What is a quotation that shows Macbeth receiving little support from those who once were closest to him?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 5, Scene 3, when a Servant reports that ten thousand English troops are approaching, Macbeth expresses his extreme depression and disillusionment in a soliloquy which includes the following.

My way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.

(Shakespeare uses the image of yellow leaves to represent old age in his sonnet #73. "That time of year thou mayst in me behold / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang / Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, / Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.")

Macbeth does not seem concerned that a huge enemy army is on the march and he has lost many of his own cohorts. He calls for Seyton, and significantly has to call three times before Seyton responds. This suggests that even the household servants are abandoning Macbeth and that Seyton, who is evidently in charge of the household staff--a butler, head steward, or majordomo--is one of the few loyal ones left. Nobody wants to be caught inside the castle if it is swarmed over by enemy soldiers, who might slaughter everyone with or without orders to do so. There are only remnants of the original inhabitants of the huge castle--Seyton, Lady Macbeth, a Doctor, a Nurse, a Servant, and presumably a few guards.

The above soliloquy rather strangely recalls another one Macbeth spoke much earlier in the play in Act 2, Scene 3, when he had to stand outside Duncan's chamber while the totally unsuspecting Macduff went inside to wake the king and discovered his bloody body instead. On that occasion Macbeth spoke these words:

Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant
There's nothing serious in mortality:
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead;
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.