Macbeth Key Quotes


The majority of important and useful quotes from the play Macbeth
Draco Malfoy
Flashcards by Draco Malfoy, updated more than 1 year ago
Draco Malfoy
Created by Draco Malfoy almost 7 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
´Fair is foul and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air´ Witches Good is bad and bad is good, in other words, nothing is as it seems. ´Fog´ and ´filthy´ suggest lack of visibility. Rhyming couplet.
´So foul and fair a day I have not seen´ Macbeth Macbeths first line in the play, which links to the previous words of the withes. Shakespeare is straight away establishing a connection.
"lesser than Macbeth, and greater" "not so happy, yet much happier" "Thou shalt get Kings" Witches to Banquo Banquo is promised a lower title, yet more respect, to be not as joyful, yet more content, and that his ancestors will be Kings
"The Thane of Cawdor lives, why do you dress me in borrowed robes?" Macbeth Begins metaphor for clothes as respect. He is confused as to why he is being presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor, as well as wary, as this is something the witches spoke of, and he doesn't completely trust them
"Glamis and thane of Cawdor, the greatest is behind" Macbeth The majority has already occurred, and because he has been awarded Thane of Cawdor, he believes the witches.
"tis strange, and oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths" Banquo Banquo is telling Macbeth to be careful who he trusts. Banquo understands that things appear may true, so you place your trust in someone who doesn't deserve it, but then you are consequently deceived
'My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical' Macbeth Macbeth is already contemplating the murder of Duncan in order to get what he wants
'There's no art to find the minds construction in the face' King Duncan He admits that he's been let down by the previous Thane of Cawdor, and recognises that he can't always tell what someone is thinking by their facial expressions. This is ironic, because Macbeth appears to be a loyal subject, yet is thinking about murdering Duncan whilst taking to him
'The Prince of Cumberland - That is a step on which I must fall down or else o'erleap' Macbeth This is in reference to Malcolm, the first in line to the Scottish throne. Macbeth is saying that he'll either try mothing and fail or go to great lengths by killing Malcolm
'My dearest partner of greatness' Macbeth Superlative, emphasising his deep love for her above all others, this is in reference to Lady Macbeth. 'Partner,' suggests equality in the relationship.
'Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear' Lady Macbeth This quotation means come here at once, so I can advise you on what to do. She wants to inflict her ill will onto him (by persuading him to kill Duncan). It is also an imperative, perhaps hinting at her dominance in their relationship?
'Unsex me here, and fill me from crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty' Lady Macbeth She's asking not to be affiliated with womanly characteristics of the time, eg nurturing, kind. She instead wants every part of her to be evil. 'Direst' - superlative
"Your face, my thane is a book where men may read strange matters...look like th'innocent flower, but be the serpent under't" Lady Macbeth She's essentially saying that Macbeth gives things away too easily by his facial expressions, he needs to portray innocence. Serpent has negative connotations of being sly, poisonous and dangerous
'Which would be worn now in their newest gloss' Macbeth Developing the metaphor for clothing as respect. He has won good opinions from people and will wear them as though he has been awarded new clothes, which should not be thrown away after one wear
"Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself" Lady Macbeth She's expanding on the metaphor of clothing, using his own metaphor to argue against him. She's asking him if the want of being King of Scotland was short lived
'First, as I am his Kinsman, then as his subject, then as his host...' Macbeth During this speech Macbeth presents 5 good reasons against killing Duncan: He is his kinsman (cousin), & his subject (loyal), & his host (who should protect their guest, not murder them), & Duncan has been good to him ('he hath honoured me of late'), Duncan is a good King ('he hath borne his faculties so meek')
" The poor cat i'th'adage" Lady Macbeth She is referring to a proverb about a cat who wanted a fish, but was afraid of water. She is saying that Macbeth is 'not without ambition' but 'without the illness that should attend it' - He is not willing to go to great lengths to become king, he'd rather become King legally and naturally
"Hear it not Duncan, for it is a knell, that summons thee to heaven or to hell' Macbeth A knell is the name given to the chiming of bells at a funeral. The bell at Macbeths castle is ringing, and Macbeth is hoping that Duncan is not awakened by this, as it is his last hour, and this bell is like the knell, before Duncan proceeds to heaven or hell Also a rhyming couplet, creating a link here to the witches..
"An eagle, standing in her place with pride, was by a mousing owl, hawked at and killed' - Old Man Very unnatural occurrence, that an eagle should be killed my an owl, perhaps symbolic of a king being killed by one of his closest subjects. This shows that Duncan's' murder was unnatural, and since then, the natural world has turned into an uproar of chaos, has turned upside down.
"The very stones beneath me prate my whereabouts" Macbeth First instance of paranoia. Macbeth thinks the floor is being very loud probably with a purpose of giving him away.
'May they be my oracles as well' Banquo Banquo has been present to see the predictions that the three witches made about Macbeth come, true, and he wants all that is promised to him to occur as well
"I fear thou played'st most foully for't" Banquo Banquo suspects foul play on Macbeths part leading to Macbeths coronation. Banquo knows motive, as he witnessed the witches prophesise great things for Macbeth. He suspects Macbeth did not heed his warnings
'The worm that's fled, hath nature that in time will venom breed, no teeth for th'present' Macbeth The 'worm' he's talking about is Fleance, Banquo's son who escaped the murderers. He fears that Fleance with grow to resent Macbeth for his fathers death, and will come back to avenge him, perhaps whilst doing so fulfil prophecies made to Banquo by the witches (by becoming King). But he's too young at the moment 'no teeth for th'present'
'My Lord is often thus, and has been from his youth' Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is trying to put the thanes' minds at ease by suggesting that this is normal behaviour for Macbeth (at the banquet). However, this may strike fear into the hearts of those thanes, by letting them believe that a mentally ill madman is running Scotland
"Do not shake thy gory locks at me" Macbeth This is Macbeth experiencing a more serious episode of paranoia and guilt, as, after he is made aware of Banquo's successful murder, he cannot sit and dine with his subjects, as in his seat he sees Banquo's ghost.
"Macbeth: Beware Macduff, beware the Thane of Fife" Apparition 1 This a warning, that confirms all of Macbeths suspicions about Macduff. He goes on to say, ´From this moment on, may the firstlings of my heart be the firstlings of my hand´he will act on his suspicions as soon as he has them from now on
"None of woman born shall harm Macbeth" Apparition 2 This makes Macbeth think that he is invincible, and gives him false hope whilst going into battle. Little does he know that Macduff was 'untimely ripped' This could be viewed as the witches deceive Macbeth, as he is not told all of the vital information.
"Macbeth shall not be vanquished 'til Great Birnham wood to high Dunsinane hill" Apparition 3 This also helps give Macbeth a false sense of confidence, as it is essentially saying that until the forestry moves to his castle, he shall be undefeated in his endeavours
"Oh, Scotland, Scotland." Macduff This is said hen Macduff had travelled to England to appeal to Malcolm for help. The repetition enforces the fact that he has lost all hope for his country
"Naughts had all spent, where our desire has got without content" Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth is saying that they have stopped at nothing to achieve all that they have got, yet they are not nearly as happy as they once were, or ever wished to be, even with the throne. This is a rhyming couplet, linking back to the witches, perhaps to suggest that their unhappiness is all due to the "three weird sisters"
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