Macbeth Quotes, Macbeth – General use quotes and explanations.

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.Hover through the fog and filthy air.” ~ witches said it- 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 (referring to 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 (speaking to 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.” (referring to Duncan) ~ Lady Macbeth- 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 fearThou 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.
“O valiant cousin. Worthy gentleman!” Duncan about Macbeth. His importance is shown as he is being hailed by the king as a hero..
“Lesser than Macbeth and greater” Witch 1 to Banquo Perhaps hints that despite that Macbeth will become King, he would be traitorous and evil where banquo would be loyal and good.
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me” Macbeth Ironic as at first he believes that luck will make him King but later in the play he takes the matter into his own hands.
“He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.” Duncan to Malcolm (talking about the previous Thane of Cawdor) Ironic as he then builds trust on Macbeth who betrays him as well
“The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step on which I must fall down or else oer’leap.” Macbeth –Already Macbeth’s devious nature is beginning to show as he decides he must deal with both Duncan and his son.
“Yet I do fear thy nature: It is too full o’th’milk of human kindness.” Lady Macbeth — Lady Macbeth recognises her husbands weakness and considers him unable to complete the task.
“look like th’innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” Lady Macbeth to Macbeth She is telling her husband to pretend to be nice and trustworthy and hide his dark ambitions.
“Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’other” – Macbeth — Macbeth compares his ambition to a racing horse which jumps over a hurdle and falls on the other side. Shows that Macbeth is aware of the consequences.
“Or art thou but a dagger of the mind” Macbeth — Macbeth imagines a dagger in front of him and realises it could be a visual representation of his guilt.
“A little water clears us of this deed” Lady Macbeth — She believes that by washing the blood off their hands they are clear of the murder.
“Thou hast it now… king, Cawdow, Glamis, all. As the weird women promsied, and I fear thou played’st most foully for’t” Banquo. Banquo realises that the prophecy has come true and worries that Macbeth has committed horrible deeds to make it this way.
“I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” Macbeth– Macbeth realises that he has killed so many that it would be easier to keep going than to stop and give up. Shows him giving in to his grim intentions