Study Guide

Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1

By William Shakespeare

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Act 5, Scene 1

  • Back in Scotland, at Macbeth's castle in Dunsinane, a doctor waits with one of Lady Macbeth's gentlewomen.
  • They're keeping an eye out for Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking, which the gentlewoman reported began once Macbeth left to prepare the house for battle.

  • Seems like Lady Macbeth has been saying and doing some freaky things on these nightly strolls.Lady Macbeth shows up walking. Make that sleepwalking.
  • They proceed to watch Lady Macbeth ramble through a tortured speech, at once trying to clean her hands of an imaginary spot (try a little hydrogen peroxide) and nagging at her invisible husband.
  • All the hand wringing and her question, "Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?" leave little doubt as to what vexes the lady. (This is also where we get the famous line, "Out, damned spot!" so be sure to check out this staged version.)
  • The doctor says there's nothing he can do to help her, and BTW there are a lot of nasty little rumors floating around.
  • It sounds like Lady Macbeth probably needs help from a priest, not a doctor.

Macbeth Act 5, Scene 1 Study Group

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