Gothic Revision

Key quotes, context and interpretations of Macbeth

  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 10-05-13 14:39

Act One Scene One and the Witches

Plunged into the action with the three witches

  • 'in thunder, lightning or in rain' - pathetic fallacy, very gothic weather
  • 'fair is foul, and foul is fair'

The three witches are women signifying the deviant

Them giving predictions foreshadows the chaos and Macbeth's downfall/transgression

Women challenge the male order/power

Interpretations of the witches:

  • 'agents of the devil' linked with satan

Context - witches break 'the great chain of being' - category violation

  • 'you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret' - neither male not female
  • 'that look not like the inhabitants o' the earth' - are they human? - don't belong to a category in the chain

'So foul and fair a day' - mirrors what was said at the beginning by the witches but this time by Macbeth

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Lady Macbeth


Gender roles - breaking the natural order and the great chain of being (context)

Denies her femininity


  • 'tis to full o' th' milk of human kindness' - milk associated with femininity
  • 'come you spirits' - wants to be possessed to get rid of her femininity in order to be able to kill the king
  • 'make thick my blood' - blood will not be able to reach her heart so not emotions
  • 'unsex me here' - wants to get rid of the fact she is a female and rid herself of motherly instincts in order to kill the king

Very controlling over Macbeth - again breaks the chain - convinces him to kill the king

  • ' you would be so much more the man' - questions his masculinity in order to fully convince him
  • 'if we should fail?' - doubt
  • 'art thou afeard'
  • 'and live a coward'
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