Macbeth- Quotes Analysis

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair/ Hover through the fog and filthy air” Good is bad and bad is good- Antithesis. Hints that good Macbeth turns bad.- rhyming couplets adds to the evil foreboding atmosphere. Starts theme of reality vs appearances
“Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chops”- Captain Mouth to the belly – brave/ heroic Macbeth killed the traitor Macdonwald with the Scottish army.very violent image
“Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend” Ironic, he is being told “hail” yet when he becomes King this language no longer reflects who he is.
” Or memorise another Golgotha”- Captain Allusions/religious imagery- re-enact violent slaughter. Golgotha was a biblical battle.
“Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,/ Which smoked with bloody execution” Metaphor/ imagery of a gory sword smoking from hot blood.- foreshadow to dagger scene where he has become a tyrant. at first he is praised for his blood lust, but it becomes his downfall.Shakespeare contrasts eerie witch scene with gory battle scene- violent mood for play
“O valiant cousin, worthy gentlemen”- Duncan Later Duncan is killed by him- link to “This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself.”- dramatic irony. Duncan thinks that Macbeth is his friend and trusted ally,but Macbeth kills him.
“When the hurly-burly’s done/ When the battle’s lost and won” Rhyming couplets & paradoxes (contradicts itself) – shows the mysterious and confusing nature of the witches.
“For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name” contradicts Macbeth’s character change – he strats off as a well-respected soldier, who is brave and fearless, but eventually he becomes evil and cruel.
“The merciless Macdonwald” Very ironic- later Macbeth becomes the same.
“What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won” Thane of Cawdor executed for being a “disloyal traitor”. irony- Macbeth, like the previuos Thane, betrays the king. Also mirrors the witches’s language. oxymorons emphasise this possible supernatrual element and shows the witches power.
“Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’th’ Tiger” Tiger- an English ship that finally arrived home after disastrous 81 week voyage. Metaphor of a sailor representing Macbeth- storm stops him sleeping like Macbeth’s guilt stops his sleep. Ship is destroyed like Scotland. In Macbeth. the witches cause the shipwreck, which would have scared a Jacobean audience as it shows the witches’s power over everyone.
“Sleep shall neither night nor day” Foreshadows Lady Macbeth, and how she eventually goes mad and cannot sleep from guilt.
“A drum, a drum: / Macbeth doth come” Rhyming couplets- creates a mysterious and almost song-like lilt to their speech.
“Thrice to thine and thrice to mine, /And thrice again, to make up nine” Three times in my direction, three times in your’s. Creates a circle for Macbeth to walk into.- in Jacobean superstions about witchcraft, if some one walked into an enchanted ring they would be trapped forever.Assonance creates the effect of a spell, as there is no break in speech.
“So foul and fair a day I have not seen” Macbeth’s first line of the whole play- link to Witches, he is a puppet of the witches from the moment he walks into their circle, he is spell bound. Oxymoron mirrors the witches language.
FIRST WITCHAll hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!SECOND WITCHAll hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!THIRD WITCHAll hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter! Three prediction, one from each witch. Macbeth lets their promises tempt them, which ends up being his downfall. Repetition of ”Hail” to show how powerful these predictions are. It also scares the audience, as they already know that he has been given Cawdor. Anaphora to sound spell-like.
Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear//Things that do sound so fair? (to the WITCHES) I’ th’ name of truth,//Are ye fantastical, or that indeed//Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner//You greet with present grace and great prediction//Of noble having and of royal hope,//That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.//If you can look into the seeds of time//And say which grain will grow and which will not,//Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear//Your favors nor your hate. Banquo shows far more bravery than Macbeth, as he asks them about his life and his future. He uses a lot of imperatives to show this. He also uses direct address to show that he is not scared. contrast to Macbeth, as Banquo wants to know the truth, but later in the play Macbeth tries to cover it up. He uses a list to show that Macbeth has been promised many things, but he has not. Witches were thought to control crops, and could choose whether the whole crop for that harvest was ruined or good. Banquo is asking who is more likely to grow: him, or Macbeth. He is asking them to tell him, as he not begging like Macbeth was, and he does not fear them either. this proves Banquo to be incredibly brave, and his character would have gained the respect of the Jacobean Audience.
FIRST WITCHLesser than Macbeth and greater.SECOND WITCHNot so happy, yet much happier.THIRD WITCHThou shalt get kings, though thou be none.So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! Paradoxes/ riddles to confuse them. Macbeth will have more but be unhappy. Banquo will have less, but be greater.
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.//By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis.//But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives,//A prosperous gentleman, and to be king//Stands not within the prospect of belief,//No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence//You owe this strange intelligence, or why//Upon this blasted heath you stop our way//With such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you. Macbeth uses imperatives to try an show his power, but it does not work. contrast with Banquo, who successfully asked them about his future.The last Thane of Cawdor was wealthy, and thought to be the next king. The audience knows that Cawdor was a traitor, which suggests that the Witches may have influenced him too. It is ironic that Macbeth is to be the next Cawdor, as he was set to be king and then betrayed him, the same way Macbeth will.
