Macbeth Quotes Flashcard Example #98328

Macbeth Quotes
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.
Macbeth aside in Act 1, Scene 3, Line 147-49
Why would I mess with anything if I am already guarenteed the kingship?
Relates to fate theme
he unseam’d him from the nave to the chops
Captain to others, Act 1, Scene 2, Line 22
Context: The Captain is describing how Macbeth, in battle, killed the traitor Macdonwald, to Duncan, Malcolm ; others.
Modern Translation: Macbeth killed the person by slicing open the enemy’s torso.
So what?: This quote depicts the brave, yet morbidly SAVAGE way in which Macbeth killed others, giving an intriguing introduction for the reader to Macbeth.
At one fell swoop?
Macduff to Malcolm, Act 4, Scene 3, Line 219
Context: Macduff is talking to Malcolm, in despair about the fact that Macbeth ordered the death of his family.
Modern Translation: All at once, SAVAGELY
So what?: The quote demonstrates Macbeth’s SAVAGENESS in killing others for his own benefit.
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t” Lady Macbeth to Macbeth Act 1 Scene 5 Lines 64-65
Modern Translation- Appear to bring no harm, but actually be dangerous.
Context- Macbeth has told Lady Macbeth that he will be king, so she tells him to kill Duncan to fulfill the prophecy, but don’t let any see your evil intentions.
So what- Lady Macbeth is convincing Macbeth to become evil and kill Duncan. This relates to the theme of things not appearing as they are.
But screw your courage to the sticking-place, / and we’ll not fail. (Lady Macbeth to Macbeth in Act 1, scene 7, lines 60-61)
Modern Translation- Take the courage that you already have and strengthen it, then you will be able to kill Duncan
Context- Macbeth is having doubts on whether or not he should kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth convinces him to man up and kill him
So What?- This relates to ambition. Macbeth wasn’t sure that killing Duncan was right, but Lady Macbeth’s ambition to be queen was too strong and she chides him to be strong and resolute.
from this moment / The very firstlings of my heart shall be / The firstlings of my hand
Modern translation: From this moment, when I decide to do something, I am going to do it immediately.
Context: Macbeth regrets that he let Macduff flee to England because of his inaction. He resolves to act as soon as he makes up his mind on something.
So What?: This quote is related to Macbeth’s insanity. He will now act without thinking his actions through.
-Sam Shumate
Bring forth men-children only; / For thy undaunted mettle should compose / Nothing but males.
Translation: I hope you only give birth to only men, for you are no part woman.
Context: Lady Macbeth describes her plan to Macbeth, with all the sinister details.
So What?: This quote relates to the cruelty and insanity of Lady Macbeth, showing us her twisted intentions. Even Macbeth is starting to think that she is taking it too far. Supports the theme of masculinity as the traits needed to commit such evil or unsavory acts.
“It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood,”(3.2.128)
Translation- there’s and old saying, the dead will come back for revenge

context- This quote happens when Macbeth talks with Lady Macbeth after Fleance escapes the scene. He says this to say Banquo will come back to kill him

So what? This quote relates to the theme of good vs evil. Macbeth is the evil that Banquo will come back to get

“By the prick of my thumb/ something wicked this way comes,” (4.1. 44-45)
Translation- I see misfortune coming this way.

Context- The witches are conversing about Macbeth, and one of them senses something bad is going to happen.

So what? This quote relates to the theme of fate. This is because the witches know the fate of Macbeth and what is coming his way.

Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murder sleep,”
Translation: I thought I heard a voice say “Do not sleep anymore! Macbeth will murder sleep,”
Context: After Macbeth murders the king, the guilt is so overwhelming that he starts to imagine that he is hearing voices.
So What?: This quote highlights Macbeth’s insanity because he is hearing voices. The guilt is so overwhelming that he is losing his mind. He can never rest soundly again because of what he has done.
“Yet I will try the last. Before my body / I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff/ And damn’d be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!” Macbeth to Macduff (Act 5, Scene 8, Lines 32-35)
Modern Translation: I will defend myself with my shield until I can not fight anymore. Let’s fight, Macduff. It will be him that falls first.

Context: Macbeth is yelling at Macduff and challenging him to a fight. He believes he will win.

So What?: Even though Macbeth and anyone who remains loyal to him are being overrun by Macduff and Malcolm, Macbeth still believes he can win and is bolstered by the prophecy. This is his last fight which he loses even if he thinks he is invincible.

“Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving it.”
Malcolm to Duncan, Act 1 Scene 4 Lines 7-8
Modern translation: The best thing Cawdor ever did in his time was die.
Context: The Thane of Cawdor before Macbeth betrayed the king, so he was executed.
So What? Goes to illustrate how much the Scots value loyalty. Because the Thane turned on Duncan, any good he ever did was overshadowed by this act. This is the reason that Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor in the first place. Unfortunately, he follows in the steps of his predecessor, and betrays Duncan.
Things without all remedy / should be without regard: what’s done, is done.
Lady Macbeth to Macbeth, Act 3 scene 2 lines 12-13
Modern translation: We shouldn’t waste time on things that can’t be fixed, we need to move on and realize that life has no undo button.
Context: Lady Macbeth is trying to console Macbeth, telling him not to feel so guilty about the murder.
So What? In telling Macbeth not to stress about one murder, she is unintentionally encouraging him to commit more murder without guilt.
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!
Lady Macbeth to Self, Act 1 scene 5 lines 39-42
Modern translation: I no longer want to be a sweet, kind woman. I need to become a mean, evil manly person, so that I may support my husband in these murders without guilt.
Context: Lady Macbeth is preparing herself to be evil so that she may assist her husband in murdering Duncan.
So What? Supports the theme of masculinity/gender in having confidence or ability to murder. Too much for a woman, so she calls on everything masculine to take over.
“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.” Act 5, Scene 5, Lines 22-27
Modern Translation: The flame has gone out in such short time! Life is no more than an illusion. It’s like a poor actor who struts and worries on stage and is never heard from again. It is a story told by an idiot, full of sound and emotional disturbance, Meaning nothing.
Context: Lady Macbeth has been announced dead and she is brought to Macbeth is saying that her life was so short and that life is an illusion and it means nothing.
So What?: This is when Macbeth starts to realize what he has done and that he only has the prophecy to hold onto.
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red.” Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 63-66
Modern Translation:
Can all the water in the world wash away the blood / Will the water clean my hand? No my hands will stain the seas red / turning the green sea into the Red Sea.
After killing Duncan Macbeth is wrapped in guilt. The blood symbolizes sins and how they will never go away. He says that not even all the water in the world could clean my hands. That the blood will stain the seas instead.
So What?:
This quote relates to the motif of blood that symbolizes guilt throughout the whole play. Macbeth is starting to go insane because of the guilt and it is the start of his murderous actions. Also allusion to the Roman god Neptune to emphasize the degree of the guilt.
Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him. Act 4 Scene 1 Lines 92-94
Model Translation: Macbeth shall never be dethroned until the woods of Dunsinane Hill begin to move and come against him.
Context: The three weird sisters are informing Macbeth of when in the future he will fall from his throne.
So what?: This quote is one of the three apparitions from the three weird sisters on his future reign as King of Scotland.
“What, can the devil speak true?” Act 1 Scene 3 Line 107
Model Translation: Banquo is saying, “Can the devil speak the truth?”. Implying that he’s amazed by the news he’s just received.
Context: At this point in the story Banquo is shocked at the news that Ross is giving Macbeth on being the new Thane of Cawdor.
So what?: This quote conveys how in awe Banquo is to what Ross has told him, basically an over exaggeration to portray his feelings.
Yet do I fear thy nature; / It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way. Act 1 scene 5 lines 15-17
Modern Translation
Lady Macbeth doesn’t think that Macbeth can kill Duncanbecause he is too full of kindness to kill him.
Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth telling her about the witches and she doesn’t think that he will be able to kill Duncan and become King.
So what?
Lady Macbeth doubts her husband is enough of a man to murder him and her lack of faith will drive him to commit murders.
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests; I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born Act 5 scene 8, lines 11-14
Modern translation
Kill someone else, I am blessed and can’t be killed by anyone born of a woman.
Macduff enters the castle and starts to fight Macbeth and Macbeth and Macbeth is too cocky.
So what?
The prophecy gives Macbeth strength. Macbeth thinks he can not be killed because of the prophecy, but he is wrong because Macduff was ripped from his mother’s womb.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand?” Macbeth to himself (Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 33,34)
Modern Translation: Is there really a dagger here? I can grab the handle.
Context: Macbeth is hallucinating and sees a dagger which is not visible to anyone else. He is deciding whether he should grab the dagger.
So What?: This is the moment when Macbeth has to decide whether he will stay good or become evil.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” (1.1.11)
Modern translation- Things that look good can go bad, and things that are bad can go well.
Context- The play begins, and the three witches show a magical theme.
So what- This paradox sets a spooky ominous theme for the play and introduces the idea that things are not always what they seem.
“Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand” Lady Macbeth to herself Act 5 Scene 1 Lines 45-46
Modern translation: I can still smell the blood. There is nothing that smells good enough to hide my doing.
