How does Shakespeare show the theme of conflict in Macbeth Act 5 Scene 1?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 5 Scene 1 of Macbeth, the doctor and the gentlewoman have come upon Lady Macbeth as she sleepwalks and makes the motion of washing her hands.  While doing this, Lady Macbeth says, "Out!  Out, damn spot!" and proceeds to confess her role in the murders that her husband has committed.  This is a display of Lady Macbeth's internal conflict--for the majority of the play, Lady Macbeth has been calm and collected as she tries to rid Macbeth of his fears of being caught by someone.  She has on an earlier occasion stated that she and her husband are not happy, but she has not gone so far as to admit any feelings of guilt.  But in Act 5 Scene 1, Lady Macbeth fears that Macbeth has gone too far in his murderous rampage, and she laments the killing of Lady Macduff who has been completely innocent in this situation.  Lady Macbeth is entirely conflicted by her role in having prompted Macbeth towards murder--she never thought that he would have "so much blood in him."  The conflict presented in this scene leads to Lady Macbeth's suicide shortly after.