Macbeth Quotes, Their Speakers and Importance

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” The witchesSets the scene for dark and foreboding things to come. A reference to the theme appearance versus reality. Could also be foreshadowing.
“A little water clears us of this deed.” Lady MacbethShe feels no remorse over killing Duncan (the king).
“Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes. Savagely slaughtered.” Ross to MacduffHe is giving Macduff the news that his family has been killed by Macbeth’s men.
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” Lady MacbethHer guilt over her role in the murders is making her see bloodstains on her hands that she tries to wash off when she sleepwalks.
“Let every soldier cut himself a bough.” MalcolmHe is ordering the soldiers to cut tree branches for camouflage, but this also brings the prophecy of the third apparition to truth–Birnam Wood is moving to Dunsinane. Malcolm is the child wearing the crown carrying a tree.
“Out, out brief candle!” MacbethA metaphor saying that life is short and ends when it is put out like a candle in a play on a stage.
“My wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still.” Macduff He feels responsible for the deaths of his family, and this is the reason for his revenge against Macbeth.
“Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” Third apparitionThe message which Macbeth takes literally thinking it is impossible for him to be killed since trees cannot uproot and move. He fails to realize there could be a hidden meaning. (Appearance vs. Reality) Irony
“I thought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more.’ Macbeth does murder sleep!” MacbethHe is feeling he will not be able to sleep anymore because of the guilt he feels for murdering Duncan.

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