Macbeth Quotes and Vocab: Act 1

(Witches to general audience) No real rules; anything goes Fair is foul and foul is fair.
(Duncan to Ross) The Thane of Cawdor was a traitor to Scotland and will be killed for it, where his land will be given to Macbeth. No more that Thane of Cawdor shall decieve our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death.
(Witch 1 to the other witches) The witches can torture and play with fate, but they cannot kill people. Though his bark cannot be lost, yet it can be tempest tossed.
(Macbeth to Banquo) Echos the first words said by the witches. It is a fair day because they have one, but it is a foul day due to weather and all the deaths. It is more doublespeak. So fair and foul a day I have not seen.
(Witches to Macbeth) After Macbeth is thane of both Glamis and Cawdor, he will end up king of Scotland. All hail Macbeth, that shall be king hereafter!
(Banquo to Witches) Banquo wants his fortune told too. He has disdain for the witches but wants to know. He is a good foil for Macbeth. When Macbeth gets a good prediction, he becomes ruthless. Banquo stays loyal and dies. If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me.
(Witches to Banquo) His sons may be kings, but he will not be one. Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none.
(Banquo to Macbeth) Banquo is developing suspicion of the witches’ fortunes and thinks perhaps they should not be heeded. The witches are classified as dark beings, not just supernatural ones. But ’tis strange; and oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.
(Malcolm to Duncan) Talking about the old Thane of Cawdor. The best thing he ever did was die repenting and not putting up a fight. Nothing in his life became like him leaving it.
(Duncan to Malcolm) It is impossible to tell a person’s true thoughts. There is no way to tell if somebody is merely a good actor. This is ironic since the Thane of Cawdor and Macbeth both managed to fool Duncan. There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.
(Duncan to Macbeth) Duncan claims credit for Macbeth’s success and wants to make sure he stays successful. I have begun to plant thee, and will labor to make thee full of growing.
(Macbeth to stars) Macbeth, despite Duncan’s kindness, wants to murder his way to the throne. Stars, hide your fires: Let not lights see my black and deep desires.
(Lady Macbeth soliloquy) She thinks Macbeth is too kind to be king. He doesn’t have the killer instinct to get to the top. Yet I do fear thy nature; It is too full of the milk of human kindness.
(Lady Macbeth soliloquy) Asks the spirits to dehumanize or dewomanize her. She wants to be free of any sympathy or weakness. Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.
(Lady Macbeth to Macbeth) Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth how he should make sure his face should not be readable when he goes through with the murder. Your face…is as a book where men may read strange matters.
(Lady Macbeth to Macbeth) Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to look innocent but strike quickly like a serpent. Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it.
(Macbeth soliloquy) He has no reason to hate or kill Duncan except his own ambitions; Duncan is a good king and cousin I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition.
(Lady Macbeth to Macbeth) Encourages Macbeth one more time to kill Duncan. This also refers to a lute(a guitar like instrument). She is also, in a way, saying she is playing Macbeth. But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we will not fail.
(Macbeth to Lady Macbeth) Macbeth admits his heart has failed and now he will go because of the guilt that will follow. False face must hide what false heart doth know.
thane (n) a feudal lord or baron in Scotland
corporeal (adj) of the body; tangible
surmise (n) a conjecture, a guess
harbinger (n) something that foretells or foreshadows
impede (vt) to hinder, to obstruct the progress of
surcease (vt & vi) to bring to an end, to stop; (n) an end
faculty (n) inherent power or ability to act
adage (n) a saying that sets forth a general truth; saying
mettle (n) courage, spirit; inherent quality of character
dire (adj) warning of terrible consequences; urgent

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