MACBETH KEY QUOTES AND ANALYSIS

Shows the witches power to change the weather. Pathetic fallacy – they are dangerous “In thunder, lightening or rain?”
Simile – The Thane of Cawdor betrayed the king. He was winning until fortune soon left him “fortune […] Show’d like a rebel’s wh*re”
Ambigiuty – no one can be trusted?? “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”
Metaphor – Macbeth is equal to the female goddess of war “Bellona’s bridegroom […] confronted him with self-comparisons”
Oxymoron – Foreshadows that Macbeth will perhaps Macbeth will use the witches to his advantage. He is going to turn from fair to foul in one day. ” so foul and fair a day I have not seen”
Macbeth starts believing the witches “What, can the devil speak true?”
Thane of Cawdor helps destroy his own country – betrayed them “labour’d in his own country’s wreck”
Banquo warns Macbeth – he believes the witches will betray them, and Macbeth shouldn’t believe them or he will regret it. “The instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, only to betray us in deepest consequence”
Macbeth has conflicted feelings about whether or not he should believe the witches – this is the first sign that he is changing “if ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success”
Metaphor – This is the first time Macbeth considers killing Duncan – his heart is beating unnaturally quickly “Why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image […] make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature?”
Figurative Language – Duncan states how you cannot know what a person is like by their outer image. Foreshadows Macbeth betraying Duncan just like the Thane of Cawdor did at the battle. “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentlemen on whom I built an absolute trust.”
Macbeth now starts to plot against Malcolm, who has been declared the heir to the throne. He states how he either lets Malcolm become king, or he gets rid of him. “This is a step on which I must fall, or else overcome, for it lies in my way”
Personification – Macbeth is trying to hide his ultimate aim, through lies and secrecy. “Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires”
Dramatic Irony – Duncan believes Macbeth to be valiant and good, however the audience knows that Macbeth is actually plotting to murder him. “It is a peerless kinsman” – There are few men as good as him
Personification – Lady Macbeth doubt Macbeth’s courage and believes he doesn’t have the guts to commit such a sinful act, because he has been good-hearted all his life. “Yet I do fear thy nature ; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way”
He doesnt have the evilness to murder someone. She refers to the evilness as an “illness”, reflecting how it hard to get rid of, as well as seen as a bad thing “without the illness should attend it”
Imagery – She wants to control Macbeth, as she believes he cannot do it on his own. Contrasts with the stereotypical image of a submissive Jacobean wife “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear”
Supernatural – Lady Macbeth wants to get rid of her femininity, to make herself more powerful (Women were believed to be weaker and more emotional at heart) “Come you spirits, that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here”
Pathetic fallacy / personification / religious imagery – Reflects how Macbeth was trying to hide his bad deeds. Lady Macbeth also aims to do this. (Religion was a key factor in the Jacobean Era) “Come thick night and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell”
Biblical reference/ metaphor – Macbeth must hide his inner darkness – links to the snake in the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t”
Duncan talk about how Macbeth’s castle is heaven-like. This foreshadows how Duncan is about to die and go to heaven (Kings were seen as chosen by God, so Duncan was divinely chosen and will therefore go to heaven) “…the heaven’s breath Smells wooingly here”
Macbeth has now realised how he should be protecting Duncan, as his relative, subject and host “He’s here in double trust […] Not bear the knife myself”
Metaphor – the loud cries of the people would drown the sound of the wind — people would be very upset at the death of such a virtuous king.He knows what he is doing is “horrid”, and start doubting his plan “Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind”
Macbeth now scraps the whole plan, after realising how much honour and good opinion Duncan has bought him, and how he should savour it and not cast it aside so soon. “Golden opinions [I will] Not cast it aside so soon”
Lady Macbeth purposefully hurts Macbeth’s pride by calling him a coward. She does this in attempt to manipulate him into doing the deed to prove that he is not a coward, even in his own eyes. “live a coward in thine own esteem”
Lady Macbeth is pushing Macbeth’s ego by explaining how he would be even manlier if he followed through with what he said he would do – kill Duncan. If you killed Duncan “you would be so much more the man”
Shows Lady Macbeth as inhuman, and heart-less ; she would kill her own child while it was smiling in her face — she has no pity. Harsh imagery – reflects LM’s lack of emotion and harshness towards Macbeth “dash’d the brains out”
Shocking to audience. Instead of supporting her husband’s goodness, she is encouraging him to commit a huge sin — goes against the stereotypical personality of a Jacobean woman. “we’ll not fail”
Macbeth is no longer indecisive – he has decided to kill Duncan secretly and blame his drunken guards. “False face must hide what the false heart doth know”
Macbeth is hallucinating – the dagger is a warning of what Macbeth is about to do “Is this a dagger which I see before me?”
