbeth is willing to fight fate to get what he wants:

Come fate into the list,

And champion me to th’utterance! (III.i.72-73)

Macbeth has even now taken steps to insure Banquo's murder, so that Macbeth can completely guarantee his position. 

Lady Macbeth does not understand Macbeth's frenzied perceptions. On the other hand, at this point in the play, Macbeth feels that he has everything under control. For the first time since their plotting began, Macbeth does not share with his wife his plan to kill Banquo—thus cutting her out of his confidence. He tells her not to worry about it, and that it will all work out.

Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,

Till thou applaud the deed. (50-51)

Macbeth believes that in killing Banquo, everything will fall into place. I do not believe that Macbeth would agree with Lady Macbeth's concerns in Act III, scene ii. He intends that with Banquo's death, all will be well.

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