'we will proceed no further in the buisness"- who says this to whom? what are the reason for which the spesker will proceed?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lady Macbeth tells her husband that King Duncan has almost finished his supper and asks, "Why have you left the chamber?"

Macbeth asks her, "Hath he asked for me?" and she replies, "Know you not he has?

Macbeth understands that Duncan really cares about him, and his wife tells him, in effect, that this is obvious. Macbeth really loves Duncan too. That should be apparent in his tone of voice when he asks, "Hath he asked for me?" Macbeth's voice is filled with his mixed emotions when he tells his wife:

We will proceed no further in this business.
He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon. (I,7)

That last line is like a question. His little speech starts off like the tone of a resolute and domineering husband and ends with almost a whimper. If he were really the master of the house he would simply say, "We will proceed no further in this business" without offering any explanation or apology. He does not give his main reason for wanting to abandon the plot. He loves Duncan and Duncan loves him. Duncan is a good, kind, loyal, generous friend. Macbeth is really afraid of his wife. She controls him by giving and withholding love and approval. Nowhere is this more apparent that in this interchange in Act 1, sc. 7. He would like to abandon the plan to murder the King, but she won't let him. She begins another of her scorching rebukes as follows:

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely?

After that, Duncan's fate is sealed.