Lady Macbeth is selfish. She would feel guilty if she murdered Duncan, so instead she pushed Macbeth to unwillingly kill Duncan. “Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done’t”
Macbeth feels guilt and sympathy towards Malcolm and Donalbain, who will wake to find their father has been murdered. “This is a sorry sight”
Macbeth’s guilty conscience has awoken. He is now started to lose sanity. “Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”
Macbeth forgot to leave the daggers behind and refuses to go back, so LM compares him to nothing but a cowardly child, who can’t finish off the deed properly and is afraid, when there is nothing to be afraid of. “’tis the eye of childhood That fears a painted devil”
Metaphor for his guilt. Even the God of the ocean cannot wash away his sins. He is forever a sinner in his own eyes. Instead, his hands will make the whole ocean red, because of the innocent blood he has shed. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?””Making the green one red”
Metaphor – she feels disgusted that Macbeth is so weak, that he couldn’t even kill one innocent man “I shame to wear a heart so white”
She feels no remorse at all. Contrasts with Macbeth’s immense guilt. Reinforces her lack of emotion, contrary to the loving character a stereotypical Jacobean woman should have. “A little water clears us of this deed”
Symbolism – Macbeth’s castle is “hell” because of the sins commited by its owners. “porter of hell-gate”
Oxymoron – Reflects Macbeth’s duality. He pretends to be a “worthy thane” while he is actually a sinful murderer.The joy overcomes the pain of having Duncan here “The labour we delight in physics pain”
Pathetic fallacy – The night was the worst it has ever been according to Lennox – foreshadows Duncan’s death (It was one of the worst sins to kill a chosen King) “The night has been unruly” “My young remembrance can not parallel it”
Repetition/exaggeration – exaggerates how horrified he was. “O horror, horror, horror!”
Duncan was like a Lord, because he was God’s appointed king. God is now troubled due to his death “Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope the Lord’s anointed temple”
The sight is so awful that you would freeze in horror of what you see “destroy your sight With a new Gorgon” (Gorgon – female who can turn a person to stone e.g.Medusa)
Ironic – a stereotypical woman was seen as weak and unable to handle the news of a death “The repetition, in a woman’s ear, Would murder as it fell”
Metaphor – No one can be trusted here “There’s daggers in men’s smiles”
It is easy to show sorrow you dont feel if you are a liar – Macbeth shows the most sorrow, and therefore he cannot be trusted, because who can be more sorrowful than Duncan’s own sons “To show an unfelt sorrow is an office Which the false man does easy”
Our relatives are most likely to kill us – Donalbain and Malcolm trust no one here so they flee to England and Ireland, as they become afraid someone may murder them too for the crown. “the near in blood, the nearer bloody”
Supernatural things are happening – witches have gotten what they wanted?? Duncan’s horses “Turn’d wild in nature” and ate each other”A falcon […] was by a mousing owl haw’d and kill’d”
Foreshadows how Madfudd will turn bad to good (Macbeth) and make friends with enemies (Malcolm and Donalbain) “those That would make good of bad, and friends of foes” – Old Man
Banquo grows suspicious towards Macbeth and, being a good friend, knows Macbeth very well as well as knowing about the prophecies. “I fear, Thou play’dst most foully for’t”
Alliteration/ Oxymoron – sad celebration of Macbeth becoming king. The “s” symbolises the secrecy and sneakiness of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth “solemn supper”
Metaphor – Macbeth’s crown is useless because, eventually it would be passed down to Banquo’s sons because Macbeth doesn’t have a son himself. “fruitless” – worthless. “barren” -lifeless because he can’t pass it down”wrenched” (verb) – Macbeth is unwilling to give the crown to Banquo’s son. “fruitless crown”, “barren sceptre”, “to be wrenched by an unlineal hand”
Metaphor – “eternal jewel” refers to his purity and goodness which he sold to the devil. He regrets killing Duncan if, eventually, Banquo’s sons will become king – Macbeth is becoming selfish, to even hate his own best friend and his son. “mine eternal jewel Given to the common enemy of man, To make them kings”
