AQA LITB GOTHIC Key Macbeth quotes explained


Macbeth Quotes

“If I had died but an hour before this chance, / I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, / There's nothing serious in mortality: / All is but toys: renown and grace is dead; / The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees / Is left this vault to brag of.” (Act II, scene III). Enjoy this fine example of verbal irony: the hearers assume Macbeth's lamentation is caused by the death of the king; Macbeth actually speaks of his murdering of the king. In this passage, Macbeth expresses his guilt over what he has done, a guilt which he sheds as the play progresses and Macbeth orders the murders of Banquo and Macduff's family.

“Nothing in his life / Became him like the leaving it; he died / As one that had been studied in his death, / To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd, / As 'twere a careless triflee.” (I, iv) Malcolm's description of the thane of Cawdor's execution for treason foreshadows the death of the new thane of Cawdor, Macbeth.

“I have no spur / To ***** the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself / And falls on the other.” (I, vii). In an attempt to get psyched up for the murder of Duncan, Macbeth concludes that he has no real reason to kill the king, other than his own ambition to become king. The results of this action demonstrates the dangers of unchecked ambition.

“How is’t with me, when every noise appals me? / What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes. / 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.” (II, ii, 56-­‐61) Macbeth says this to himself after murdering Duncan. His guilt causes him to shake at every noise. His hands symbolize the murder. Neptune is an allusion to the Roman god of the sea, whose waters could not wipe the blood-­‐-­‐meaning guilt-­‐-­‐from Macbeth's hands. In case you're wondering, incarnadine means a pinkish, reddish color similar to the color of flesh or blood, the same color as the seas if Macbeth were to wash his hands in them. The entire passage exemplifies hyperbole and demonstrates the extent of Macbeth's guilt, a guilt which he no longer feels after the murders of Banquo and Macduff's family.

“Out, damned spot! out, I say!” (V, i) This line in act V is spoken by Lady Macbeth as she sleepwalks and is an outward manifestation of her inward guilt. After the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth chides Macbeth for his lack of masculinity and tells him to forget the deed and move forward as king. As the play continues and Macbeth loses all feeling of remorse for his treacherous deeds, Lady Macbeth begins to feel guilt for her role in the deaths of Banquo and Macduff's family.


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