Captain-“Valour’s minion.”/Ross-“Bellona’s bridegroom.” Before even being introduced as a character, Macbeth is viewed as noble and brave and is seen as many as a loyal servant to the King. He is respected and viewed highly in Scottish society. 1:2
Banquo-“You should be woman, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that so.” Upon meeting with the witches Banquo describes their strange appearance and highlights the unnatural and therefore evil nature of the witches. As the witches are seen as a distortion of nature we can connect them to evil. 1:3:43-45
Third Witch-“All hail Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter” Is the final and most important of the witches prophecies. They tempt Macbeth’s ambition with the idea of becoming king and so can be seen as starting Macbeth’s decline. 1:3:48
Lady Macbeth-“Yet I do fear thy nature; it is too full o’the milk of human kindness.” Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth is too noble and good a man to follow his ambition. She fears that he is too kind and identifies that if they both want to fulfil their ambition, she will have to drive that kindness out of him. 1:5:15-16
Lady Macbeth-“Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the toe topfull of direst cruelty.” Lady Macbeth calls on evil spirits to help her in convincing Macbeth to murder Duncan. Her own willingness to sacrifice her own gentile, tender and womanly qualities to become a sexless, pitiless fiend shows how she is willing to take control of the situation to achieve her ambitions. 1:5:39-42
Macbeth-“He’s here in double trust: first, as I am his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife.” Macbeth is struggling to deal with his conscience is torn between his ambition and morality. He rationally thinks through the reasons why he should not kill Duncan in his soliloquy and because of this decides not to kill him. 1:7:12-14
Macbeth-“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o’er leaps itself” Macbeth, unlike most other tragic heroes, identifies his own flaw. Macbeth’s fatal flaw is his ambition which he identifies in his soliloquy at the start of the key scene and because of this we can feel more sympathy for Macbeth as a character. 1:7:25-27
Macbeth-“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none.” Macbeth has been ruthlessly scorned by Lady Macbeth on backtracking on his decision to murder the King. After being described as a coward by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth argues the valid point that killing the King would make him no more of a man or courageous. After saying this Lady Macbeth then rebukes this point by critising Macbeth’s manhood by describing him as being less of a man. In a society where being manly and powerful his highly desired, Macbeth’s ambition is encouraged and the moment of hamartia occurs. 1:7:46-47
Lady Macbeth-” I would while it was smiling in my face, have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums and dash’s the brains out, had I sworn as you have done to this.” Lady Macbeth scorns Macbeth when he breaks the promise that he will kill the king. She declares that she would rather have murdered her own child rather then change her mind. This proves significant as it demonstrates the ambition of Lady Macbeth by showing how she would do something as vile and damning as brutally murdering her own child. It also helps to persuade Macbeth. 1:7:56-59
Macbeth-“Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more.” Macbeth realises what a terrible crime he has committed and feels haunted by the knowledge that he will never rest easy when he sleeps. He understands that by murdering Duncan, the accompanying guilt has scared his morality and he will never be a good man as long as he feels this guilt. 2:2:45-46
Macbeth-“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” Macbeth reaction after killing Duncan. Macbeth is in shock and in the moments after the first murder Macbeth feels on overwhelming sense of guilt. Blood is a motif used to signify guilt and just as the blood on Macbeth’s hands would be able turn the oceans red, his guilt is endless and massive. 2:2:63-66
Lady Macbeth-“A little water clears us of this deed.” Unlike Macbeth, Lady Macbeth thinks little of the guilt that she shares with her husband. Macbeth’s reaction to the murder was that he could not wash the blood from his hands (symbolising guilt) while, in contrast, Lady Macbeth does not feel this by mention how only a little bit of water will wash away any guilt. She does not understand the moral consequence. 2:2:70
Macbeth-“To be thus is nothing but to be safely thus.” Macbeth is starting to become insecure after the murder of Duncan and this leads him to the decision that in order to maintain his power he must kill Banquo. Unlike with murdering Duncan, Macbeth is not persuaded to murder Banquo by anyone but himself. This demonstrates that Macbeth is now actively following his ambition. 3:1:49-50
Macbeth-“O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Macbeth describes how knowing that Banquo and Fleance are alive troubles him. His mind his now dark and he feels troubled. He is beginning to turn into a much more stereotyped villain how has darker thoughts. In this seen Macbeth also begins to start the isolation from Lady Macbeth by not informing her of his intent to murder Banquo. 3:2:36-37
Macbeth-“I am in blood stepp’d so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Macbeth makes the conscious decision to continue with his descent towards evil and his decline. He justifies this by claiming that the guilt is so great already that he might as well continue. 3:5:136-138
Second Witch-“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.” The witches can now see Macbeth as evil because of what he has done. Shows he has now descended towards evil. 4:1:44-45
Macbeth-“The very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand.” Macbeth has become reckless and impulsive and this is shown through how we brutally decides to destroy Macduff’s castle and murder his family. By following his impulses and acting irrationally we can now see the cruelty in Macbeth’s character. 4:2:145-147
Macduff-“Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself; within my sword’s length set him. If he scape, heaven forgive him too.” Macduff plants the seeds of Macbeth’s destruction. He calls upon the power of heaven (good) to help combat Macbeth. This quote also shows how Macbeth is seen now as a fiend and a tyrant. 4:3:236-238
Lady Macbeth-“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Lady Macbeth is suffering from mental anguish as she struggles unsuccessfully to deal with her own guilt. Linking back to the reactions of the first murder, Lady Macbeth reacted with boldness and strength and felt little guilt, while Macbeth felt extremely guilty. This quote relates to what Macbeth said then about how Neptune’s oceans could not wash away the blood. With time the guilt has grown within Lady Macbeth, she is a shell of her old self and lacks the strength and power she had at the start of the play. 5:1:44-45
Doctor-“Unnatural deed do breed unnatural troubles.” The doctor makes a valuable point about the nature of evil. He highlights what has happened to Lady Macbeth in that by helping Macbeth murder Duncan she has caused problems for herself. 5:1:63-64
Caithness-“Some say he’s mad; others that lesser hate him do call it valiant fury.” Describes how people now view Macbeth, a hated madman. 5:2:13-14
Macbeth-“Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear.” Macbeth is highly self-confident. He has trusted the forces of evil, witches, and uses what the apparitions said to comfort himself and feel invincible. Yet the witches manipulated him. 5:3:2-4
Macbeth-“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth becomes nihilistic and is now isolated from everyone he had previously valued. He cannot feel, he has lost everything and in general Macbeth seems depressed. Ironically in his bid to gain power and through his driving ambition, he has gained nothing.5:5:22-27
Lady Macbeth-“When you durst do it, then you were a man. And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man.” Lady Macbeth argues that by killing the King, Macbeth will be more of a man than he is already. This is particularly powerful an argument as in a society that highly valued manhood and power, Macbeth is convinced into committing the murder. 1:7:49-51