What is the dramatic significance of Act 5 Scene 1 in Macbeth?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act V, Scene I, the theme of guilt and the motif of blood is furthered by the delusional Lady Macbeth's famous lines,

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One: two: why, then 'tis time to do 't.  Hell is murky.  ...What need we fear who know it, when none can call our pow'r to accompt?  yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? (5.1.31-35)

Her guilt and mounting madness are clearly evident in this passage as Lady Macbeth becomes obsessed with her imagined blood-stained upon her hand; "Hell is murky" suggests that Lady Macbeth has already seen hell. Even the gentlewoman remarks, "She has spoke what she should not" (5.1.41). Also, it may be a reflection of her increasing insanity as she does not speak in verse as it is most unusual for a major character in a Shakespearean play to speak in something...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 466 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team