Macbeth has manipulated two murderers to believe Banquo is their enemy and has ruined their fates. He asks them to murder Banquo and make sure to leave no trail of their work behind. Macbeth has become cunning and lost all humanity he previously had. “Both of you, Know Banquo was your enemy””leave no rubs or botches in the work”
LM is starting to feel uneasy about all the murders Macbeth is carrying out. She wants him to stop, or they will live in constant fear or getting caught for their sins. Oxymoron “doubtful joy” – LM feels uneasy, despite having everything she could ever dream of. “Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy”
Metaphor & Symbolism – They have injured the “enemy”, but not killed it yet. Snakes are known to regrow despite an injury – Macbeth believes his sins may be found by Banquo, despite getting rid of Duncan. “We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it”
Reflect what Lady Macbeth said that it is better to die that live in “doubtful joy”. To get rid of the “restless ecstasy” he plans on getting rid of Banquo. “better be with the dead […] Than on the torture of the mind to lie In restless ecstasy”
Metaphor – His mind is now corrupted with negative thought that bite at the little goodness left in him “full of scorpions is my mind”
At night, bad things come out – murders are done at night, foreshadows the murder to come, and reflects Duncan’s murder which was also done during the night “night’s black agents to their preys do rouse”
Bad things make themselves stronger by doing more bad things – He is trying to convince himself that this murder will make him an even stronger king/man – hints at lack of self-confidence and trust because he can’t even live with something that MAY possibly come in his way. He is scared, so he just gets rid of it “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill”
Metaphor – Macbeth sees Fleance as a snake with no teeth, but will eventually produce venom against Macbeth. He sees him as a potential threat in the future. Macbeth becomes afraid once again at the threat Fleance poses to him “the grown serpent lies ; the worm that’s fled […] will venom breed, No teeth for the present”
[To Banquo] Macbeht is hallucinating. He sees Banquo shaking his head in disappointed, and refuses to have done anything to him “never shake thy gory locks at me”
LM is ashamed that Macbeth is so frightened by something that isn’t even there. She referes to a “woman’s story” to show how weak Macbeth is to get scared of something only a woman would be scared of – calling him unmanly “A woman’s story at a winter fire”
Supernatural – Macbeth is shaken. He is afraid of Banquo and shouts at his ghost to comfort himself, and convince himself he has done nothing wrong. “A vaunt! and quit my sight!””Thou hast no speculation in those eyes Which thou dost glare with!”
Macbeth is only afraid of seeing Banquo’s face. He is unafraid of everything, except for having to face the consequences and guilt of his actions “Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves Shall never tremble”
Macbeth admires LM’s ability to remain calm and witness the ghost without being afraid, while Macbeth is trembling with fear. He is “blanched” (covered/immersed) in fear “you can behold such sights, And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, When mine is blanched with fear”
“Acheron” – the river of woe that needs to be passed in order to enter Hell. – Foreshadows that Macbeth is about to die and go to hell “at the pit of Acheron Meet me i’ the morning” – HECATE
Hecate states how confidence is a danger to mankind – hints that she will make Macbeth overconfident, only to “betray him in deepest consequence” “And you all know, security is mortals’ chiefest enemy”
Lennox turns againt Macbeth after hearing about Macduff and Malcolm, who are willing to fight Macbeth, along with the King of England.He believes Scotland is “accursed” by Macbeth. “return to this our suffering country Under a hand accursed”
Ironic- The witches, who are wicked themselves, refer to Macbeth as being wicked. This exaggerated how wicked Macbeth has become, that even the witches consider him wicked. “Something wicked this way comes” – WITCHES
FIRST APPARITION – warns Macbeth to be aware of Macduff and his plans “Beware Macduff!”
