Macbeth Quotes: Act II & III

Had he not resembledMy father as he slept, I had done’t. Speaker: MacbethSituation: While Macbeth is murdering DuncanFigurative Language: Lady Macbeth could have killed him if he hadn’t looked like her father. Significance: Although Lady Macbeth has asked evil spirits to take away her feminine qualities, she reveals here a softer, more feminine, side to her nature. Notice it’s a soliloquy. When Macbeth begins to weaken, she is strong and resolute.
Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!Macbeth does murder sleep” — the innocent sleep,Sleep that knits up the raveled leave of care,The death of each days’s life, sore labor’s bath,Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,Chief nourisher in life’s feast–What do you mean?/ Still it cried “Sleep no more!” to all the house:”Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore CawdorShall sleep no more:Macbeth shall sleep no more.” Speaker: MacbethSituation: Immediately after the murderParaphrase: – Sleep- innocent (open to those in state of innocence); 35- Sleep repairs the tangled threads of our sleeves (our cares) that we damage during our waking hours; 36- Sleep ends they day- it’s the death of life during the day; 37- Sleep is the restorative and comfort after the hard labor of the day; 37- Sleep is what soothes or heals our troubled minds; 38- Sleep- the main course of life (as if life were a meal with several courses); 39- Glamis is an identity Macbeth as presumable had for a while. His ancestral title has done this deed that has taken away his innocence so that now he will have no sleep as he takes on this new title as Thane of Cawdor. What he already was has murdered any hope of piece in his new role.Significance: Here, Shakespeare gives us a famous description of sleep, as he as Macbeth recount the voices he heard after killing Duncan which say he will never sleep again- a prophecy that may have been true.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from a hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red. Speaker: MacbethSituation: Immediately after the murder as Lady Macbeth returns the daggersParaphrase: Can I ever be clear of the blood of this murder? No. If I attempt to was the blood off, all the water of the world would turn to blood. Significance: This reveals that Macbeth obviously feels deep remorse for what he has done.
A little water clears us of this deed:How easy is it then! Speaker: Lady MacbethSituation: to Macbeth after she has returned the daggers and descends the steps with bloody handsParaphrase: Notice the difference in her reaction and her husband’s. All we need to do is wash our hands, and no one will be able to blame us.Significance: Her attitude seems to practical, so matter-of-fact.
Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant There’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but yours. Renown and grace is dead, The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. Speaker: MacbethSituation: Duncan’s murder has been discoveredLiteral Meaning: If I died before the death of my great king, I would have thought of my life as a great one, but now that our king is dead, the best of life is gone.Ironic Meaning: These words apply particularly to Macbeth. Although, at this point, the nobles do not know it. If Macbeth had died before he killed Duncan, presumably, he would have lived a relatively innocent life and not be damned to hell. Now that he is damned- what matters in life? All goodness has become impossible for him, and all that’s left of his life is like the sludge at the bottom of a bottle of red wine. Worthless.
Where we areThere’s daggers in men’s smiles; the near in blood,The nearer bloody. Speaker: Donalbain (Duncan’s other son; Malcolm’s brother)Situation: Right after Duncan’s murderParaphrase: The closer we are in relation to Duncan, the closer we become to becoming bloody ourselves. Figurative Language: Daggers= dangers
Thou has it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, allAs the weird women promised, and i fearThou plaid’s most foully for ‘t. Speaker: BanquoSituation: Soon after Macbeth has become kingSignificance: This soliloquy shows the audience that Banquo has suspicions about who Macbeth has become king.
Fail not our feast. Speaker: MacbethSituation: To Banquo soon after becoming kingLiteral Meaning: Macbeth is reminding Banquo of his expected presence at Macbeth’s first state banquet.Ironic Meaning: Macbeth will try to prevent Banquo’s attendance, and Banquo will attend anyway.
To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus- Speaker: Macbeth (soliloquy)Situation: Soon after Macbeth becomes kingParaphrase: Significance:
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crownAnd put a barren scepter in my gripe, Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,No son of mine succeeding. If ‘t be so,For Banquo’s issue have I filled my mind;For them the gracious Duncan have i murdered;Put rancors in the vessel of my peaceOnly for them, and mine eternal jewelGiven to the common enemy of man,To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings!Rather than so, come, fate, into the list,And champion me to th’ utterance! Speaker: Situation: Paraphrase: Significance:
Nought’s had, all’s spent,Where our desire is got without content:’Tis safer to be that which we destroyThan by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. Speaker: Situation: Paraphrase: Significance:
We have scotched the snake, not killed it:She’ll close and be herself, whilst our poor maliceRemains in danger of her former tooth. Speaker: MacbethSituation: Talking to Lady Macbeth soon after becoming kingParaphrase: We have injured the snake not destroyed it. It will heal, and we will continue to be in danger because of it.Significance: Here Shakespeare makes use of the idea that if you injure a poisonous snake, you better kill it, or you may be in even worse danger than before. Ironically, the snake stands for the enemies of Macbeth, which are the forces of good (Malcolm, Donalbane, MacDuff, etc.)
Come, seeing night,Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,And with thy bloody and invisible handCancel and tear to pieces that great bondWhich keeps me play! Light Thickens, and the crow Makes wing to th’ rooky wood.Good things of day begin to droop and rose,Thou marvel’s at my words: but hold thee still; Things bad begun make strong themselves by Ill: Speaker: MacbethSituation: To Lady Macbeth soon after becoming kingParaphrase: Macbeth asks for eye-closing night to come and blindfold the sun that might take pity on Banquo. The word “seeing” refers the sewing a falcon’s eyes shut as part of their training. Let the night with tis el (“a bloody and invisible hand”) destroy Banquo’s lease on life. It’s getting dark and het back birds return to the forest. All that is good will be tired and sleep, but he evil things of the night will begin rise up and go after their victims. you are shocked at what i say, but remain quiet. things that start in an evil way become stronger by more evil.Significance:
It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood. Speaker: MacbethSituation: after the banquet to Lady MacbethParaphrase: Significance:
I am in bloodStepped in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er. Speaker: Situation: after the banquet to lady MacbethParaphrase: Macbeth is in the middle of a river of blood. Whichever way he goes he will be as deeply in blood. If he confesses, he and his wife would certainly be executed. This sense of fatalism and depression, being unable to extricate himself from his sins, ads a somber tone to the rest of the play,Significance: