Macbeth Key Quotes

“Yet do i fear thy nature, It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way” – Lady Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 5) LM says this after reading Macbeths’s letter about the witches prophecy. She fears that Macbeth is of too good a nature, to take the shortest route to the crown
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” – Lady Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 5) Here LM is trying to convince her husband to pretend like the perfect host when King Duncan comes to visit, to hide that they are planning to murder Duncan
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”- the witches (Act 1, Scene 1) This quote sets the tone of the play. This line is one of the most important in the play as it can be considered closest to describing the theme of the play
“To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself” – Macbeth (Act 2, Scene 2) This famous quote is said in the scene where Macbeth returns after killing Duncan. This quote reflects that although Macbeth chooses his ambition by unethical means, he is aware that it is wrong
“Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”- Lady Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 1) This line is from the famous sleepwalking scene after which LM commits suicide off-stage. It implies that LM is guilt-ridden and traumatised from killing Duncan and cannot deal with it any more.
MACBETH”Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still” In this quote, as a reader we are first able to see Macbeth’s mental state start to deteriorate. It is here that Macbeth first hallucinates, showing his mental state getting worse and Macbeth’s guilt over Duncan’s murder.
MACBETH”O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” This quote is Macbeth speaking directly to Banquo, however it is also indirectly to the fact that Macbeth’s mind is poisoned. This admittance by Macbeth supports the fact that he is going insane.
MACBETH “The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!” Macbeth is curing the messenger who is telling him that Birnam wood is coming towards the castle. According to Macbeth, this is impossible and Macbeth’s mind is unable to consider this a possibility.
MACBETH”Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.” This quote shows that Macbeth recognizes the fact that he is not of sound mind. It is the only time where Macbeth seems to accept what has happened and his insanity is what has led to this moment.
MACBETH “Saw you the weird sisters?” Here, Macbeth is asking Lennox is he saw the witches. Lennox tells Macbeth that he had not. This makes the reader question the mental stability of Macbeth, as he is clearly seeing things.
LADY MACBETH”Yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way.” This line is read after she reads a letter from her husband informing her of the prophecy of the witches which say that Macbeth would be King. LM is extremely happy with the news but fears that Macbeth is too ‘full of the milk of human kindness’
LADY MACBETH”Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. “ This line is from the famous sleepwalking scene after which Lady Macbeth commits suicide off-stage. Knowing that she was the prime force that led Macbeth to this murderous path, her guilt dominates her thoughts and she is unable to turn away from what she now considers sins.
LADY MACBETH”Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done, is done.” Lady Macbeth says these lines to her husband in an effort to make him get over the guilt and fear he is experiencing due to the murder he has committed.
LADY MACBETH”Naught’s had, all’s spent, Where our desire is got without content. ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” Here, the audience realizes for the first time that Lady Macbeth is beginning to change. Killing Duncan and making Macbeth king has done nothing to bring her the joy she wished for. She also feels their position is unstable, remarking that they dwell only
LADY MACBETH”Out, damned spot! Out, I say!-One, two” Lady Macbeth speaks these words as she sleepwalks in Act 5, observed by a doctor and a gentlewoman. As she speaks this quotation, she is making motions as if she is washing her hand.
WITCHES”When shall we three meet again? / In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” The first witch says this in the very first scene of Macbeth. The witches were arranging where to meet Macbeth
WITCHES”All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!” When the witches first meet Macbeth and Banquo, and tell Macbeth his prophecies. One being that Macbeth will soon be king.
WITCHES”Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is one of the most well-known quotes in Macbeth. It is said by the witches in Act 1 Scene 1.
DESCRIBES WITCHES”How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!” This quote is used to describe the witches by Macbeth when he first meets the witches. Macbeth doesn’t like the appearance of the witches upon meeting them.
DESCRIBES WITCHES”So wither’d and so wild in their attire, That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth, And yet are on’t? Live you? or are you aught. That man may question? You seem to understand me, By each at once her choppy finger laying. Upon her skinny lips: you should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret” When Banquo first sets eyes on the witches he questions their appearance. As well as this Banquo appears to be confused as to the gender of the witches, you can see this as he questions why they have beards.
BANQUO”So withered and wild in their attire, that look not like th’inhabitants o’th’earth” Banquo is the first to question the witches and describe their appearance. As a reader, we get the impression that Banquo is very sceptical and concerned at what the witches intentions maybe.
BANQUO”I dreamed last night of the three weird sisters” I can infer from this that Banquo has been tempted by the prophecy made to him. By dreaming about the witches, it shows that they are “O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge – O slave!” Thus is the last line Banquo says before he’s murdered. It suggests that Banquo is more concerned about his son’s life than his own.
BANQUO”And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss. Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst” In Act 3 Scene 4, Banquo’s ghost appears to haunt Macbeth because he sent murderers to kill him. This is a big part in the story arch as it makes Macbeth go crazy
BANQUO”I pray you speak not; he grows worse and worse” Here Lady Macbeth becomes worried about Macbeths well-being. During the dinner Macbeth could see Banquo’s ghost, however Lady Macbeth couldn’t, she believe the death of his best friend and king is finally affecting him.
“O horror! Horror! Horror! Tongue nor heart cannot conceive, nor name thee” Here Macduff has walked into King Duncan’s room to wake him early, as he had asked him previously. To his surprise Macduff finds the King dead in his room.
“I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth, Or else my sword with an unbuttered edge I sheathe again undeeded” Macduff and Macbeth are now both on the battle field and Macduff only wants to fight Macbeth. He says that he doesn’t care about fighting any other soldiers, only Macbeth. If he doesn’t fight Macbeth he will put away his sword unused.
“My voice is in my sword” Macduff prefers to let his sword do the talking; he simply wants to fight Macbeth not talk to him about it. This shows that Macduff is strong and not afraid of anything.
“I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet” Here Macbeth states he would rather fight and die than live and be humiliated. This marks the point where Macduff kills Macbeth.
“The time is free. I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl, That speak my salutation in their minds; Whose voices I desire aloud with mine” Macduff has just walked on stage holding Macbeth’s head, and here he is making a speech about how that they are now all free of Macbeth. Also he believes that everyone will be just as pleased as he is.
THEMEBlood/ murder/ violence – Duncan’s and Banquo’s death “It is concluded. Banquo, thy souis flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight” (Act 3, Scene 1)
THEMETime – Duncan’s murder “If th’assassination Could trammel up the consequence and catch With his surcease, success, that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end -all”
THEMEFate and Freewill – Macbeth “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (Act 1, Scene 3)
THEMENatural vs unnatural/ versions of reality – witches and humans “So withered and so wild in their attire, That look not like th’inhabitants o’th’earth” (Act 1, Scene 3)
THEMEAmbition and power – Macbeth “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition” (Act 1, Scene 7)
THEMESupernatural – Witches “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (Act 1, Scene 1)
THEMEHusband and wife – Macbeth and Lady Macbeth “My dearest love” (Act 1, Scene 5)
THEMESuperstition -Witches “Lesser than Macbeth, and not greater. Not so happy, yet much happier” (Act 1, Scene 3)