“Why do you dress me/ In borrowed robes” Macbeth questions why he’s Thane of Cawdor. Ironic- later doesn’t borrow but murders Duncan’s position.
“The instruments of darkness tell us truths;/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s / In deep consequence.”- Banquo Banquo knows they are evil witches that manipulate by seeming to promise good things.
Were such things here as we do speak about?Or have we eaten on the insane rootThat takes the reason prisoner? Banquo keeps asking questions to try and make sense of what happened. He also thinks that they may be ill, as this seems impossible.
Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!The greatest is behind. […] (aside to BANQUO) Do you not hope your children shall be kings,When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to mePromised no less to them? Macbeth has been drawn in to the witches promises, and is attempting to take Banquo with him.
As happy prologues to the swelling actOf the imperial theme. (to ROSS and ANGUS) I thank you, gentlemen.(aside) This supernatural solicitingCannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,Why hath it given me earnest of success,Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor.If good, why do I yield to that suggestionWhose horrid image doth unfix my hairAnd make my seated heart knock at my ribs,Against the use of nature? Present fearsAre less than horrible imaginings. Macbeth talks to himself. Unsure if the Witches are good or bad, Banquo knows they’re evilHumouros- the play is still in the begining of Act One, and the plot is starting to thicken. sibilance to emphasise supernatrual control over his life. Condtional clause shows his confusion- he is weighing up his thoughts to pick between them. Enjabment shows how his thoughts of murdering Duncan are flowing.
MACBETHYour children shall be kings.BANQUO You shall be king. Direct adress and short sentences. they have got over the recent shock of what happened and accept their fates.
“Worthy Macbeth”- Banquo In act 3, lose all trust as friends – irony.
“rapt withal” Macbeth is left spellbound by the witches within his thoughts. – lust for power fighting between ambition and conscience.
Contrast- Thane of Cawdor a gentlemen who Duncan had “An absolute trust” to Macbeth walking in “O worthiest cousin” Ironic- will soon be Macbeth who is disloyal
“Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds” Duncan asks if Macbeth was scared in battle. It appears that he wanted to bathe in the blood of the enemy.
“disloyal traitor”- description of Thane of Cawdor Ironic- this will be Macbeth later on!
“What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won”- Duncan Fate has Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, but later he tries to change is fate through murder – similar to the withes lang. with the oxymoron.
“Sleep shall neither night nor day”- Witches Metaphor/foreshadow of Macbeth losing sleep like the sailor. Further symbolic of Scotland under Macbeth’s tyranny later on- nationwide shock & fear
“All hail Macbeth…”, “All hail Macbeth…”, “All hail Macbeth…”- Each Witch Anaphora- repletion of words at the beginning of successive sentences.
“If you can look into the seeds of time/ And say which grain will grow and which will not, / Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear/ Your favours nor your hate”- Banquo Banquo doesn’t want any favors from the Witches. Link to “And set me up in hope? But hush, no more” Act 3- Banquo thinks about the Witches, but doesn’t take actions.
“Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.” “Not so happy, yet much happier”- 2x Witches Paradoxes/ riddles to confuse Macbeth. Foreshadow, Macbeth will get what he wants, but not be happy.
“A drum, a drum; / Macbeth doth come” Foreshadow to Macbeth knocking in Act 4. The witches hear him – and are clearly excited to finally carry out their plans. this is seen in the repetition.
“Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?” Ironic- later on Macbeth doesn’t borrow!
“Look how our partner’s rapt” Macbeth is spell bound – similar to before.
“If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me / Without my stir” Macbeth is thinking rationally- maybe fate will make him king so that he doesn’t have to kill Duncan.
“He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust”- Duncan Ironic- traitor Thane of Cawdor – Macbeth will be the same.
“I have begun to plant thee and will labour/ To make thee full of growing”- Duncan Duncan is a kind/ caring king – He nurtures his subjects instead of killing them like Macbeth does.
“Stars, hold your fires, / Let not light see my black and deep desires” – Macbeth Wishes of becoming king come true and gaining of power to be kept secret.
“my dearest partner of greatness” & “heart and farewell”- Macbeth in letter Equal couple
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great,Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it.[…] Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine earAnd chastise with the valoor of my tongueAll that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crowned withal.
“too full o’th’milk of human kindness” Lady M thinks Macbeth is too kind
“That i may pour my spirits in thine ear/ And chastise with the valour of my tongue” Pure evil- she wants to put some of her own cruelty and evil into him.