SECOND APPARITION – Macbeth feels assured that no man can harm him, because everyone is born by a woman “None of woman born Shall harm Macbeth”
THIRD APPARITION – Macbeth is once again assured that he won’t be killed, because there is no way the woods can move. “Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him”
Macbeth sees Eight Kings, all descended from Banquo. He realises the witches cannot be trusted, and “damn’d all those that trust them!” “tis true; For the blood bolter’d Banquo smiles upon me. And points at them for his”
Macbeth plans to kill Macduff’s whole family and anyone related to him. “give to the edge o’ the sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line”
Lady Macduff believes Macduff fled out of fear, and does not love his family, so he left them in Scotland to die. “All is the fear and nothing is the love”
Malcolm tests Macduff’s loyalty by suggesting that Macduff might sacrifice Malcolm in order to please Macbeth. Symbolism — Malcolm is a “poor innocent lamb”, while Macbeth is the “angry god” “To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb To appease an angry god”
Biblical reference to Satan. The best angel fell to greed and temptation, in the same way Macbeth, the most loyal soldier, also fell to greed and temptation “Angels are still bright even tho the brightest angel fell”
Malcolm is testing Macduff again. He describes all the bad qualities of a king such as lust fullness, greed, and hellish behaviour to turn good to bad and cause chaos in order to see if Macduff truly feels he is still fit to govern a country Malcolm describes his “voluptuousness” as irresistable, and describes himself as “avarice” and how as a king, he would “uproar the universal peace”
Macduff has wiped all of Malcolm’s doubt and is now deemed as trustworthy “blaspheme his breed” – Malcolm is dishonouring his own family”Macduff, this noble passion[…] Wiped the black scruples”
Macduff’f family have been killed mercilessly. He now regrets leaving Scotland, because he left those most important to him to die – Blames himself. “most precious””Sinful Macduff! They were all struck for thee”
Malcolm encourages Macduff to use his sadness to channel his anger to help him fight Macbeth, who killed his whole family. “let grief Convert to anger”
Metaphor – Contrasts with what she said earlier on (“a little water clears us of this deed”)LM now feels guilty, and is losing her sanity – she is sleep-walking “Here’s the smell of blood still””all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand”
She is doing unnatural things (sleep-walking) because she has done something unnatural (encouraged murder) “unnatural deed Do breed unnatural troubles”
Reference to Malcolm – they support Malcolm and see him as a cure to Scotland’s suffering “Meet we the medicine of this sickly weal”
Short sentence – He now believes it is simple and easy to get rid of the guilt : represents how he has changed since the beginning of the play (“will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”) “Cure her [LM] of that”
The English army are using the branches and bushed from Birnam wood to cover themselves and hide how many men they have. (THIRD APPARITION) “Let every soldier hew him down and bear’t before him”
Macbeth has become and overconfident King, who rules by force “confident tyrant”
Macbeth has now lost all humanity – he feels no sorrow although his wife just died “She should have died hereafter”
Macbeth is becoming doubtful of the witches and is afraid that he might die. He has lost some of his confidence, yet still cares about his pride and ego when he says “at least we’ll die with harness (armour) on our back” // “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” – Still believes second apparition “[I] begin to doubt the equivocation of the fiend That lies like truth”
Macduff was born through a C section. So he was not naturally born. This means he can kill Macbeth, who was too overconfident to realise his own destruction. “I bear a charmed life””Macduff was from his mother’s womb, Untimely ripp’d”
Macbeth is seen as “cursed” because of how the witches changed him into a worse person “usurper’s cursed head”USURPER – someone who takes a position forcefully

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