Why does Macbeth comment that he wishes himself dead?related to the play Macbethact2

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Macbeth says this in Act 2, sc. 3 right after Duncan's murder is announced: "Had I but died an hour before this chance, / I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant / There's nothing serious in mortality; / All is but toys; renown and grace is dead; / The wine of life is drawn, the the mere lees  / Is left this vault to brag of."  He is saying that he wishes he had died before Duncan because now there is nothing worth living for since the good king has been killed.  What's left, he says, is just the leftovers.  Macbeth says this for effect; it is the politically correct statement to make in front of others.  After all, the king died in Macbeth's house under Macbeth's watch.  Macbeth also feels regret for his actions; a part of him, at this point, truly wishes he had died before Duncan because his conscience is bothering him.  Ironically, he is the one who seems to lose his conscience as the play continues however.


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