What does Macbeth's reaction to Lady Macbeth's death reveal about their relationship and his state of mind in Act 5?

4 Answers

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Macbeth is despondent when he learns of her death, and his sorrow contains some of the most quoted lines in all of Western literature:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."  (5.5.17-27)

After news of the queen's death, Macbeth himself resolves to die, rushing into battle, crying out, "Blow, wind! come, wrack! 
/ At least we'll die with harness on our back! (5.5.50-51).   

In Act 5.8, Malcolm reports that Lady Macbeth died "by self and violent hands," and that all attempts to prevent the witches' propheices from coming to pass have failed.  The tragedy of Macbeth is complete.

By the way, you can view the full text of Hamlet, side-by-side with its modern translation by following the second link below. 

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katie442 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

im sorry i just had to completely disagree with missmcrae i do not think Macbeth totally does not love his wife but his mental state is degenerating and his mind is so poisoned with guilt that he can not think of anything but staying alive and fulfilling his wifes wishes of him being king!

thanks xxx

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missmacrae | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Macbeths reaction to Lady macbeths death clearly states that he does not love her. At all. He is to wrapped up in his own twisted life and his battles to care.