Book Notes Act 5, Scene 1 Notes from Macbeth

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Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1

It is the middle of the night. A doctor and Lady Macbeth's servant woman whisper together in a room of the Dunsinane castle. The servant has called the doctor to observe Lady Macbeth's sleep walking. The queen rises from bed with her eyes open, as if she is awake, but she is still asleep and speaks strangely about blood on her hands. As the doctor watches, Lady Macbeth rubs her hands together as if washing them and cries, "Out damned spot! out, I say! . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so / much blood in him." Act 5, Scene 1, lines 34-9 Lady Macbeth speaks on about how she cannot cleanse her hands and she mentions the wife of Macduff and Banquo, practically admitting her guilt. The doctor tells the servant that guilty minds will often confess their secrets while they sleep, and so something of the same must be happening with Lady Macbeth. He tells the servant to keep an eye on Lady Macbeth. He also suggests that Lady Macbeth needs divine assistance, and not that of a physician, but he doesn't dare to speak more of what he has heard. With that advice, he leaves.

Topic Tracking: Guilt 8

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