Macbeth Quotes

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”(The Witches) foreshadowing, setting the mood of the supernatural
“Let not light see my black and deep desires.”(Macbeth) After Duncan announces that he will name his son Malcolm the next king, Macbeth hopes his disappointment doesn’t show. He must find a way to prevent Malcolm from becoming king.
“Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full of the milk of human kindness.”(Lady Macbeth) She fears that Macbeth is too kind to go through with killing Duncan.
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.”(Lady Macbeth) This is just before King Duncan’s arrival at their castle. Macbeth’s wife wants him to act nice to Duncan’s face, and hide his evil intentions.
“Come, you spiritsThat tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,And fill me from the crown to the toe top-fullOf direst cruelty!”(Lady Macbeth) calling on the spirits to take away her feminine, weakness and fill her with evil because she wants Duncan dead.
“But screw your courage to the sticking-place,And we’ll not fail.”(Lady Macbeth) before they kill Duncan, she is reassuring Macbeth that everything will work out if he fixes his courage firmly in place.
“False face must hide what false heart doth know.”(Macbeth) He has decided he will go along with Lady Macbeth’s plan to kill Duncan. Telling himself that he must put on a false pleasant face to hide his false, evil heart.
“Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done’t.” (Lady Macbeth, referring to Duncan) She would’ve killed Duncan herself but as he was sleeping he looked like her father.
“What hands are here? Ha: they pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”(Macbeth) looking at his hands after he has just killed Duncan. He wonders if all of the water in the ocean could wash the blood off his hands.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me,The handle toward my hand?”(Macbeth) Hallucinating that he sees a dagger before he kills Duncan.
“Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, As the weird women promised, and I fear Thou play’dst most foully for’t.”(Banquo, referring to Macbeth) meaning: well now you have everything that you were promised by the witches. I just fear that you did something bad to get it.
“He’s here in double trust. First, as I am his kinsman and his subject… then, as his host.”(Macbeth, referring to King Duncan) Listing reasons why he shouldn’t kill Duncan. Duncan trusts Macbeth for two reasons: he is his kinsman/subject, and his host.
“A little water clears us of this deed.”(Lady Macbeth) After killing Duncan, she tells Macbeth that all they have to do is wash their hands and they will be cleared of their sin.
“But wherefore could I not pronounce ‘Amen’? I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat.”(Macbeth) He has done something so unholy that he can no longer observe the traditions of religion
“These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad”(Lady Macbeth) Foreshadows what is going to come later in the play. Lady Macbeth naively thinks that not thinking of the deeds will stop them from feeling guilty.
“‘Tis unnatural,Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last a falcon towering in her pride of place was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed”(Old Man) The Old Man observes that unnatural things happened the night of Duncan’s death. Macbeth has ruined the natural order and this is reflected in the environment.
“Thou canst not say I did it: never shake thy gory locks at me” [Macbeth, to Banquo’s ghost] We begin to see the beginning of Macbeth’s guilt playing with his mind. He imagines Banquo’s ghost after he has had him killed.
“…I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more” returning were as tedious as go o’er”(Macbeth) Macbeth knows that he has gone too far but knows it will be harder to go back to the way he was.
“Out, damned spot! out, I say!”(Lady Macbeth) Shows her guilt over the killings. She washed her hands clean in the real world but she cannot escape the guilt at night.
When was Macbeth written? 1606
King James I was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting company. What does that mean? He gave financial support to the company
Why was Shakespeare inspired by the Gunpowder Plot of 1604? The Gunpowder plot attempted to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament. Shakespeare uses his play to warn his audience of the consequences of overthrowing the monarchy and disturbing the divine right/chain of being.
Names two ways in which Shakespeare was trying to impress King James I 1. King James I believed he was descended from Banquo. This is why Banquo is painted in a very positive, brave and loyal way.2. Shakespeare knew King James I was fascinated with superstitions and witches.
What is the ‘chain of being’? A hierarchy of people’s places in society.
Who was at the top of the ‘chain of being’? God
What was believed to happen if the ‘chain of being’ was disrupted? Chaos!
Why were people in the Elizabethan era fascinated with witches? Witches were a way of explaining why the unexpected happened