How does Macbeth accept the consequences of his sins?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Critics consider Macbeth's behavior at the close of Shakespeare's Macbeth to be noble.

Throughout Act 5 Macbeth seems to emotionally and mentally go back and forth between clinging to the predictions and warnings of the witches, and knowing the predictions are too good to be true and that he is doomed.  His followers leave him to join the opposition, those that do stay purposely miss the invaders when they fire at them, his wife dies, and then Birnam Wood really does appear to be moving toward his castle.  Yet, Macbeth will not give up or quit.  He leaves his castle and attacks the enemy. 

When the last possibility of victory is destroyed--when Macduff tells him he, in effect, was not born of woman--Macbeth briefly entertains the idea of surrendering.  But surrendering would mean being put on display and being humiliated and bowing down to the boy, Malcolm, as Macbeth says.  Macbeth immediately rejects this option, faces Macduff, and does battle.  Fighting Macduff face to face, head on, if you will, is considered a noble act. 

Though victory is out of the question at this point (even if he were to defeat Macduff, he can't defeat an entire army by himself), Macbeth fights nobly to the death.  Thus, he accepts the consequences of his sins, as you say.  He never repents or anything like that (the closest he comes is after his wife dies when he realizes all actions are, in a general sense, meaningless, but this is not repentance), but he does nobly accept the fate he has brought upon himself.

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