Explain with which of the following statements you think Macbeth would have agreed after he had delivered his speech upon learning of Lady Macbeth's death. 1. I'm pleased the Queen is finally...

Explain with which of the following statements you think Macbeth would have agreed after he had delivered his speech upon learning of Lady Macbeth's death. 

1. I'm pleased the Queen is finally dead.

2. It doesn't matter what we do, we're all going to die someday.

3. Whoever invented the way we live is an idiot.

4. My life has been a waste of time - I should have bothered living.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Of the statements given, I tend to think that the second statement is the one most aligned with the sentiments emerging from Macbeth's speech upon hearing that the queen is dead.  There is a fundamental hollowness and sense of nothingness in this speech.  There is little in way of redemptive emotions and a sense of the cavernous emptiness that dominates consciousness in the world is evident.  With these elements in mind, the first sentence does not work because it reflects a sense of happiness or pleasure at the death of Lady Macbeth, something that is not present in the speech.  The third sentence is alluring because it uses the word, "idiot," something that is in the speech when Macbeth says, "It is a tale told by an idiot," referring to what he feels life is.  The problem with this sentence is that it seeks to find blame with another, something that Macbeth does not do in this speech.  He puts the blame of being in the world solely on the shoulders of human beings and not on anything or any other transcendent force.  The last sentence is hopeful, and this is why it doesn't work in this context.  The idea of Macbeth "bothered" to live is not evident in this speech.  This moment of recognition, this threshold of revelation, is not one that is ultimately redemptive.  It is an instant of insight where futility is revealed.  For these reasons, I think that the second sentence about the inevitability of death fits in well with the "poor player" who leaves the stage, the "brief candle" idea, and the "last syllable of recorded time" concepts.

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