Using Act 5 Scene 1: In what ways has Lady Macbeth been affected by the murder of King Duncan?  If Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 were compared, then a dramatic change in Lady Macbeth is visible....

Using Act 5 Scene 1: In what ways has Lady Macbeth been affected by the murder of King Duncan?

 

If Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 were compared, then a dramatic change in Lady Macbeth is visible. But how...?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In Act 5, scene 1, Lady Macbeth's troubles have surfaced and prevent her from sleeping.  Her gentlewoman has called in the doctor to help her lady, but the doctor, after watching her erratic behavior and mixed confessions, realizes that he cannot help her.

Lady Macbeth enters the stage rubbing her hands in an attempt to get the blood of her hands.  The doctor and gentlewoman cannot see the blood, and watch her as she sleepwalks and continuously rubs her hands saying, "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"  She questions herself about the amount of blood "the old man to have had so much blood in him?"  The doctor and gentlewoman stair in disbelief as the audience realizes she's talking about killing Duncan, and so they realize that it is his death that has driven her to this state.

When she finally leaves for bed, the doctor admits he cannot help her. He tells the gentlewoman, "unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles."  He points out that she can't sleep (or that her pillow is deaf) because of her guilt.  She needs something divine and not medical to fix her problems.

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