Macbeth Quotations

“Out, damned spot! out, I say!” (Act V, Scene I) Lady Macbeth says this when she is sleepwalking. She is trying to get the imaginary blood off of her hands. This symbolizes how she is either trying to get rid of the guilt she feels – or – how she is experiencing regret for the terrible things she has done and asked others to do.
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” (Act V, Sc. I) Lady Macbeth says this when she is sleepwalking. She will never be able to rid herself of the guilt she feels and the sins she has committed. She “stinks.”
“When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, When the battle ‘s lost and won.” (Act I, Scene I) The witches say this at the start of the play to indicate that they will find Macbeth when the battle is over.
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.” (Act I, Scene III) This shows that at the start of the play Macbeth is not actively interested in becoming king. If it happens, it happens.
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as ‘t were a careless trifle.” (Act I, Sc. IV) This is how Malcom describes the way that the Thane of Cawdor who betrayed King Duncan seemed to throw away his life as if he did not care.
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” (Act I, Scene V) This is Lady Macbeth’s advice to Macbeth on how he should appear to those that he is plotting against.
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other.” (Act I, Scene VII) Macbeth says this in his soliloquy when he is trying to decide which path to take to become king.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” (Act I, Scene VII) In this scene, Macbeth believes he sees a dagger that leads him to his destiny to kill King Duncan. He is mentally trying to prepare himself to perform the evil deed.
“Out, out, brief candle! 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.” (Act V, Scene V) This is what Macbeth says when he learns that Lady Macbeth is dead, there are 10,000 British soldiers about to attack, and Birnam Woods appears to be moving to Dunsinane Hill. He wonders if all of the evil deeds were worth it, or if it was all just a lot of noise that means nothing.
“There ‘s daggers in men’s smiles.” (Act II, Sc. III) Donalbain says this to Malcom after their father, King Duncan, has been murdered. They fear for their lives because they do not knwo whom they can trust. Donalbain is showing one of the major themes of the play: the idea of appearances versus reality.
“what ‘s done is done” (Act III, Scene II) Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth because he is so preoccupied with the evil he has done. He is also worried about how to hold onto the power he now has. She wants him to forget the past and try to enjoy what he has.
“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.”(Act I, Sc. VII) Macbeth says this when Lady Macbeth insults his manhood by saying that if he were truly a man he would keep his promise and kill King Duncan, as he had promised. This is a turning point because Macbeth is going against what he truly wishes to do.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”(Act I, Scene I) The witches say this in the opening of the play. It is a paradox that can be applied to many instances in the play. Here it refers to the fact that Macbeth has done a foul thing (killed the traitor Macdonwald) because it is fair (Macdonwald and the Thane of Cawdor were not loyal to their king).
“I bear a charmed life.”(Act V, Sc. VIII) Macbeth says this to Macduff right before he learns that Macduff is not of woman born. He believes that he is “charmed” because he has the predictions of the witches to predict him. His saying this shows he is overconfident and unaware of how wrong he is.
“Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” (Act I, Scene V) Lady Macbeth says this because she believes that Macbeth is too concerned with doing what is right and moral over what will give him power and wealth.
“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.” (Act II, Sc. II) Macbeth says this after he has murdered King Duncan. he is horrified with himself and wonders if he can ever rid himself of the guilt.
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” (Act IV, Scene I) The witches say this in Act IV when they are preparing the brew that gives Macbeth his visions.