English Literature Macbeth Quotes – Lady Macbeth

Act 1, scene 5″Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty; … Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall.” – Embraces the supernatural and asks the spirits to take away her womanly nature preventing her from carrying out her vile purpose and fill her with cruelty.- a desire to give up something feminine nurturing (mother’s milk) for something destructive and acidic (gall). – renouncing not only womanhood but humanity altogether—as if she desires to be a supernatural entity like the witches.
Act 1, scene 5″Look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under it.” – She recommends Macbeth act secretively and strike out violently. – She contrasts a passive image of “innocent flower” with the active corruption of “the serpent,” much like the witches mixed up “fair” and “foul” in the tragedy’s opening scene. – Referencing a serpent is also an allusion to the Biblical scene in the Garden of Eden.
Act 1, scene 7″How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this.” – Lady Macbeth says she would have pulled away her breastfeeding child and smashed its brains out if she had said she would do something as great as killing Duncan and not go through with it.
Act 1, scene 7″But screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail.” – When Macbeth wonders whether they will actually succeed, she argues that with sufficient fortitude they will certainly triumph. – Macbeth attributes success to the whims of fates and prophecies.- Lady Macbeth believes that humans themselves can select their own destiny. Sufficient bravery will ensure success regardless of any external influence.
Act 2, scene 2″A little water clears us of this deed” – Water washes off the blood but later Lady Macbeth goes mad trying to wash off the guilt of killing Duncan.
Act 3, scene 2″Nought’s had, all’s spent Where our desire is got without content.” – She continues to be dissatisfied with her existence. – Sharp change in Lady Macbeth’s disposition. She believed completely that ambition (and the murder of Duncan) would generate positive results, here she concludes just the opposite. – Metaphorical—because Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have in fact achieved their goal of becoming king and queen—to refer to their contentment and emotional stability.
Act 5, scene 1″Out, damned spot! out, I say!””All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” – trying to wash out hallucinated blood, shows that guilt has crippled Lady Macbeth and disrupted her ability to live a normal life.- She acknowledges that she is going to hell.- ironic reference to Act 2, Scene 2- “A little water clears us of this deed”

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