Macbeth Key Quotes

“fair is foul and foul is fair” (3 witches – Act 1, Scene 1) The witches believe that being fair to people is foul and being foul to people is fair
“but screw your courage to the sticking-place, And we’ll not fail” (Lady Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 7) Lady Macbeth is pushing Macbeth and building his confidence up to ensure that he doesn’t fail
“yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness” (Lady Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 5) She worries that Macbeth is too kind a person to go ahead with the murder of King Duncan
“will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?” (Macbeth – Act 2, Scene 2) Macbeth is talking to himself as he starts to feel guilt ridden over the murder of King Duncan
“we will proceed no further in this business” (Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 7) Macbeth is having second thoughts about going ahead with the murder especially as he has no reason to kill him so decides to opt out
“upon my head they placed a fruitless crown” (Macbeth – Act 3, Scene 1) His ‘crown’ is ‘fruitless’ as he has no one to pass his title on to as he has no children, but Banquo can pass it down to his children so this is a sign of Macbeth’s jealousy
“is this a dagger which I see before me, handle towards my hand?” (Macbeth – Act 2, Scene 1) Macbeth is hallucinating and speaking to the dagger and imagining that the dagger is making him kill people
“stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more” (Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 3) Macbeth is speaking to the witches and is curious over what they just told him. (Soon to become Thane of Cawdor, Glamis and King hereafter) and this is the first sign of his burning desire for ambition
“with such prophetic greetings, speak I charge you” (Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 3) Macbeth is curious over the prophecies and wishes to know more. This is another sign of his need to be ambitious
“I am in blood stepp’d in so far, that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” (Macbeth – Act 3, Scene 4) Macbeth has killed so many people and committed so many crimes he believes there is no turning back and there will be no forgiveness for him. It’s a metaphor as he isn’t actually wading in blood but feels as though he is because of all the murders
“I g’in to be aweary of the sun” (Macbeth – Act 5, Scene 5) This is Macbeth’s death wish as he is ‘tired of living’ and doesn’t want to live anymore
“stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires” (Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 4) Macbeth feels that stars hide all of your light so that your deep desires and wishes within him cannot be revealed
“look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under ‘t” (Lady Macbeth – Act 1, Scene 5) Lady Macbeth is telling Macbeth that to be able to kill Duncan he needs to look very sweet and innocent but in fact be the snake hidden away that no one sees or expects

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