Act 5 Scene 1

Characters: Lady Macbeth,Gentle Woman and Doctor

Scene set: Dunsinane castle

Summary: Doctor enters and says i have not seen lady macbeth sleep walk. The Gentle woman says every night she writes a letter. Lady Macbeth walks in and both keep hidden. Lady Macbeth then begins speaking that no one can confirm that they are guilty but she is still scared. She then starts saying that her hands will never be clean, like shes referring to all the bad things she has done. She then admits that the smell of the blood is still on her hands. Lady Macbeth then says she will wash her hands (as if there is something like blood on them) and that Banquo is buried and she shouldn’t be scared. The Doctor then realises that people guilty will often admit what they have in there sleep,and that she could danger herself as her mind is sick. The doctor suspects what might be going on but doesn’t speak.

This scene has great significance for 2 main reasons. The first reason is that it is showing that even now lady Macbeth mind is begging to dteritae ,like Macbeth’s, under all the terrible things she has done. “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?“….”Wash your hands.” This quote proves this as it shows that she thinks that she has done to much evil and she is cracking under this pressure and she washes her hands as if she has blood. This is similar to Macbeth’s symptoms of him seeing things that are not there,eg the dagger that appeared in front of him and had a part to his final decision to kill the king. Instead Lady Macbeth is thinking (or seeing) that there is physical blood on her hands and that she tries to wash them to get rid of it. Like Macbeth, these visions effect her greatly and compromises her decision making them rash.


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