The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood, Stop up th’access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry ‘Hold, hold!’ Possessive pronounCalls on spirits- Apostrophe- calling on something that is personified/ absentThe language suggests that her womanhood, represented by breasts and milk, usually symbols of nurture, impedes her from performing acts of violence and cruelty, which she associates with manliness. Later, this sense of the relationship between masculinity and violence will be deepened when Macbeth is unwilling to go through with the murders and his wife tells him, in effect, that he needs to “be a man” and get on with it.
If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly. If th’assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease success: that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all, here, But here upon this bank and shoal of time, We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgement here, that we but teach Bloody instructions which, being taught, return To plague th’inventor. This even-handed justice Commends th’ingredience of our poisoned chalice To our own lips. He’s here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against The deep damnation of his taking-off, And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself And falls on th’other. Macbeth knows that their plan is wrong. Sibilance to show his snake-like manouvering. pollosive sounds ”but this blow” to show the harsh violence of what he is about to do. He admits that murderers usually get killed. Aspirate sounds make him sound breathless with shock. He also admits that he should be guarding Duncan from murderers, not killing him. He is unsure about killing Duncan because he is so good and virtuous that his murder will be felt in nature. Alitteration to show this. Macbeth’s ambition has no bounds- it will kepp climbing and climbing.
Was the hope drunkWherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since?And wakes it now, to look so green and paleAt what it did so freely? From this timeSuch I account thy love. Art thou afeardTo be the same in thine own act and valorAs thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have thatWhich thou esteem’st the ornament of life,And live a coward in thine own esteem,Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?
Infirm of purpose!
Whence is that knocking?— How is’t with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand?
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.What hath quenched them hath given me fire.Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it.The doors are open, and the surfeited groomsDo mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their possets,That death and nature do contend about them,Whether they live or die.
is this a dagger which I see before me,The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.Art thou not, fatal vision, sensibleTo feeling as to sight? Or art thou butA dagger of the mind, a false creation,Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?I see thee yet, in form as palpableAs this which now I draw.Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going,And such an instrument I was to use.Mine eyes are made the fools o’ th’ other senses,Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,Which was not so before. There’s no such thing.It is the bloody business which informsThus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one half-worldNature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuseThe curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebratesPale Hecate’s offerings, and withered murder,Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his designMoves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fearThy very stones prate of my whereabout,And take the present horror from the time,Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives.Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knellThat summons thee to heaven or to hell.
“Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor” “all-hail hereafter” Flattering Macbeth
“O never shall sun that morrow see” That day will never come
“my dispatch” Possessive pronouns
“This castle hath a pleasant seat… the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself”- Duncan Dramatic irony
“Fair and noble hostess”- Duncan Irony!
“In every point twice done and then done double”- Lady Macbeth If everything we do for you is doubled then doubled again, it is nothing compared to what you do to us.- mirroring the Witches
“”this blow”, “If th’assassination”, “horrid deed”- Macbeth Euphemism- doesn’t say the word murder or kill. Link to Witches “A deed without a name”
“He’s here in double trust”- Macbeth Witch language “double”
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent” Horse imagery
“And live a coward in thine own esteem””When you durst do it, then you were a man””Wherein you dressed yourself?””Be so much more than a man” Lady M chastises her husband and questions his masculinity
“I would, while it was smiling in my face, /Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums/ And dashed the brains out” She is merciless and not a motherly figure! Violent imagery
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know”- Ends Act 1 Assonance & alliteration- “show” linked to Act 4 scene 1 witches: “show”, “show”, “show”
“A friend” – Macbeth Tells Banquo this, is it really true?
Interruption “I think not of them”- Macbeth Banquo states he has dreamed of them. Deceptive Macbeth. Break down of relationship as they now interrupt each other.
“Witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate’s off’rings” Hecate- goddess of witchcraft
“A dagger of the mind, a false creation” He thinks that the dagger is in his mind, and that he is hallucinating.
“With Tarquin’s ravishing strides” Tarquin- a roman prince whose horrid attack and rape of Lucrece caused a revoultion. Macbeth compares himself to him
“Here it not Duncan for it is knell/ That summons thee to heaven or to hell” Rhyming couplets- similar to witches lang., showing their influence on him
“Hark, peace”- Lady Macbeth startled by every noise
“Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t” Only emotions she shows
“I heard the owls scream and the crickets cry”- Lady Macbeth Death connotations- Duncan’s death is felt in nature too.
“sorry sight” Regrets
One cried, “God bless us!” and “Amen” the other,As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.List’ning their fear I could not say “Amen,”When they did say “God bless us!”
These deeds must not be thoughtAfter these ways. So, it will make us mad. Irony- she does not take her own advice.
“I could not say ”Amen'” because he has committed an awful sin he can no longer “Amen”
“Macbeth does murder sleep”
” So brain sickly of things” Lady M”Go….””Give….””Be….” Imperatives
Sleep- “sleeve of care””sore labour’s balm””life’s feast” Sleep compared to many things in apositive way. makes Macbeth murdering “sleep” seem worse.
