What’s Done is Done (L40)

Is Lady Macbeth right in saying “what’s done is done”?

Depending what walk of life one has traveled, this question could be taken many different ways; in my opinion this can be applied to circumstance in both a physical sense, and an ethical sense. Physically, the facts of the circumstances are that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth together have killed three people. Once they died, they could not have been brought back to life, so literally, and always physically, she is correct in saying “what’s done is done”. However, a large theme in this play is ethics; religion and morals. Macbeth makes multiple remarks on his understanding and knowledge of judgement after life; a continued existence. Once example of this in the play is directly before Macbeth commits murder and he cannot pronounce “Amen”. This signifies him having gone too far to turn back; both literally and ethically, because in his mind this is something he has already committed himself to in every worldly sense. Macbeth also seems distraught in his soliloquy, mostly due to the fact that he has dirtied his soul for nobody other than Banquo’s offspring. This exhibits his understanding of life after death, and proves he has chosen more or less a mortal life of kingly glory for eternal damnation. In this sense, knowing he has done wrong, he can technically still repent, and should he be completely pure, honest, and wholehearted in this repentance, his soul can be saved. Religiously, what’s done, is not done because it’s never too late to change until you’re dead (according to most all doctrine). Lady Macbeth had possibly sealed Macbeth’s fate by beating this term into him so relentlessly. Personally I believe that she did this because she felt she was beyond savior herself and couldn’t bear that burden alone.


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