Macbeth Quotations and Analysis

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  • Macbeth Quotes - "Mac's Not Hot" - Mr Bruff
    • "Look like th' innocent flower, but be the serpent under't"
      • MEANING: "You should look like an innocent flower, but be like the snake that hides underneath the flower."
      • THEME: appearance vs reality
      • Act 1, Scene 5 - meetings with Lady Macbeth
      • This is an early quotation to show the changes in Lady Macbeth
        • Lady Macbeth starts off as powerful.
        • Shows she has the power to influence Macbeth
      • Lady Macbeth suggests he should act innocent but should be cunning underneath the innocence.
    • "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't"
      • Act 2, Scene 2
      • MEANING:  "If Duncan hadn’t reminded me of my father when I saw him sleeping, I would have killed him myself."
      • First quotation to show weakness in Lady Macbeth.
        • Begins to show the change in Lady Macbeth as she does not seem so powerful as she did in the scenes before.
      • Shows Lady Macbeth to be humanly, because despite calling on the evil spirits a few scenes ago, she still shows that she does not want to kill someone.
    • "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, till thou applaud the deed"
      • Shows the change in character of Macbeth.
        • He rejects Lady Macbeth's help suggesting he has become evil himself and doesn't need to be persuaded.
          • Shows changes in Lady Macbeth too, as she becomes powerless when Macbeth rejects her help.
      • When Macbeth tries to kill Banquo, he hides it from Lady Macbeth.
      • "dearest chuck" shows Macbeth is speaking down to Lady Macbeth.
      • Act 3, Scene 2
      • MEANING: "It’s better you don’t know about it until after it’s done, when you can applaud it."
    • "Is this a dagger which I see before me"
      • MEANING: "Is this a dagger I see in front of me"
      • Act 2, Scene 1
      • A psychological effect of guilt on Macbeth as he could be hallucinating these daggers because he feels guilty.
      • The daggers could also be real.
        • THEME: supernatural
    • "spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here"
      • Act 1, Scene 5
      • MEANING: "spirits that assist murderous thoughts, make me less like a woman and more like a man"
      • Lady Macbeth reads the letter from Macbeth and then is asking for the evil spirits to take away her femininity so she can be powerful and strong enough to do what she feels she needs to do.
        • Lady Macbeth is defying the gender roles as she is not being the stereotypical female.
          • For example, she is not a quiet wife supporting her husband
        • Lady Macbeth is defying the contextual attitudes of the supernatural.
          • For example, in Shakespeare times, if you were caught being a witch, you would be sentenced to death (Witchcraft Act 1563).
            • Powerful moment for Lady Macbeth as she takes a risk by calling on the evil spirits.
    • "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear"
      • Act 3, Scene 2
      • The guilt is mentally breaking Macbeth. He can't cope with what he has done.
      • MEANING: "Argh! I feel like my mind is full of scorpions, my dear"
    • "A cry of women within"
      • Lady Macbeth dies offstage.
        • The powerful Lady Macbeth we saw at the start of the play is not even afforded a death on stage
          • Shakespeare wanted to save the emotion for Macbeth's death.
        • Shows she has no power at the end.
      • Act 5, Scene 5
      • MEANING:  "A sound of women crying offstage."
    • "So foul and fair a day I have not seen"
      • Act 1, Scene 3
      • Macbeth's language mirrors the witches language.
        • Suggests Macbeth is not so innocent and is as evil as the witches.
      • MEANING: "I have never seen a day that was so good and bad at the same time."
    • "Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen"
      • Act 5, Scene 9
      • MEANING: "of this dead butcher and his demon-like queen"
      • A description of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after their death by Malcolm.


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