Macbeth Quotes & Meanings

“Fair is foul, and four is fair.” The Witches [I, i, 10]
“So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” Macbeth [I, iii, 38]
“…why do you dress me in borrowed robes?” Macbeth [I, iii, 109-110]
“This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good.” Macbeth [I, iii, 130-131]-oxymoron
“My thought… is smothered in surmise, and nothing is but what is not.” Macbeth [I, iii, 139-142]
“If chance will have me King, why chance may crown me, without my stir.” Macbeth [I, iii, 144-146]-fate-if its meant to be, it will be
“Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.” Macbeth [I, iii, 147-148]-what’s going to happen will happen-fate
“…nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.” Malcom [I, iv, 7-8]-McDonaldwald the traitor led a useful life
“There’s no art to find the find the mind’s construction in the face…” King Duncan [I, iv, 12-13]-literalist; thinks you can tell if a person’s good or bad by their face-straightforward; shows naivety
“I have begun to plant thee, and will labor to make thee full of growing.” King Duncan [I, iv, 29-30]-Metaphor to Macbeth; feel as a mentor, “watering them until they flourish”
“Let not light see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand…” Macbeth [I, iv, 51-52]-don’t let light shine on his dark desires/keep up his good name-doesn’t let anyone see what he’s thinking
“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.” Lady Macbeth [I, v, 16-20]-Macbeth may want it but he’s too nice
“Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me, from the crown to the tow, top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood… and take my milk for gall…” Lady Macbeth [I, v, 40-48]-wants to be more manly, aggressive, brutal-ignoring her feelings about the murder-trying to break away from woman’s standards
“O, never shall sun that morrow see!” Lady Macbeth [I, v, 59-60]-the king won’t see the light of (the next) day
“To beguile the time, look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, you hand, your tongue: look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” Lady Macbeth [I, v, 62-65]-theme of deception
“If it were done when ’tis done, then ‘there well it were done quickly.” Macbeth [I, vii, 1-2]-Once your mind’s made, get it over with
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which overlaps itself and falls on th’ other –“ Macbeth [I, vii, 25-28]-“I wish I could just get this done without thinking twice about it”
“I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none.” Macbeth [I, vii, 46-47]-masculinity; Lady Macbeth pricking his ego
“When you durst do it, then you were a man; … you would be so much more the man.” Lady Macbeth [I, vii, 49-51]
“…screw your courage to the sticking-place…” Lady Macbeth [I, vi, 60]
“Bring forth men-children only; for thy undaunted mettle should compose nothing but males.” Macbeth [I, vii, 73-75]-admires Lady Macbeth
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” Macbeth [I, vi, 82]-theme of deception
“There’s husbandry in heaven. Their candles are all out.” Banquo [II, i, 4-5]
“Is this a dagger which a see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still…or art thou but a dagger of the mind…” Macbeth [II, i, 33-38]-imagines a dagger-guilt
“Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep…” Macbeth [II, i, 50-51]
“Thou sure and firm-set earth, hear not my steps…” Macbeth [II, i, 56-57]
“I go, and it is done: the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven, or to hell.” Macbeth [II, i, 62-64]
“That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold; What hath quenched them hath given me fire.” Lady Macbeth [II, ii, 1-2]
“Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done’t.” Lady Macbeth [II, ii, 12-13]
“But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”?… ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat.” Macbeth [II, ii, 29-31]-he can’t say amen, chokes up on the words
“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep…” Macbeth [II, ii, 34-35]
“Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand.” Lady Macbeth [II, ii, 45-46]-ironic-as if just washing hands would “wash off” the deed
“What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” Macbeth [II, ii, 58-60]
“My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white… A little water clears us of this deed…” Lady Macbeth [II, ii, 63-66]-coward-put down of Macbeth’s manhood
“To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.” Macbeth [II, ii, 72]-what he did doesn’t reflect him
“Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there [?]… this place is too cold for hell… I pray you, remember the porter.” Porter [II, iii, 1-21]
“The night has been unruly… Some say, the earth was feverous and did shake.” Lennox [II, iii, 55-62]
“‘Twas a rough night.” Macbeth [II, iii, 63]
“Woe alas! What, in our house?” Lady Macbeth [II, iii, 90-91]-murder… in my house?! -acting as if she knows nothing
“…let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work, to know it further.” Banquo [II, iii, 128-130]-implying that they should investigate
“To Ireland… Where we are there’s daggers in men smiles…” Donalbain [II, iii, 140-141]-saying that escape the murder accusations by going Ireland
“By th’ clock ’tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp: Is ‘t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame, that darkness does the face of earth entomb…?” Ross [II, iv, 6-9]
“God’s benison go with you and with those that would make good bad, and friends of foes!” Old Man
“To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus — “ Macbeth [III, i, 48]-get ride of those who threaten his position
“Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter in my grip…” Macbeth [III, i, 61-62]
“Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content: ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” Lady Macbeth [III, ii, 4-7]
“We have scotched the snake, not killed it…” Macbeth [III, ii, 13]
“And make our faces wizards to our heart, disguising what they are.” Macbeth [III, ii, 34-35]-theme of deception-hide
“…I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in to saucy doubts and fears…” Macbeth [III, iv, 25-26]-insecure as ever-Fleance is alive
“Avaunt! And quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!” Macbeth [III, iv, 94]-the ghost
“It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood.” Macbeth [III, iv, 123]-from bloodshed will come bloodshed
“We are but young in deed.” Macbeth [III, iv, 145]-more murder/bloodshed to come
“Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” The Witches [IV, i, 10-11]
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes…” The Witches [IV, i, 44-45]-Macbeth arriving
“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff! Beware the Thane of Fife.” First Apparition (armed head) [IV, i, 71-72]
“Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! … Be bloody, bold and resolute! Laugh to scorn the pow’r of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” Second Apparition (bloody child) [IV, i, 78-81]
“Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Brinam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” Third Apparition (child crowned) [IV, i, 92-95]
“What, will the line stretch out to th’ crack of doom?” Macbeth [IV, i, 117]-referring to the multiple images of Banquo in the mirror
“From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand…” Macbeth [IV, i,147-148]-referring to Macduff fleeing to England to stand with Malcolm against Macbeth
“Your husband, he is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows the fits o’ th’ seasons… But cruel are the times, when we are traitors and do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor from what we fear, yet we now not what we fear…” Ross [IV, ii,15-19]-when he tries to warn Lady Macduff that she and her family may be in jeopardy, realizing also that Macduff is not in Fife to protect his family since he’s gone to England to help Malcolm rally trips to dethrone Macbeth
“This tyrant whose sole blisters our tongues, was once thought honest…” Malcolm [IV, iii, 12-13]-talking about how Macbeth was once considered worthy but is now an evil tyrant
“Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell: Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, yet grace must still look so.” Malcolm [IV, iii, 22-25]-Lucifer
“I think our country sinks beneath the yoke; it weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash is added to her wounds.” Malcolm [IV, iii, 39-41]-bloodshed-corruption
“O Scotland, Scotland!… O nation miserable!… Fare thee well! My hope ends here!” Macduff [IV, iii, 103-114]-referring to Malcolm’s description of himself as a lecherous, avaricious, tyrannical ‘ruler-to-be’
“Such welcome and unwelcome things at once ’tis hard to reconcile.” Macduff [IV, iii, 138-139]-referring to Malcolm’s sudden reversal in personality claims
“If it be mine, keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.” Macduff [IV, iii, 199-200]-referring to the news of his wide and home that Ross is reluctant to give him
“I shall do so; but I must also feel it as a man.” Macduff [IV, iii, 220-221]-in reply to Malcolm’s advice to ‘dispute it like a man’ when Ross tells of the slaughter of his family and servants-crying; feeling the emotions
“Our lac is nothing but our leave. Macbeth is ripe for shaking… The night is long that never finds the day.” Malcolm [IV, iii, 238-240]
“Out damned spot! Out, I say!… Wh would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” Lady Macbeth [V, i, 36-41]-trying to wash away the murder-since this is said in her sleep, it shows how utterly guilty she is
“The Thane of Fife had a wide. Where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean?” Lady Macbeth [V, i, 43-44]-Macduff had a wife… where is she now? (dead)
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Lady Macbeth [V, i, 51-52]-nothing can rid the smell of blood-nothing can undo the deed
“This disease is beyond my practice…Unnatural deeds of breed unnatural troubles… More needs she the divine than the physician.” Doctor [V, i, 60, 73-75]-only God can heal her
“To bed, to bed! There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come… What’s done cannot be undone.” Lady Macbeth [V, i, 67-70]-“what’s done is done”-same scene as (and reflect’s) Duncan’s murder
“Those he commands move only in command, nothing in love. Now does he feel his title hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” Angus [V, ii, 19-22]
“I am sick at heart… I have lived long enough. My way of life is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf, and that which should accompany old age, as honor, love obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have…” Macbeth [V, iii, 22-26]-he won’t have these things
“I’ll fight, till from my bones my flesh be hacked. Give me my armor.” Macbeth [V, iii, 32-33]-is ready to fight-puts armor on very early
“The queen, my lord, is dead.” Seyton [V, v, 16]-Lady Macbeth is dead and Macbeth seems unbothered-“inconvenient time”
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth [V, v, 19-28]
“I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born.” Macbeth [V, viii, 12-13]-claims that he won’t be killed by one of woman’s born
“Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.” Macduff [V, viii, 15-16]-Macduff’s mother had a cesarian section-breaks the charm-he wasn’t necessarily born of woman

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