“I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal” gild- decorative metaphorical image of painting the faces
“Neptune’s oceans wash this blood” Hyperbole
“But I shame to wear a heart so white” Connotation of cowards- she is still insulting him.
“A little water clears us of this deed” Ironic/ foreshadowing to her frantic hand washing at end of play
“the multitudinous seas incarnadine” Vivid image of seas turning red from the huge quantity of blood and guilt from murdering Duncan.
“Of dire combustion and confused events”
“O horror, o horror, o horror” repetition,rule of three and aspirate sounds. shows the horrific events of the night and the aspirate sounds conveys their breathlessness from shock.
“O gentle lady” Lady M faints ironically- she is not really shocked by what’s going on, nor is she gentle. in fact, she called upon spirits to remove her femininity so that she could be even more cruel.
“His silver skin laced with his golden blood” Metaphorical/ God like
“A falcon tow’ring in her pride of place/ Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed” Order and disorder- The Hierarchy has been disrupted by Macbeth killing Duncan. Goes against natural order of things. this conflict is seen the pollosive alliteration.
“solem supper sir”- Macbeth Deceit to his friend who he’s about to kill. sibilance shows his snake-like ways.
“But hush, no more”- Banquo Has bad thoughts but doesn’t act on them. he uses aspirate sounds to show that he is squashing his bad thoughts.
“Fail not our feast”- Macbeth Alliteration of Macbeth. fricatives. imperatives show is newfound power.
“I wish your horses swift and sure of foot”- Macbeth deceit -he is pretending that he wants Banquo to have a safe journey, when he is really going to have him murdered.
“My genius is rebuked” his angel is frightened by Macbeth’s murderous actions.
To be thus is nothing,But to be safely thus. Our fears in BanquoStick deep, and in his royalty of natureReigns that which would be feared. ‘Tis much he dares,And to that dauntless temper of his mindHe hath a wisdom that doth guide his valorTo act in safety. There is none but heWhose being I do fear, and under himMy genius is rebuked, as it is saidMark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sistersWhen first they put the name of king upon meAnd bade them speak to him. Then, prophetlike,They hailed him father to a line of kings.Upon my head they placed a fruitless crownAnd put a barren scepter in my grip,Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,No son of mine succeeding. If ‘t be so,For Banquo’s issue have I filed 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 seed of Banquo kings!Rather than so, come fate into the list,And champion me to th’ utterance. Who’s there?
“As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels…””All by the name of dogs” Macbeth compared murderers to dogs which are at the bottom of the Divine Order
“why do you keep alone”- LM Relationship breaking apart after the murder.
Naught’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.Enter MACBETHHow now, my lord! Why do you keep alone,Of sorriest fancies your companions making,Using those thoughts which should indeed have diedWith them they think on? Things without all remedyShould be without regard. What’s done is done. Lady Macbeth is beggining to regret her actions- early signs of guilt. Alliteration shows how weak their power is, and how they are now unhappy because of it.when Macbeth eneters she puts on a different face, and pretends that she is not regretting her actions. role-reversal from the previous scene, as he is now confident and does not regret murder, but she is worried and guilty.
“we have scorched the snake not killed it” Religious imagery
“restless ecstasy” happiness vs going mad oxymoron
“And make our faces vizards to our hearts” similar to Macbeth “false heart doth hide what false face doth know”. they are masking their true feelings so that they do not appear guilty.
“O full of scorpions is my mind dear wife” Animal imagery
“Be innocent of the knowledge dearest chuck” slightly patronising and complete change. Macbeth does not want her to know that he will have Banquo killed. Also ironic, as she is not innocent.
“Black agents to their prey do roust” Hunters
Banquo murder- (with a torch) shows that Banquo is wholly good- he lets light (goodness) guide him rather than evil contrast to Macbeth, who was overcome by greed and ambition.
“Whole as marble, founded as rock” Strong
“cabined, cribbed, confined” pollosive alliteration.
O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!Thou may ‘st revenge
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.—But Banquo’s safe?
Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,Were the graced person of our Banquo present,Who may I rather challenge for unkindnessThan pity for mischance.
Thou canst not say I did it. Never shakeThy gory locks at me. Bloody hair- grotesque imagery. Macbeth has seen the ghost of Banquo- much like with the dagger, he is now hallucinating. Banquo is a physical remainder of his murder.
Thanks for that.There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fledHath nature that in time will venom breed;No teeth for th’ present. Ironic animals
Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thusAnd hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.The fit is momentary; upon a thoughtHe will again be well. If much you note him,You shall offend him and extend his passion.Feed and regard him not. (aside to MACBETH) Are you a man? Deception
O proper stuff!This is the very painting of your fear.This is the air-drawn dagger which you saidLed you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts,Impostors to true fear, would well becomeA woman’s story at a winter’s fire,Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,You look but on a stool. Link to “gild”
Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on thatWhich might appall the devil.
Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time,Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;Ay, and since too, murders have been performedToo terrible for the ear. The time has beenThat, when the brains were out, the man would die,And there an end. But now they rise againWith twenty mortal murders on their crownsAnd push us from our stools. This is more strangeThan such a murder is.
I drink to the general joy o’ th’ whole table,And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;Would he were here! To all and him we thirst,And all to all.
Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.Thou hast no speculation in those eyesWhich thou dost glare with!
What man dare, I dare.Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,The armed rhinoceros, or th’ Hyrcan tiger;Take any shape but that, and my firm nervesShall never tremble. Or be alive again,And dare me to the desert with thy sword.If trembling I inhabit then, protest meThe baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!Unreal mockery, hence!
It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak.Augurs and understood relations haveBy magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forthThe secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?
I hear it by the way; but I will send.There’s not a one of them but in his houseI keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow—And betimes I will—to the weird sisters.More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know,By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,All causes shall give way. I am in bloodStepped in so far that, should I wade no more,Returning were as tedious as go o’er.Strange things I have in head, that will to hand,Which must be acted ere they may be scanned. Imagery – he is so far steeped in blood from his murders that he can no longer turn back.
“And you all know security is mortals chiefest enemy” Witches say he’s too confident
Have I not reason, beldams as you are?Saucy and overbold, how did you dareTo trade and traffic with MacbethIn riddles and affairs of death,And I, the mistress of your charms,The close contriver of all harms,Was never called to bear my part,Or show the glory of our art?And, which is worse, all you have doneHath been but for a wayward son,Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,Loves for his own ends, not for you.But make amends now. Get you gone,And at the pit of AcheronMeet me i’ th’ morning. Thither heWill come to know his destiny.Your vessels and your spells provide,Your charms and everything beside.I am for the air. This night I’ll spendUnto a dismal and a fatal end.Great business must be wrought ere noon.Upon the corner of the moonThere hangs a vap’rous drop profound.I’ll catch it ere it come to ground.And that distilled by magic sleightsShall raise such artificial spritesAs by the strength of their illusionShall draw him on to his confusion.He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bearHis hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear.And you all know, securityIs mortals’ chiefest enemy.
For from broad words, and ’cause he failedHis presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hearMacduff lives in disgrace.
The son of Duncan—From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth—Lives in the English court and is receivedOf the most pious Edward with such graceThat the malevolence of fortune nothingTakes from his high respect. Thither MacduffIs gone to pray the holy king upon his aidTo wake Northumberland and warlike Siward,That by the help of these—with Him aboveTo ratify the work—we may againGive to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,Do faithful homage and receive free honors.All which we pine for now. And this reportHath so exasperated the king that hePrepares for some attempt of war.
“by the pricking of my thumbs//Something wicked this way comes” Macbeth is no longer the hounorable hero of act one, as he is now considered wicked and evil by the witches.
“Secret, black and midnight hags” When Macbeth returns to them, he talks in threes. He also insults them, despite the fact that he wants information from them. this seems counter-productive, especially as they still have power over him.
(an armed head) and (a child crowned) Juxtaposition of innocent child and warfare
Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live,That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,And sleep in spite of thunder.
I conjure you by that which you profess—Howe’er you come to know it—answer me.Though you untie the winds and let them fightAgainst the churches, though the yeasty wavesConfound and swallow navigation up,Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,Though palaces and pyramids do slopeTheir heads to their foundations, though the treasureOf nature’s germens tumble all together,Even till destruction sicken, answer meTo what I ask you.
“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff.Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.”Descends
“Tell me, thou unknown power—””Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word more—”
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—SECOND APPARITIONMacbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!MACBETHHad I three ears, I’d hear thee.Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scornThe power of man, for none of woman bornShall harm Macbeth.
Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no careWho chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.Macbeth shall never vanquished be untilGreat Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane HillShall come against him.
That will never be.Who can impress the forest, bid the treeUnfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements! Good!Rebellious dead, rise never till the woodOf Birnam rise, and our high-placed MacbethShall live the lease of nature, pay his breathTo time and mortal custom. Yet my heartThrobs to know one thing. Tell me, if your artCan tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue everReign in this kingdom?
Show his eyes and grieve his heart.Come like shadows; so depart!
Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo. Down!Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.A third is like the former.—Filthy hags!Why do you show me this? A fourth? Start, eyes!What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom?Another yet? A seventh? I’ll see no more.And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glassWhich shows me many more, and some I seeThat twofold balls and treble scepters carry.Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true;For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon meAnd points at them for his.
MACBETHSaw you the weird sisters?LENNOX No, my lord.MACBETHCame they not by you?LENNOX No, indeed, my lord.
Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.The flighty purpose never is o’ertookUnless the deed go with it. From this momentThe very firstlings of my heart shall beThe firstlings of my hand. And even now,To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:The castle of Macduff I will surprise,Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ swordHis wife, his babes, and all unfortunate soulsThat trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool.This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?Come, bring me where they are.
