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Macbeth Act 1 quotes (IMPORTANT)
Terms in this set (26)
Fair is foul, and foul is fair;
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
The witches. In the fog, it's hard to tell what's really there. Are they even there?
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name.
Macbeth is a brave soldier and a powerful man but he is not a virtuous one. Although he is introduced in the play as a warrior hero, he is essentially a human being whose hubris and private ambitions are made clear to the audience through his asides and soliloquies. The adjective "brave" immediately identifies Macbeth's resilient character to the audience in the exposition of the play.
Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution. Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops
Macbeth shows no mercy to his rivalry. Macbeth later chopped Macdonwald's head and stuck his head on their castle walls.
What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
King Duncan. Duncan is shown that he is caring and holds some sort of appreciation towards Macbeth however, Macbeth ruins this.
Speak, if you can: what are you?
This defines the characteristic Macbeth has from the very beginning of the play which is essentially bravery.
All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!
One of the most important quotes because it tells Macbeth his future and what leads him to do such murderous deeds. They play on Macbeth's ambition and plant the idea of murder in his head or controlling his fate.
Look, how our partner's rapt.
Look at Macbeth—he's in a daze. Rapt means seized or kidnapped. This could potentially mean that Macbeth is in submissive to some sort of supernatural being. That could lead him him to kill Duncan (out of his control).
If chance will have me king, why, chance may
Without my stir.
Macbeth clearly chooses to let "chance" take place. In the line of thought of Macbeth chance is the same as fate showing its the same thing.
My thought, murder yet is but fantastical
The witches said nothing about the concept of murder and the first thought Macbeth has about being king is murder. That either shows that the "rapt" has taken over or Macbeth has had that murderous ambition alone.
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
Macbeth (dramatic irony: he unwittingly makes a remark similar to the witches statement; audience would recognise this)
Act 1, Scene 3 - Macbeth - opening line - paradox similar to witches - potential for supernaturalness
You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.
It was one or another. Gender being a theme runs through the whole play and the witches are being prevented from being women by having a beard.
I'll drain him dry as hay.
Macbeth is definitely worried about male impotence. Does Macbeth actually associate sexual potency with masculinity?
If you can look into the seeds of time
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.
Banquo is showing us how to approach the supernatural: very carefully. He doesn't want any favours from them, and he's not afraid of ticking them off.
For in my way it lies.
Once he learns that King Duncan has named Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland and heir to the crown of Scotland, Macbeth isn't content to wait around for "chance" to intervene. He decides that he must take action, or "o'erleap" the obstacles in his path to the throne. By murder.
The service and loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself.
Macbeth is doing his part. However, this contrasts his inner emotions only moments ago. He was just thinking about killing Duncan and now he is being "genuine". This is also without Lady Macbeth's input where she says "look like an innocent flower but be the serpent under it".
There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face.
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.
King Duncan says that the former Thane of Cawdor (who turned out to be a traitor) seemed to be a "gentleman" he could "trust"; ergo, it's impossible to know a man's mind by reading his face. But, he's doing the exact same thing with Macbeth. Dramatic irony.
Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised.
Here's another count against ambition: After reading the letter from her husband (which recounts the witches' prophesy), Lady Macbeth's thoughts immediately turn to murder. Problem: Macbeth has ambition, but he doesn't have the nerve to see it through. Luckily Lady Macbeth is man enough for both of them.
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue; look like th' innocent
But be the serpent under't.
Whenever flowers and serpents come into it, we're ready to suspect Eve and that pesky snake. And sure enough, here's a woman convincing a man to share in her own, nasty little vision of the way things should be.
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crowned withal.
Lady Macbeth's plan is just another version of treason: taking power that doesn't belong to you.
Unsex me here
Here, Lady Macbeth gets her freak on by calling on "spirits" to, basically, make her into the man her husband can't be.
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts
Does Lady Macbeth actually believe she's calling on spirits? In other words, is she herself a witch of some kind? Or is this all just a metaphor for evil thoughts? It matters, because it affects how we read her madness at the end. Is she being driven crazy by these spirits, or is she having a psychotic break from realising how awful her actions were?
Fair and noble hostess,
We are your guest to-night.
Since we already know that "fair is foul," Duncan's attempted compliment comes with a big helping of dramatic irony.
The future in the instant.
Her dreams of being the wife of a king are so vivid and so real to her, it's as though time has completely collapsed, and she feels the "future in the instant."
to look so green and pale -
I dare do all that may become a man
So, by calling her husband "green and pale," Lady Macbeth is basically calling her husband a virgin girl. His response was essentially I am a man.
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out
Lady Macbeth has made breastfeeding monstrous. Macbeth has promised to kill the king however, Lady Macbeth is talking about her child.
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.
Letting fate take over.
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