Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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When does Lady Macbeth go mad in Macbeth?

Lady Macbeth doesn't go mad at a specific point in the play Macbeth. Her descent into madness is a long, gradual process that begins after Macbeth takes the throne, builds up after the banquet scene in act 3, scene 4, and eventually culminates in her off-stage suicide.

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Once Macbeth has taken the throne of Scotland from the murdered Duncan, he finds that he can dispense with the services of his ambitious wife. Surplus to requirements, Lady Macbeth no longer knows what to do with herself. Without a political role in the new Scotland she finds herself with too much time on her hands—time in which to brood over the dastardly deed for which she, more than anyone else, was responsible.

And over time, this brooding gradually disorders her mind, leading her to experience deep feelings of unease over Duncan's murder that, in turn, lead to her suicide. The first stirrings of these feelings make their appearance in act 3, scene 4, when the ghost of Banquo materializes at the feast.

Only Macbeth can see Banquo's ghost, so when he starts ranting and raving at the apparition it appears that he's going out of his mind. For the first time, Lady Macbeth can see the outward signs of psychological damage to which her husband has been subjected since murdering Duncan.

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