Macbeth Key Quotes and Ananlysis

Act 1 Scene 1

"When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?"  - The Witches

Pathetic Fallacy -

  • immediately establishes a sense of suspense and supernatural. The audience is taken into a world of darkness and evil. Suggests that chaos is about to unfold.

 Rhyme -

  • the witches use rhyme throughout the play which brings a sense of incantation and magical charm. It shows the audience how inhumane and confusing the witches are.

"When the battle's lost and won" - The Witches

Paradox -

  • this phrase seems to be impossible and only understandable to the witches. This creates a sense of confusion and upsets the natural order of things. 


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Act 1 Scene 2

"What bloody man is that?" - Duncan

The first thing we hear Duncan say - introduces a theme of bloodshed and brutality from the start of the play, creating a strong gothic element.

Imagery -

  • "Blood" is used as a motif throughout the play. The fact that Duncan's introduces this theme of bloodshed could be ironic as later on in the play, he is a bloody man himself - a murder victim.

"What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won" - Duncan

Repetition -

  • Duncan echoes the speech of the witches from Scene 1, immediately linking Macbeth with the witches and the supernatural. This engages the reader.

Irony -

  • Duncan calls Macbeth "noble", which is ironic later on as Macbeth betrays Duncan and kills him, show he is disloyal and untrustworthy.
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Act 1 Scene 3

"So foul and fair a day I have not seen" - Macbeth

These words instantly introduce us to the theme of appearance vs reality, that things aren't always as they seem. This is a reoccurring theme throughout the play and is set up here to foreshadow that Macbeth will be confronted with these situations throughout the play.  

Repetition -

  •  Macbeth's first words in the play echo the paradoxical speech of the Witches, further linking Macbeth to the supernatural.
  • Although, Macbeth's meaning of these juxtaposing ideas is different from the witches; Macbeth believes the two are contrasting, whereas, in the witches' speech, they believe the words to be equal.
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Act 1 Scene 4

"He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust" - Duncan

"Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires" - Macbeth

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