Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Macbeth Act III, what are the changes in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's relationship and characters after Duncan's murder?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Macbeth murders Duncan in an act of cowardice by stabbing the sleeping king. After that, even as he ascends in his desired path to become king, things otherwise go downhill for Macbeth and for his wife. While Lady Macbeth has reservations about his abilities, judging his character to be too mild, it turns out that she is not quite as bold as she imagined herself to be. Ultimately, they both die. They not only feel guilty and worry about being found out, but Lady Macbeth suffers a complete mental collapse and kills herself, while Macbeth survives until the end when he is killed in combat.

When Macbeth first returns to his wife after committing the assassination, Lady Macbeth is concerned about his behavior (Act II, Scene 1). He admits that he thought he heard shouting about murder, and afterward in his haste he carried the bloody daggers in plain sight in his hands. She chastises him:

Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of...

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