"Things without all remedy should be without regard: what's done is done." How do Macbeth and Macduff apply this to 3 distinct aspects of their life?I believe it is asking for comparisons between...

"Things without all remedy should be without regard: what's done is done." How do Macbeth and Macduff apply this to 3 distinct aspects of their life?

I believe it is asking for comparisons between Macbeth and Macduff in 3 similar situations and how they apply the advice that Lady Macbeth offers in Act 3, scene 2.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 3, Scene 2, Lady Macbeth encourages her husband not to continue thinking about his past and only think about his future. She says,

"Things without all remedy / Should be without regard. What’s done is done." (3.2.13–14)

In the play, both Macbeth and Macduff apply Lady Macbeth's philosophy of forgetting about the past and continuing to progress toward their futures. After Macbeth murders King Duncan, he is overcome with guilt but decides to murder Banquo in order to secure his throne. After murdering Banquo, Macbeth decides to act on his impulses immediately without thinking about his past. In Act Four, Scene 1, Macbeth contemplates killing Macduff's family:

"The flighty purpose never is o'ertook / Unless the deed go with it. From this moment / The very firstlings of my heart shall be / The firstlings of my hand. And even now, / To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done: / The castle of Macduff I will surprise, / Seize upon Fife, give to th' edge o' th' sword / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls / That trace him in his line." (4.1.151–160)

After murdering Macduff's entire family, Macbeth continues to rule as a tyrant. He does not lament his wife's death, and he willingly challenges Malcolm's overwhelming forces despite the fact that the majority of his troops abandon him.

Like Macbeth, who pursues a focused approach to attaining his goals and attempting to secure his throne, Macduff also takes the initiative. He skips Macbeth's coronation and joins Malcolm's cause. In Act Four, Scene 3, Macduff agrees to challenge Macbeth before learning about his family's fate. Despite receiving the devastating news, Macduff says,

"Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyes And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens, Cut short all intermission. Front to front Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself. Within my sword’s length set him; if he ’scape, Heaven forgive him too." (4.3.237–242)

Macduff's focused attitude and determination in the wake of receiving terrible news demonstrate how he applies Lady Macbeth's philosophy.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth says "Things without all remedy should be without regard:  what's done is done" to Macbeth at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 2 when they are talking about the continual plague of thought and fear that killing King Duncan has brought to them.  Lady Macbeth suggests that the actions of the past cannot be changed, so they should move on from them.  And although Macbeth continues to think about King Duncan's death, he does resolve himself to move on from the past as the play continues.  For example, in Act 5 Macbeth realizes that many of his men have deserted him to fight against him with the English army.  Macbeth does not state any regrets over his past actions and resolves to fight without his men.  He states that he "will try the last" and that he will not yield to Malcolm and Macduff.

Macduff also applies Lady Macbeth's philosophy to his situation when he learns from Rosse that his entire family and court have been murdered.  His grief is brief, yet he does not stop to dwell upon the past.  Knowing that he cannot raise his family from the dead, Macduff resolves to stop the tyranny of Macbeth and Malcolm agrees to help.