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GCSE English Macbeth > Quotes > Flashcards

Flashcards in Quotes Deck (11):

Out, out brief candle!

Macbeth is saying how short and relatively insignificant his life is that it's "brief."

It also shows how he wishes for it to be over as he wills the candle to go out and stop shining perhaps indicating the poor state of his well being.


Only Neptune's water will clear our hands of this deed.

Macbeth expresses extreme guilt at his actions and feels remorse for killing Duncan saying that its nearly impossible for him to be innocent to what he's done.

His feelings greatly contrast that of his wife who says "a little water clears our hands of this deed."

She shows virtually no remorse for her role in Duncan's death although it may be easier for her to separate herself as she merely persuaded Macbeth and didn't directly commit the regicide.


Is this a dagger which I see before me?

Macbeth experiences hallucinations before the murder. The dagger hangs in the air almost urging him to kill Duncan which may've been a factor that influenced the murder.

The mental health of Macbeth is evidently deteriorating as hallucinations are clearly unhealthy and a sign of instability and not being fully well in the mind. These visions may contribute to Macbeth's irrational and cruel behaviour towards the end of the play.


Fair is foul and foul is fair.

The witches attempt to justify their foul play and behaviour with a nursery rhyme because they realise their treatment towards others is not necessarily morally acceptable so they mask it with these strange justifications.


But first, I must feel it like a man.

Macduff becomes in touch with his emotions and acknowledges the death's of his children. These words allow the audience to connect with him on an emotional level.

We can then become more emotionally invested in his actions and the outcome of the story because we can relate to Macduff and possible people contextually could've lost children at a young age so a stronger connection can be made.


But when you durst do it, then you were a man.

Lady Macbeth insults the validity of Macbeth's masculinity in an attempt to persuade him into murdering Duncan because she realises the monetary and influential political gain she can make from her husband becoming King of Scotland. This lets us see how manipulative and persuasive LM can be.

This ends up ultimately being Macbeth's downfall and the caesura begins when the narrative twists to Macbeth losing his title and the people overcoming the tyrants rule.


No man of woman born may harm Macbeth.

Macduff shows that a man must be born normally rather than through a caesarian because there is supernatural reasons that make Macbeth immune to being harmed by a non normally born person.

This is however debunked when Macduff decapitates Macbeth at the end.


I have done the deed.

Macbeth must use euphemisms to cover up the horrifying truth of the act he's committed and call it a "deed" rather than murder or stabbing as he knows this will only further damage his conscience and encourage more remorse and guilt.

This tells us that he didn't really want to commit regicide and perhaps environmental factors such as LM's persuasion and an obsession for power were strong influences in his decision.


Unseamed from the knave to the chaps.

We are told a gory description of how Macbeth killed another soldier in battle, perhaps indicating his levels of dedication to serving the King and Scotland.

His perseverance is mirrored in his passion to later become King and his ability to do anything to achieve that goal as seen by the gory killing of this man in battle.


Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent underneath.

Lady Macbeth says that putting up a facade of kindness and trustworthy traits is useful for you can then betray those people by being the serpent.

This is a huge hint towards her deceitful behaviour and will to manipulate others for her own personal gain which we can clearly see an example of regarding her husband and the murder of Duncan.


Torment me no longer!

Macbeth experiences intense visual hallucinations of Banquo at the dining hall because of his death at the hands of Fleance and the assassins.

He feels extreme guilt and this links to the supernatural as he's haunted by the ghost of Banquo punishing him with guilt as the consequences for his actions. This could be Shakespeare saying that if anyone kills King James they will be haunted as a way of inadvertently protecting James to gain favour and influence with him.