Macbeth – 20 key quotes

Fair is foul, and foul is fair The main theme of the play Macbeth. It means good is evil and evil is good.
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter! One of the most important quotes because it tells Macbeth that he will become a Lord and then King – this is perhaps what leads him to do such murderous deeds.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Macbeth is saying that he is sick of living. He realises that all of his past actions have decided his fate (which, in his case, will be an early death).
The king comes here tonight. This quote is important because after saying this, the king has his fate decided – tonight he will die.
O, never shall sun that morrow see! This quote is said by Lady Macbeth and she is meaning that King Duncan won’t see the sun of tomorrow.
Look like th’ innocent flower,But be the serpent under ‘t. Macbeth is told to look and act like he’s innocent but actually be sly and mischievous ‘underneath’.
Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly and shall continue our graces towards him. This quote is said by King Duncan and when he says ‘host’ he is referring to Macbeth. This quote is significant because it shows the trust King Duncan has in Macbeth.
We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late, and I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon. This quote which is mentioned by Macbeth, he is honored by the way the King trusts him and doesn’t want the plan to go on. The plan is to assassinate King Duncan so he becomes King.
I am settled, and bend upEach corporal agent to this terrible feat. This quote, said by Macbeth, indicates that he has finally decided that he will do anything to kill Duncan.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? come, let me clutch thee. This is said by Macbeth, when he is going to kill Duncan. Just before he gets to the bedroom, he sees a hallucination of a dagger in front of him, with its handle pointing towards Macbeth’s hand.
Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe topful of direst cruelty! This is said by Lady Macbeth, who is wishing that ghosts would strip her of her femininity (emotions) so she can do evil things – in this case, encourage Macbeth to kill King Duncan.
I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell. Macbeth is saying that the castle bell summons him to kill Duncan (who will then go to Hell or Heaven).
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold. What hath quenched them hath given me fire. This is uttered by Lady Macbeth who is referring to the alcohol drunk at the feast – it has quenched the thirst of the guards, but has fired up her deadly ambition.
Had he not resembledMy father as he slept, I had done ‘t. Lady Macbeth is saying that if Duncan did not resemble her father then she would have murdered him by herself.
(looking at his hands) This is a sorry sight. Macbeth is looking disgustedly at his hands and feeling guilty about murdering the King.
But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” stuck in my throat. Macbeth is saying that when he needed to say ‘Amen’ during a prayer, the word got stuck in his throat because of his guilt.
I’ll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; Look on ‘t again I dare not. Macbeth is saying that he cannot go back to the place where he committed the murder. He can’t even think about what he has done.
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes. 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. Macbeth is saying that he can’t stop looking at his bloody hands. He says that not even the ocean can wash this blood from his hands – instead, his hands will turn the green sea red.
Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst. Macbeth is feeling extremely sorry about what he has done and he wished that Duncan could wake up (bring back to life) with his knocking.
Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessèd time, for from this instant there’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but toys This quote shows that Macbeth is deeply remorseful – he says that he would have had a happy life if he’d died an hour before the murder. He mentions that from now on, nothing is serious and life is just a sick joke.