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Macbeth Navigator: Notable Quotes
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Fair is foul, and foul is fair
—The witches' philosophy of life.

he unseam'd him from the nave to the chops
—The bloody Sergeant's description of Macbeth's killing of the rebel Macdonwald.

What, can the devil speak true?
—Banquo's reaction when it turns out that Macbeth has been named Thane of Cawdor, as the witches predicted.

               Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it
—Malcolm's comment on the execution of the Thane of Cawdor, whose title was then given to Macbeth.

Let not light see my black and deep desires
—After being honored by King Duncan, Macbeth wrestles with his desire to murder him.

               Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way.
—Lady Macbeth, after receiving her husband's letter about the witches' prophecy, expresses her fear that he isn't bad enough.

               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!
—Lady Macbeth, upon hearing that King Duncan is to stay the night in her castle, pumps herself up to kill him.

               that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all—here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'ld jump the life to come
—Macbeth, thinking about murdering Duncan, tries to think if there is a way to evade the consequences.

               I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
—Lady Macbeth heaps scorn on Macbeth's declaration that they will "proceed no further" with the plan to murder King Duncan.

But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail.
—Lady Macbeth challenges Macbeth to commit to the plan to murder King Duncan.

               Bring forth men-children only;
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males.
—After Lady Macbeth has talked her husband into committing to the plan to murder King Duncan, Macbeth praises her manly spirit.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
—On his way to murder King Duncan, Macbeth sees the vision of the bloody dagger leading the way.

               Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done't.
—Lady Macbeth, worried that Macbeth will fail to murder King Duncan, reveals a weakness while boasting of her strength.

Methought I heard a voice cry "Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep," the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast—
—After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth fears that he will never sleep again.

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
—Hearing a knocking at his palace gate, Macbeth fears that he can never wash away the evidence of his guilt.

               Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood;
And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature
For ruin's wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,
Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breech'd with gore. Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make's love known?
—In a moment of political deceit and emotional truth, Macbeth says that the sight of the dead king's body impelled him to kill the grooms.

Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised, and I fear
Thou play'dst most foully for't
—Alone, Banquo reflects on Macbeth's rise to the throne.

               Nought's had, all's spent,
Where our desire is got without content;
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
—Lady Macbeth finds that getting what you want doesn't bring peace.

               Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night's black agents to their preys do rouse
—Macbeth wishes for the coming of night and Banquo's death.

               the times have been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end, but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: this is more strange
Than such a murder is.
—Macbeth defends his fearful reaction to the appearance of Banquo's ghost.

It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood
—After Banquo's ghost has gone, Macbeth feels that his crime is pursuing him.

               I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er
—After telling his wife that he will visit the witches again, Macbeth reflects that there is no turning back from his evil course.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
—The refrain of the witches' chant as they await the arrival of Macbeth.

Something wicked this way comes
—Just before Macbeth appears to the witches, they predict his coming.

               none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
—The second apparition, a "bloody Child," delivers to Macbeth a deceptive prophecy.

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.
—The third apparition, "a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand," makes Macbeth believe he can never be defeated.

               from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand
—Macbeth, upon hearing that Macduff has fled to England, determines to kill Macduff's family. He justifies himself by saying that from now on he will follow his first impulse, because if he had followed his first impulse, Macduff would already be dead.

               All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?
—Macduff's astonished grief at the news that Macbeth has slaughtered his family.

But I must also feel it as a man
—Macduff's response to Malcolm's advice to handle the news of his family's slaughter "like a man."

Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
then, 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power
to account?—Yet who would have thought the old
man to have had so much blood in him?
—In the first speech of Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking scene, memories of the night of the murder tumble out.

I have liv'd long enough: my way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.
—Upon hearing of the approach of ten thousand troops to besiege his castle, Macbeth voices a mixture of despair and stoicism.

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
—When the doctor delivers the news of Lady Macbeth's condition, Macbeth asks a question which applies as much to himself as to her.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
—Responding to the news of his wife's death, Macbeth voices a defiant despair.

               Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripp'd
—Macduff tells Macbeth that he is the man not "of woman born."

               Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"
—Macbeth's final words.

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