This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull 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!’ Explanation for Quotation 1 >> Lady Macbeth speaks these words in Act 1, scene 5, lines 36–52, as she awaits the arrival of King Duncan at her castle. We have previously seen Macbeth’s uncertainty about whether he should take the crown by killing Duncan. In this speech, there is no such confusion, as Lady Macbeth is clearly willing to do whatever is necessary to seize the throne. Her strength of purpose is contrasted with her husband’s tendency to waver. This speech shows the audience that Lady Macbeth is the real steel behind Macbeth and that her ambition will be strong enough to drive her husband forward. At the same time, the language of this speech touches on the theme of masculinity— “unsex me here / . . . / . . . Come to my woman’s breasts, / And take my milk for gall,” Lady Macbeth says as she prepares herself to commit murder. The 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. Close 2. 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. Explanation for Quotation 2 >>
damned spot. scene 7. When Macbeth believed his hand was irreversibly bloodstained earlier in the play. two. Now.) The enormity of Macbeth’s crime has awakened in him a powerful sense of guilt that will hound him throughout the play. It may be a reflection of her mental and emotional state that she is not speaking in verse. out.” “deep damnation. who will indeed eventually destroy Macbeth. Fie. Out. Close 4. Now he hears a mysterious knocking on his gate. The destruction that comes from unchecked ambition will continue to be explored as one of the play’s themes. he admits that his only reason for committing murder. scene 2. that we but teach / Bloody instructions which. Macbeth debates whether he should kill Duncan. I say. which seems to promise doom. When he lists Duncan’s noble qualities (he “[h]ath borne his faculties so meek”) and the loyalty that he feels toward his king (“I am his kinsman and his subject”). when every noise appals me? What hands are here! Ha. By the end of the play. return / To plague th’inventor.65). Making the green one red. this is one of the few moments in the play when a major character—save for the witches. fie. being taught. Her inability to sleep was foreshadowed in the voice that her husband thought he heard while killing the king—a voice crying out that Macbeth . and Macbeth’s sense that “all great Neptune’s ocean” cannot cleanse him—that there is enough blood on his hands to turn the entire sea red—will stay with him until his death. Macbeth’s fear that “[w]e still have judgement here. Whence is that knocking?— How is’t with me. scene 1. specifically Duncan’s blood. but this resolve will only last until his wife returns and once again convinces him.” foreshadows the way that his deeds will eventually come back to haunt him. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No. The imagery in this speech is dark—we hear of “bloody instructions. as she sleepwalks through Macbeth’s castle on the eve of his battle against Macduff and Malcolm. “ambition. Hell is murky. to go ahead with their plot.In this soliloquy. who speak in four-foot couplets—strays from iambic pentameter. 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? Explanation for Quotation 4 >> These words are spoken by Lady Macbeth in Act 5. As the soliloquy ends. lines 55–61.65). Macbeth seems to resolve not to kill Duncan. and the crime was accompanied by supernatural portents. the person knocking is Macduff. He has just murdered Duncan. “A little water clears us of this deed” (2. She is completely undone by guilt and descends into madness. this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine.” and a “poisoned chalice”—and suggests that Macbeth is aware of how the murder would open the door to a dark and sinful world. serves as the symbol of that guilt.2. she will share Macbeth’s sense that Duncan’s murder has irreparably stained them with blood. Lady Macbeth’s response to this speech will be her prosaic remark. my lord. however. At the same time. they pluck out mine eyes. —why.2. At the same time. lines 1–28. Lady Macbeth had told him. by the strength of her will. Close 3. she too sees blood. then ’tis time to do’t. Explanation for Quotation 3 >> Macbeth says this in Act 2. lines 30–34.” suddenly seems an insufficient justification for the act. however. Earlier in the play. Blood. One. “A little water clears us of this deed” (2. we are reminded of just how grave an outrage it is for the couple to slaughter their ruler while he is a guest in their house. she possessed a stronger resolve and sense of purpose than her husband and was the driving force behind their plot to kill Duncan. (In fact. which is found in Act 1.
scene iii There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face. and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time. Explanation for Quotation 5 >> These words are uttered by Macbeth after he hears of Lady Macbeth’s death. in their destructive power. there is a conspiracy of sorts between the audience and the actors. implying that she already knows that darkness intimately. have created their own hell. the murders they committed cannot harm them. a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. on his damned quarrel smiling. because. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Act I. She should have died hereafter.” Macbeth’s statement that “[l]ife’s but a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage” can be read as Shakespeare’s somewhat deflating reminder of the illusionary nature of the theater. --Macbeth. Tomorrow. full of sound and fury. His speech insists that there is no meaning or purpose in life. Macbeth’s comment calls attention to this conspiracy and partially explodes it—his nihilism embraces not only his own life but the entire play. chance may crown me. So. Act I. and which will not. / Signifying nothing. scene i Fortune. The instruments of darkness tell us truths. If everything is meaningless. Win us with honest trifles. too. but it segues quickly into a speech of such pessimism and despair—one of the most famous speeches in all of Shakespeare—that the audience realizes how completely his wife’s passing and the ruin of his power have undone Macbeth. Act I. and tomorrow. with his wife dead and armies marching against him. scene ii If you can look into the seeds of time. there is also a defensive and self-justifying quality to his words. There would have been a time for such a word. --Captain. And then is heard no more. Yet. Macbeth is only a “player” himself. why. Rather. full of sound and fury. Act I. asserting that as long as her and her husband’s power is secure. where they are tormented by guilt and insanity. like everything else. Signifying nothing. and foul is fair. can be seen as an event “full of sound and fury. Act I. in Act 5. --Banquo. scene iii If chance will have me king. Close 5. they too “signify nothing. Given the great love between them. too. “What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?” she asks. scene 5. scene iv . Showed like a rebel's whore. But her guilt-racked state and her mounting madness show how hollow her words are. his response is oddly muted. --Witches. to betray's In deepest consequence. brief candle. --Banquo. the play. to win us to our harm. does the army outside her castle. strutting on an Elizabethan stage. Life’s but a walking shadow.was murdering sleep. out. The pair. --Duncan. In any play. It is a tale Told by an idiot. then Macbeth’s awful crimes are somehow made less awful. Out. lines 16–27.” One can easily understand how. / Signifying nothing. scene iii And oftentimes. as both pretend to accept the play’s reality. Macbeth succumbs to such pessimism. Act I. After all. life “is a tale / Told by an idiot. If we take his words to heart. And her delusion that there is a bloodstain on her hand furthers the play’s use of blood as a symbol of guilt. And say which grain will grow.” she says.” Fair is foul. Speak. “Hell is murky.
