Please explain the following quote from Macbeth in detail:Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds(65) Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds To their deaf pillows will discharge their...

Please explain the following quote from Macbeth in detail:

Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds(65)
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God, forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So good night:
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight:
I think, but dare not speak.

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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These lines from Act V, Scene I of Shakespeare's Macbeth are certainly indicative of the guilt-infected mind of Lady Macbeth. In addition, they touch upon the"tragedy of blood" as well as the motif of engulfing phantasmagoria. For, just as nightmare follows Macbeth, in this scene it now consumes Lady Macbeth.

Whereas earlier in the play it has been Lady Macbeth who wields the psychological power, scolding her husband for his unmanliness and discounting the seriousness of their deeds by saying "A little water clears us of this deed" (2.2), in this scene she has now internalized their bloody deeds and, thus, becomes mad with the overpowering horror of these deeds and its consequent guilt. Hearing what she has said, the doctor comprehends that Lady Macbeth needs spiritual forgiveness--"More needs she the divine than the physician"--and that there have been terrible and unnatural deeds committed.

This scene from Macbeth exemplifies what renowned critic Harold Bloom has expressed as the greatest quality of this play, its powerful internalization:

Of the aesthetic greatness of Macbeth there can be no question....and yet it is my personal favorite of all the high tragedies.  Shakespeare's final strength is radical internalization.

Indeed, it is this "radical internalization" of the tormented Lady Macbeth that magnifies the horrific energy and the phantasmal element of Shakespeare's work in which "nothing is but what is not."   For, in Act V, Scene I, Lady Macbeth, herself, becomes "what is not"  as consumed with guilt, she commits suicide. 

 

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