Notes to Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 2

Notes on the notes:

<<    5 content  contentment

<<    7 doubtful  apprehensive

<<    9 Of sorriest fancies your companions making  i.e., constantly going over your most wretched fantasies (An example of the kind of thing that Lady Macbeth refers to could be Macbeth's notion, shortly after he murders King Duncan, that if he tries to wash the blood from his hands, they will " The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red.")

<<    10 Using  i.e., returning again and again to

<<    11 Things without all remedy / Should be without regard  things that are beyond any possible remedy should kept beyond thought

<<    13 scorch'd  [merely] slashed

<<    14 close  heal
     whilst our poor malice / Remains in danger of her former tooth  while our feeble enmity is still in danger from the same [poisonous] fang

<<    16 let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer  let the whole structure of the universe fall apart, both heaven and earth be destroyed

<<    17 ere  before

<<    20 to gain our peace, have sent to peace  to gain the secure satisfaction of our desires, have sent to the peace of death

<<    21 the torture  the rack

<<    22 ecstasy  frenzy, agitation

<<    23 fitful  agitated

<<    25 Malice domestic  i.e., treason or civil war
     foreign levy  the raising of foreign troops [to make war against Scotland]

<<    27 Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks  my noble lord, smooth over your rough looks

<<    30 Let your remembrance apply to Banquo  i.e., let the advice you have just given to me be applied to your treatment of Banquo

<<    31 Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue  i.e., show him special favor, with both looks and speech

<<    32 Unsafe the while, that we / Must lave our honours in these flattering streams, / And make our faces vizards to our hearts  for the time being we are unsafe, so we must wash our reputation in these streams of flattery, and make our faces masks of our hearts

<<    35 You must leave this  i.e., you must quit talking and thinking this way (Macbeth has just said that they must be hypocritical in their treatment of Banquo. She's not opposed to hypocrisy, but his tone seems to alarm her.)

<<    38 in them nature's copy's not eterne  their lease on life is not perpetual (A "copy" is a copyhold, a lease subject to cancellation.)

<<    39 There's comfort yet  [in that thought] there is still some comfort

<<    40 jocund  lighthearted
     ere  before

<<    41 cloister'd  almost invisible (?) (A monk or nun who is cloistered stays inside the monastery or convent, out of contact with the world.)
     ere  before
     Hecate  (Hecate dwells in the underworld and is the protectoress of witches.)

<<    42 shard-borne  held aloft on shards [horny wing cases]

<<    45 chuck  chick (This a term of endearment.)

<<    46 seeling  blinding (Seeling is the practice of sewing shut the eyes of hawks in order to tame them.)

<<    47 Scarf up  blindfold
     pitiful  pitying, compassionate

<<    49 that great bond   i.e., Banquo's lease on life

<<    51 rooky  full of rooks (Rooks are relatives of crows; they nest in large colonies which may have thousands of rooks.)