Top 2 Macbeth quotes

  • "The raven himself is hoarse

    That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

    Under my battlements. Come, you spirits

    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full

    Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood,

    Stop up th’access and passage to remorse,

    That no compunctious visitings of nature

    Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

    Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,

    And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,

    Wherever in your sightless substances

    You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,

    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,

    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,

    To cry ‘Hold, hold!’"

    - Lady Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5

    This is Lady Macbeth's first soliloquy and it occurs just as she has learned about Macbeth's prophecy as well as the arrival of the king. Many characters in the play often link masculinity with cruelty, and none of the characters do so more than Lady Macbeth. In this haunting prayer, she prays to the devils around so that they may change the parts of her that make her a woman and instead replace them with something cruel. The language's sexual tone is also deliberate since the prevailing idea at the time was that women became witches by having sex with demons and ghosts, which is what Lady Macbeth seems to be insinuating.

  • "If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well

    It were done quickly. If th’assassination

    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch

    With his surcease success: that but this blow

    Might be the be-all and the end-all, here,

    But here upon this bank and shoal of time,

    We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases

    We still have judgement here, that we but teach

    Bloody instructions which, being taught, return

    To plague th’inventor. This even-handed justice

    Commends th’ingredience of our poisoned chalice

    To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:

    First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,

    Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,

    Who should against his murderer shut the door,

    Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan

    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been

    So clear in his great office, that his virtues

    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against

    The deep damnation of his taking-off,

    And pity, like a naked new-born babe,

    Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin, horsed

    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,

    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye

    That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur

    To prick the sides of my intent, but only

    Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself

    And falls on th’other."

    - Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7

    Macbeth begins to experience doubt about his plans to murder his king. He considers how well he has been treated by Duncan, who is not only his king but also his relative and an honorable man. Macbeth foreshadows his own destruction and ruin as he says that people have to pay the price of their sins in their own lifetime. This resolve to not murder the king is shortly broken at the firm and insistent words of Lady Macbeth.