Macbeth Quotes Acts 2-3

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself./Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I wouldthou couldst! (II.ii,73-74) Said By: Macbeth Meaning: Macbeth is showing how he is not happy with his decision to kill King Duncan. The first line is saying that he wishes he were asleep or unconscious so he would not have to deal with the knowledge that he has killed the king. The second line is saying that he wishes the knocking on the door could wake Duncan. (GUILTY)
O gentle lady,/ ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak./ The repetition, in a woman’s ear,Would murder as it fell. (II.iii,88-91) Said By: MacduffMeaning: Macduff says this to Lady Macbeth after the murder of King Duncan, telling her the murder is too much for her gentle ears. This is ironic because she is the one who has planned the murder, got the guards drunk and took the daggers back when Macbeth could not. She is not the typical feminine character that Macduff refers to.
Had I but died an hour before this chance,I had lived a blessed time, for from this instantThere’s nothing serious in mortality.All is but toys. (II.iii,96-99) Said By: MacbethMeaning: Macbeth says that he wishes he had died before Duncan because now there is “nothing worth living for since the good king has been killed”. What’s left, he says, is just the leftovers (toys). Macbeth says this only for effect; it is the politically correct statement to make in front of others. He also feels some regret for his actions; a part of him truly wishes he had died before Duncan because he feels guilty.
There’s daggers in men’s smiles. (II.iii,146) Said By: DonalbainMeaning: Donalbain recognizes that although everyone at Macbeth’s castle seems to be friendly toward them and their father, someone obviously was hiding a ‘dagger’ behind their ‘smile’ of friendship due to the sudden murder.
By the clock ’tis day,/And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp./Is’t night’spredominance, or the day’s shame,/That darkness does the face of earth entomb/When livinglight should kiss it? ‘Tis unnatural,/Even like the deed that’s done. (II.iv,6-11) Said By: RossMeaning: Ross emphasizes that it is daytime but “dark night strangles the travelling lamp.” Night obscures the sun (“traveling lamp”), indicating that even the heavens are behaving strangely; everything is covered in darkness: Macbeth’s crime has unleashed a supernatural chaos. The sky is dark when it should be light, Duncan’s horses went wild, and now Scotland is in chaos.
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new! (II.iv,37) Said By: MacduffMeaning: Macduff is worried that the new leadership of Macbeth (new robes) will not be as good as the former leadership (“old robes”). Macduff doubts Macbeth’s ability to rule Scotland effectively and that he may suspect Macbeth as having a role in Duncan’s assassination.
Naught’s had, all spent,Where our desire is got without content,’Tis safer to be that which we destroyThan by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. (III.ii,4-7) Said By: Lady MacbethMeaning: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have made much effort to get to this point and she is suggesting that “all’s spent” because there has been great personal cost to them in attaining this position. There is nothing to be gained when you get what you want and there is no contentment. She continues to say that sometimes it may preferable to be the one who has been destroyed or, in Duncan’s case, murdered because there are no feelings of anxiety or guilt.
Things without all remedy/Should be without regard. What’s done is done.(III.ii,11-12) Said By: Lady MacbethMeaning: Lady Macbeth is questioning Macbeth, asking him why he is keeping to himself, being all sad and lonely; “these negative thoughts should have died when he killed the men he was thinking about. If he can’t fix it, he shouldn’t give it a second thought. What’s done is done.” He should not continue being dissatisfied and should not regret his past: there is no turning back now.
Better be with the dead,/Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,/Than on the tortureof the mind to lie/In restless ecstacy. (III.ii,19-22) Said By: MacbethMeaning: After the murder, Macbeth would rather be dead than have to suffer through sleep deprivation and mental issues; Duncan is dead and sleeps soundly.
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,/Disguising what they are. (III.ii,33-34) Said By: MacbethMeaning: Macbeth is speaking to Lady Macbeth, explaining to give Banquo her special attention: “talk to him and look at him in a way that will make him feel important.” They are both in a dangerous situation and have to flatter Banquo/disguise their true feelings.
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. (III.ii,55) Said By: MacbethMeaning: Bad deeds force you to commit more bad deeds.
Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,As broad and general as the casing air.But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound inTo saucy doubts and fears. (III.iv,21-25) Said By: MacbethMeaning: Macbeth speaking about how scared he is now that he learned Fleance escaped. If this was not the case he “would have been perfect, as solid as a piece of marble, as firm as a rock, as free as the air itself.” Now he is doubtful and fearful.
I am in blood/Stepped in so far that should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as goo’er. (III.iv,136-138) Said By: MacbethMeaning: Macbeth’s image is of somebody standing in a river of blood. He has stepped into the river so far that, even if he continues to go forward, it would be as difficult, as “tedious”, as going back. This represents his crimes: rather than to stop committing crimes, Macbeth says that he might as well continue to commit them. One is as pointless (“tedious”) as the other.

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