Context: Lady Macbeth has been pushed to her limits and has gone insane. She is whispering crazily to herself while trying to wash imaginary blood off her hands.
So What? Lady Macbeth is saying there is nothing in this world that could rid her of her sins and murders she assisted in. They will always be known and she can’t erase them.
“Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done’t.” Lady Macbeth to herself Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 12-13
Modern translation: If Duncan didn’t look like my father while he was asleep, I would have done it.
Context: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were planning on killing Duncan in order for Macbeth to take his title. Lady Macbeth originally wanted to do it herself as she thought macbeth was not strong enough.
So What? This shows that even though Lady Macbeth has talked about evil and wished to rid of all kindness, she still has a soft spot. She is not entirely monster and has limits to her cruelty.
“None of woman born shall harm Macbeth” Act 4 scene 1 lines 80-81, the second apparition is speaking and is speaking to Macbeth
Modern translation: Nobody who was ever born from a woman shall ever harm Macbeth
Context: The first apparition told Macbeth to fear Macduff, the second apparition comforts him by saying the no man ever born from a woman will hurt him. Because of this, Macbeth decides that he is going to kill Macduff’s wife and children.
So What? Although the first apparition said to fear Macduff, the other said that he wouldn’t be harmed so he chose to believe the first one and as a result he went after him. Imagery is used in the apparition in bloody child.
“So fair and foul a day I have not seen” Act 1 scene 3 line 38, Macbeth is speaking to Banquo
Modern translation: I have never seen a day in my life that has been so bad and so good at the same time. It’s bad because of the witches raising a story and good because Macbeth had victories on the battlefield
Context: Macbeth and Banquo have just entered, Macbeth says “so fair and foul a day I have not seen” which is quite similar to the quote from the beginning of the play said by the witches. They have won a great battle, but lost many lives in the process.
So What? “Fair is foul and foul is fair” meaning that everything good is bad and everything bad is good. And things aren’t always as they seem on the surface.
Alliteration was used to enhance the witch’s supernatural nature.
“Methought I heard a voice cry “sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep” Act 2 scene 2 lines 38-39, Macbeth is speaking to Lady Macbeth
Modern translation: “I thought I heard someone say “you will sleep no more, Macbeth murdered sleep.” Macbeth is saying that he will never be able to have a peaceful sleep again because he will be kept awake by the guilt.
Context: Macbeth has just murdered Banquo and he feels extreme guilt, therefore causing hallucinations
So What? A big theme in the play is not being able to hide your true identity. He doesn’t want to admit that he murdered people, and he is trying to hide it. The guilt of murdering the king will never allow Macbeth to sleep peacefully again. Personification (sleep cannot be murdered).
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say! Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?” Act 5 scene 1 line 31-36 Lady Macbeth is speaking to herself
Modern translation: “come out, damned stain (the blood)! Out, now! Who would have ever thought that this old man (Duncan) would have so much blood in him?”
Context: Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and is imagining the blood stain is still on her hands. She is referring to the blood of Duncan who had just been murdered by Macbeth.
So What? Lady macbeth is sleepwalking and hallucinating that the blood stains are still on her hands, portraying the theme of the play, things are not always as they seem. In other words, the blood isn’t actually on her hands
“Yet do I fear thy nature It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness”
Plain English: I’m afraid he is to kind to do what may been to be done.
After reading a letter from Macbeth in which he shares the witches’s prophecies, Lady Macbeth is talking about Macbeth, and she is saying he is too kind and he doesn’t have the sickness to kill his leader. He is not the kind of person to do that.
So what? This begins to introduce the theme of gender/masculinity in what character traits are necessary to see the prophecy fulfilled.
“Macduff was from his mother’s womb / Untimely ripp’d”
Macduff is talking about himself and this quote is significant because that means all the prophecies have come true. Macduff was not born from his mother, he was C – Sectioned.
“Here lay Duncan, / His silver skin laced with his golden blood; / And his gash’d stabs look’d like a breach in nature”
This is Macbeth talking about dead king Duncan, and he is saying this is precious King Duncan and his skin is beautiful and this is so unusual in nature that someone this great should die. But, in reality he killed him.
So what? This bit of dramatic irony highlights the idea that things are not always what they seem.
“Double, double toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” (4.1 21-22)
Modern translation- double double, exhaustion and trouble, leads to fire burning
Context- the witches are around a cauldron tossing things inside that are unusual to be put in something you may eat
So what?- Macbeth is so worried about what may come in the future that he has almost completely forgot about the troubles in the present it also raises concern on if they can be trusted.
“To know my deed, ’twere best not known myself” (2.2 74)
Modern translation- instead of living with my crime I would rather be passed out
Context- lady Macbeth believes that someone is knocking after the crime has just taken place
So what?- Macbeth is showing guilt that this is a mistake and he would have rather not done it

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