Wisdom! To leave his wife, to leave his babes,His mansion and his titles in a placeFrom whence himself does fly? He loves us not;He wants the natural touch. For the poor wren,The most diminutive of birds, will fight,Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.All is the fear and nothing is the love,As little is the wisdom, where the flightSo runs against all reason.
SONAs birds do, Mother.LADY MACDUFFWhat, with worms and flies?
Thou liest, thou shag-haired villain!
Let us ratherHold fast the mortal sword and, like good men,Bestride our downfall’n birthdom. Each new mornNew widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrowsStrike heaven on the face, that it resoundsAs if it felt with Scotland and yelled outLike syllable of dolor.
What I believe I’ll wail;What know believe, and what I can redress,As I shall find the time to friend, I will.What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,Was once thought honest. You have loved him well.He hath not touched you yet. I am young, but somethingYou may deserve of him through me, and wisdomTo offer up a weak, poor, innocent lambT’ appease an angry god.
Fare thee well, lord.I would not be the villain that thou think’stFor the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,And the rich East to boot.
When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head,Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor countryShall have more vices than it had before,More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,By him that shall succeed.
I grant him bloody,Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sinThat has a name. But there’s no bottom, none,In my voluptuousness. Your wives, your daughters,Your matrons, and your maids could not fill upThe cistern of my lust, and my desireAll continent impediments would o’erbearThat did oppose my will. Better MacbethThan such an one to reign.
But I have none. The king-becoming graces,As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,I have no relish of them but aboundIn the division of each several crime,Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I shouldPour the sweet milk of concord into hell,Uproar the universal peace, confoundAll unity on earth
Fit to govern?No, not to live.—O nation miserable,With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered,When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,Since that the truest issue of thy throneBy his own interdiction stands accursed,And does blaspheme his breed?—Thy royal fatherWas a most sainted king. The queen that bore thee,Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!These evils thou repeat’st upon thyselfHave banished me from Scotland.—O my breast,Thy hope ends here!
Macduff, this noble passion,Child of integrity, hath from my soulWiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughtsTo thy good truth and honor. Devilish MacbethBy many of these trains hath sought to win meInto his power, and modest wisdom plucks meFrom overcredulous haste. But God aboveDeal between thee and me, for even nowI put myself to thy direction andUnspeak mine own detraction, here abjureThe taints and blames I laid upon myself,For strangers to my nature. I am yetUnknown to woman, never was forsworn,Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,At no time broke my faith, would not betrayThe devil to his fellow, and delightNo less in truth than life. My first false speakingWas this upon myself. What I am truly,Is thine and my poor country’s to command.
Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched soulsThat stay his cure. Their malady convincesThe great assay of art, but at his touch—Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand—They presently amend.
‘Tis called the evil.A most miraculous work in this good king,Which often since my here-remain in EnglandI have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,Himself best knows, but strangely visited people,All swoll’n and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,The mere despair of surgery, he cures,Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,Put on with holy prayers. And, ’tis spoken,To the succeeding royalty he leavesThe healing benediction. With this strange virtue,He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,And sundry blessings hang about his throne,That speak him full of grace.
No, they were well at peace when I did leave ’em
Your eye in ScotlandWould create soldiers, make our women fight,To doff their dire distresses.
Merciful heaven!What, man! Ne’er pull your hat upon your brows.Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speakWhispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.
Be comforted.Let’s make us med’cines of our great revenge,To cure this deadly grief.
He has no children. All my pretty ones?Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?What, all my pretty chickens and their damAt one fell swoop?
I shall do so,But I must also feel it as a man.I cannot but remember such things wereThat were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,Not for their own demerits, but for mine,Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now.
Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyesAnd braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,Cut short all intermission. Front to frontBring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.Within my sword’s length set him; if he ‘scape,Heaven forgive him too.
A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the line>effects of watching. In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?
That, sir, which I will not report after her.
Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually. ‘Tis her command.
Yet here’s a spot.
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ‘t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all with this starting.
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!
What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.
Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. Look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ‘s grave.
To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!
Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deedsDo breed unnatural troubles. Infected mindsTo their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.More needs she the divine than the physician.God, God forgive us all! Look after her,Remove from her the means of all annoyance,And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night.My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.I think, but dare not speak.
Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.Some say he’s mad, others that lesser hate himDo call it valiant fury. But, for certain,He cannot buckle his distempered causeWithin the belt of rule.
Now does he feelHis secret murders sticking on his hands.Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach.Those he commands move only in command,Nothing in love. Now does he feel his titleHang loose about him, like a giant’s robeUpon a dwarfish thief.
Well, march we on,To give obedience where ’tis truly owed.Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,And with him pour we in our country’s purgeEach drop of us.
Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all.Till Birnam Wood remove to DunsinaneI cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm?Was he not born of woman? The spirits that knowAll mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:”Fear not, Macbeth. No man that’s born of womanShall e’er have power upon thee.” Then fly, false thanes,And mingle with the English epicures.The mind I sway by and the heart I bearShall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.Enter a SERVANTThe devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!Where got’st thou that goose look?
Go, prick thy face and over-red thy fear,Thou lily-livered boy. What soldiers, patch?Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thineAre counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
Seyton!—I am sick at heart,When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This pushWill cheer me ever, or disseat me now.I have lived long enough. My way of lifeIs fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf,And that which should accompany old age,As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,I must not look to have, but, in their stead,Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breathWhich the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.Seyton!
Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.Come, put mine armor on. Give me my staff.Seyton, send out.—Doctor, the thanes fly from me.Come, sir, dispatch.—If thou couldst, doctor, castThe water of my land, find her disease,And purge it to a sound and pristine health,I would applaud thee to the very echo,That should applaud again.—Pull ‘t off, I say.—What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug,Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of them?
Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,Profit again should hardly draw me here. (Doctor)
Let every soldier hew him down a boughAnd bear ‘t before him. Thereby shall we shadowThe numbers of our host and make discoveryErr in report of us.
I have almost forgot the taste of fears.The time has been my senses would have cooledTo hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hairWould at a dismal treatise rouse and stirAs life were in ‘t. I have supped full with horrors.Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughtsCannot once start me.
The queen, my lord, is dead.
She should have died hereafter.There would have been a time for such a word.Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to dayTo the last syllable of recorded time,And all our yesterdays have lighted foolsThe way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stageAnd then is heard no more. It is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,I looked toward Birnam, and anon methoughtThe wood began to move.MACBETH Liar and slave!
If thou speak’st false,Upon the next tree shall thou hang aliveTill famine cling thee. If thy speech be sooth,I care not if thou dost for me as much.I pull in resolution and beginTo doubt th’ equivocation of the fiendThat lies like truth. “Fear not, till Birnam woodDo come to Dunsinane”; and now a woodComes toward Dunsinane.—Arm, arm, and out!—If this which he avouches does appear,There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.I ‘gin to be aweary of the sun,And wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now undone.—Ring the alarum-bell!—Blow, wind! Come, wrack!At least we’ll die with harness on our back.
Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.
They have tied me to a stake. I cannot fly,
Thou liest, abhorrèd tyrant. With my swordI’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,Brandished by man that’s of a woman born.
Why should I play the Roman fool and dieOn mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashesDo better upon them.
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;I bear a charmèd life, which must not yieldTo one of woman born.
Macduff was from his mother’s wombUntimely ripped.
Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so,For it hath cowed my better part of man!And be these juggling fiends no more believed,That palter with us in a double sense,That keep the word of promise to our ear,And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.
Then yield thee, coward,And live to be the show and gaze o’ th’ time.We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,Painted on a pole, and underwrit,”Here may you see the tyrant.”
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.He only lived but till he was a man,The which no sooner had his prowess confirmedIn the unshrinking station where he fought,But like a man he died.
Why then, God’s soldier be he!Had I as many sons as I have hairs,I would not wish them to a fairer death.And so, his knell is knolled.
He’s worth more sorrow,And that I’ll spend for him.
We shall not spend a large expense of timeBefore we reckon with your several lovesAnd make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,Henceforth be earls, the first that ever ScotlandIn such an honor named. What’s more to do,Which would be planted newly with the time,As calling home our exiled friends abroadThat fled the snares of watchful tyranny,Producing forth the cruel ministersOf this dead butcher and his fiendlike queen,Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent handsTook off her life; this, and what needful elseThat calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,We will perform in measure, time, and place.So, thanks to all at once and to each one,Whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone.
The most influential writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare was born in 1564 to a successful middle-class glove-maker in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Shakespeare attended grammar school, but his formal education proceeded no further. In 1582 he married an older woman, Anne Hathaway, and had three children with her. Around 1590 he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright. Public and critical acclaim quickly followed, and Shakespeare eventually became the most popular playwright in England and part-owner of the Globe Theater. His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603) and James I (ruled 1603-1625), and he was a favorite of both monarchs. Indeed, James granted Shakespeare’s company the greatest possible compliment by bestowing upon its members the title of King’s Men. Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two. At the time of Shakespeare’s death, literary luminaries such as Ben Jonson hailed his works as timeless.
Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy from a trio of sinister witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed with ambitious thoughts and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself. He begins his reign racked with guilt and fear and soon becomes a tyrannical ruler, as he is forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion. The bloodbath swiftly propels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to arrogance, madness, and death.Macbeth was most likely written in 1606, early in the reign of James I, who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the English throne in 1603. James was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting company, and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote under James’s reign, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright’s close relationship with the sovereign. In focusing on Macbeth, a figure from Scottish history, Shakespeare paid homage to his king’s Scottish lineage. Additionally, the witches’ prophecy that Banquo will found a line of kings is a clear nod to James’s family’s claim to have descended from the historical Banquo. In a larger sense, the theme of bad versus good kingship, embodied by Macbeth and Duncan, respectively, would have resonated at the royal court, where James was busy developing his English version of the theory of divine right.Macbeth is not Shakespeare’s most complex play, but it is certainly one of his most powerful and emotionally intense. Whereas Shakespeare’s other major tragedies, such as Hamlet and Othello, fastidiously explore the intellectual predicaments faced by their subjects and the fine nuances of their subjects’ characters, Macbeth tumbles madly from its opening to its conclusion. It is a sharp, jagged sketch of theme and character; as such, it has shocked and fascinated audiences for nearly four hundred years.
The Corrupting Power of Unchecked Ambition The main theme of Macbeth—the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints—finds its most powerful expression in the play’s two main characters.
The Relationship Between Cruelty and Masculinity Characters in Macbeth frequently dwell on issues of gender. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband by questioning his masculinity, wishes that she herself could be “unsexed,” and does not contradict Macbeth when he says that a woman like her should give birth only to boys. In the same manner that Lady Macbeth goads her husband on to murder, Macbeth provokes the murderers he hires to kill Banquo by questioning their masculinity. Such acts show that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity with naked aggression, and whenever they converse about masculinity, violence soon follows. Their understanding of masculinity allows the political order depicted in the play to descend into chaos.
The Difference Between Kingship and Tyranny In the play, Duncan is always referred to as a “king,” while Macbeth soon becomes known as the “tyrant.”
Hallucinations Visions and hallucinations recur throughout the play and serve as reminders of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s joint culpability for the growing body count. When he is about to kill Duncan, Macbeth sees a dagger floating in the air. Covered with blood and pointed toward the king’s chamber, the dagger represents the bloody course on which Macbeth is about to embark. Later, he sees Banquo’s ghost sitting in a chair at a feast, pricking his conscience by mutely reminding him that he murdered his former friend. The seemingly hardheaded Lady Macbeth also eventually gives way to visions, as she sleepwalks and believes that her hands are stained with blood that cannot be washed away by any amount of water. In each case, it is ambiguous whether the vision is real or purely hallucinatory; but, in both cases, the Macbeths read them uniformly as supernatural signs of their guilt.
Violence Macbeth is a famously violent play. Interestingly, most of the killings take place offstage, but throughout the play the characters provide the audience with gory descriptions of the carnage, from the opening scene where the captain describes Macbeth and Banquo wading in blood on the battlefield, to the endless references to the bloodstained hands of Macbeth and his wife. The action is bookended by a pair of bloody battles: in the first, Macbeth defeats the invaders; in the second, he is slain and beheaded by Macduff. In between is a series of murders: Duncan, Duncan’s chamberlains, Banquo, Lady Macduff, and Macduff’s son all come to bloody ends. By the end of the action, blood seems to be everywhere.
Prophecy Prophecy sets Macbeth’s plot in motion—namely, the witches’ prophecy that Macbeth will become first thane of Cawdor and then king. The weird sisters make a number of other prophecies: they tell us that Banquo’s heirs will be kings, that Macbeth should beware Macduff, that Macbeth is safe till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane, and that no man born of woman can harm Macbeth. Save for the prophecy about Banquo’s heirs, all of these predictions are fulfilled within the course of the play. Still, it is left deliberately ambiguous whether some of them are self-fulfilling—for example, whether Macbeth wills himself to be king or is fated to be king. Additionally, as the Birnam Wood and “born of woman” prophecies make clear, the prophecies must be interpreted as riddles, since they do not always mean what they seem to mean.
Blood Blood is everywhere in Macbeth, beginning with the opening battle between the Scots and the Norwegian invaders, which is described in harrowing terms by the wounded captain in Act 1, scene 2. Once Macbeth and Lady Macbeth embark upon their murderous journey, blood comes to symbolize their guilt, and they begin to feel that their crimes have stained them in a way that cannot be washed clean. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?” Macbeth cries after he has killed Duncan, even as his wife scolds him and says that a little water will do the job (2.2.58-59). Later, though, she comes to share his horrified sense of being stained: “Out, damned spot; out, I say . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” she asks as she wanders through the halls of their castle near the close of the play (5.1.30-34). Blood symbolizes the guilt that sits like a permanent stain on the consciences of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, one that hounds them to their graves.
The Weather As in other Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth’s grotesque murder spree is accompanied by a number of unnatural occurrences in the natural realm. From the thunder and lightning that accompany the witches’ appearances to the terrible storms that rage on the night of Duncan’s murder, these violations of the natural order reflect corruption in the moral and political orders.
context Macbeth was written the year after the Gunpowder Plot, in which a group of men attempted to kill the king. this play was also supposed to warn against regicide, and supporting those who do , so that James I throne would be more secure
Macbeth is a period drama, written in 1606, but was set in the 11th C.

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