How could Lady Macbeth be described in Act 5 Scene 1?
Lady Macbeth could be described as having become mad or crazy from guilt. She is like a ghost, sleepwalking at night, muttering aloud to herself about washing a blood spot away. She talks about how much blood there is and rubs her hands as if she is washing them. The guilt over the murders she has participated in has caught up with her.
This mad sleepwalking has been happening frequently enough to alarm her gentlewoman, who calls in a doctor to witness the scene. Lady Macbeth sleepwalks in front of him with open eyes and says:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
This scene is ironic, because Lady Macbeth was the one whose tough words had earlier goaded Macbeth into murdering Duncan. When Macbeth returns from the murder, in a state of shock, he says that the blood he'd shed could turn the seas from green to red. Lady Macbeth then advises him to get a grip and insists it is easy enough to wash the blood away. Now, however, she has had a change of heart, and no amount of washing can rid her of her guilt.