Act I. Act I. scene iv . and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would. Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief! --Lady Macbeth. scene ii There 's daggers in men's smiles. Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums. --Lady Macbeth. had I so sworn As you have done to this. It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great. Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet. 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than. And dash'd the brains out. scene v I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent. by destruction. dwell in doubtful joy. topfull Of direst cruelty. but without The illness should attend it. scene v Look like the innocent flower. --Malcolm. scene ii I am in blood Stepp'd in so far. he died As one that had been studied in his death. scene v Come. --Macbeth. Yet do I fear thy nature. Act I. --Macbeth. a false creation. Act I. Who dares do more. And take my milk for gall. Act I. scene ii Nought's had.Nothing in his life Became him like the leaving it. --Macbeth. Act III. --Macbeth. scene iv Stars. And fill me from the crown to the toe. in form as palpable As this which now I draw. --Lady Macbeth. Act I. let me clutch thee. you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here. --Lady Macbeth. To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd. Returning were as tedious as go o'er. --Macbeth. --Donalbain. but only Vaulting ambition. --Macbeth. --Lady Macbeth. But be the serpent under it. is none. scene i To show an unfelt sorrow is an office Which the false man does easy. fatal vision. Act III. The handle toward my hand? Come. Act I. sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind. --Lady Macbeth. Act II. should I wade no more. scene i The wine of life is drawn. As 'twere a careless trifle. scene vii Is this a dagger which I see before me. Act II. --Lady Macbeth. all's spent Where our desire is got without content. scene vii Screw your courage to the sticking-place. Art thou not. and yet I see thee still. Act II. Stop up the access and passage to remorse. you murdering ministers. scene vii I dare do all that may become a man. Act I. nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts. and shalt be What thou art promised. and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. and Cawdor. while it was smiling in my face. scene iv Glamis thou art. Act III. --Malcolm. which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other. Act I. scene iii What's done is done. Act II. scene vii I have given suck. make thick my blood. I have thee not. Art not without ambition. hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires. that. That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose.
scene ii I have almost forgot the taste of fears. lightning. this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine.( Quote Act I." Macbeth Quote (Act V. Scene I). he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed. scene v "There 's daggers in men's smiles". --Malcolm. "Fair is foul. Signifying nothing. and my fell of hair Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors.Double. "Out. full of sound and fury. "If chance will have me king. scene v Life's but a walking shadow. The time has been. It is a tale Told by an idiot. "When shall we three meet again in thunder. Who dares do more is none". as 't were a careless trifle". Scene I). "I dare do all that may become a man. And then is heard no more. Scene I). double toil and trouble. Macbeth Quote (Act I. When the battle 's lost and won". "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No. . Act IV. Act IV. Sc. scene i By the pricking of my thumbs. "Double. scene iii Out. --Lady Macduff.( Quote Act V. Fire burn. "I bear a charmed life". Act V. familiar to my slaughterous thoughts Cannot once start me. II). --Witches. scene i Those he commands move only in command. "Yet do I fear thy nature. I). --Malcolm. . damned spot! out. Act IV. why. --Angus." Macbeth Quote (Act IV. Nothing in love: now does he feel his title Hang loose about him. "Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it. Scene II). Sc. chance may crown me". Act V. Sc. and cauldron bubble. Macbeth Quote (Act I. damned spot! out." Macbeth Quote (Act I. Macbeth ( Quote Act III.( Quote Act I. It is too full o' the milk of human kindness. Act V. Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Sc. Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace. Macbeth Quote (Act V. scene ii Angels are bright still. Our fears do make us traitors. though the brightest fell. "what 's done is done". VIII). a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. --Second Witch. ( Quote Act II. scene iii Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak Whispers the o'er-fraught heart. . and bids it break. Act V. --Macbeth. Yet grace must still look so. Macbeth Quote (Act I. --Macbeth. or in rain? When the hurlyburly 's done. I say!" . I say! --Lady Macbeth. VII). double toil and trouble. and foul is fair". Scene III). Sc. "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Act IV. Scene I). III). Act IV. scene i When our actions do not. Direness. Something wicked this way comes. Sc. my senses would have cool'd To hear a night-shriek. Scene V). IV). like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief. making the green one red" Macbeth Quote (Act II.
Scene V). signifying nothing. Scene V). which o'erleaps itself. The handle toward my hand?" Macbeth Quote (Act II. full of sound and fury." ( Quote Act I." Macbeth Quote (Act I. Scene VII). . 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. "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent. brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow. out."Look like the innocent flower. Scene I). but only vaulting ambition. but be the serpent under 't." Macbeth Quote (Act V. "Is this a dagger which I see before me. "Out. and falls on the other.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.