Shakespeare, Macbeth, Acts IV and V

After finishing reading of the last two acts of Macbeth, one sentence really stands out. When Seyton reports the queen’s death to Macbeth, his response is “ She should have died hereafter.” As the reader, I guess I had expected him to show a little more grief and sadness. His reaction contains rather some sort of indifference to it.  This is the death of the woman whom he loves so much that he goes that far to even kill the king just to please her sick power ambitions. Now she dies, and all he has to say is pretty much “O well, we all die after all. Life goes on”. Or, I could be wrong. Maybe his cold reaction is just the result of his numbness. His greed and lust for power have changed him from a loyal hero whom we see at the beginning of the play into a real vengeful beast at the end of it. For instance, the moment he sends out his people to slaughter the entire Macduff’s family shows the worst of his personality. There’s absolutely no valid reason for Macbeth to do so. They are not a threat to him or his reign in any way. He does it out of spite. I think that is the moment when Macbeth becomes completely irrational and acts like a mad man. He knows he’s got a lot of blood on his hands and there is nothing else that can save him. He is a dead man much before the actual moment of death when Macduff takes revenge upon him.

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One response to “Shakespeare, Macbeth, Acts IV and V

  1. I’m always surprised by Macbeth’s response to the death of his wife! It’s really just one sentence–kind of the equivalent of “oh well.” I also hate that Macduff’s entire family has to die. It’s so unnecessary, but does show the depths of Macbeth’s descent into depravity. Excellent!

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