Macbeth: Aftermath Dialogue

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In the aftermath dialogue between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, Shakespeare uses contrast to show how the two differ in their reactions towards the murder of King Duncan. Following the murder, Macbeth is distraught. Right away, he shows distress by describing his bloody hands as a “sorry sight”. When he thinks about taking the dagger back to the King’s chamber, he says, “I’ll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on’t again I dare not.” He’s so filled with guilt that he can’t stand to look at Duncan whom he’d murdered. At this point in the dialogue, Macbeth is showing signs of cowardice. Unlike, is wife, Macbeth doesn’t have it in him to commit coldhearted murder. He’s so frazzled by the murder that every sound “appalls” him. Macbeth also tries to detach himself from his body. He says, “What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out my eyes!” He wants to create distance between himself and the horrid crime he committed. He almost can’t believe his eyes. The question about who the bloody hands belong to is also somewhat ironic. They obviously belong to its beholder, Macbeth, who unquestionably committed murder a scene prior. Finally, Macbeth says, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.” This further shows how he is unable to handle murder because guilt is eating him up. The fact that he thinks his hands have the ability to turn an entire ocean red is a hyperbole that shows how greatly he views the murder as a horrible deed. Lady Macbeth on the other hand is unfazed by the murder. Throughout the dialogue she views Macbeth’s guilt as a sign of cowardice and counters the cowardly claim he makes. When he calls his hands a “sorry sight” she refutes him by saying “foolish thought.” Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth want to forget the murder for different reasons. Macbeth wants to forget it because the guilt is eating him up while Lady Macbeth...
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