Every masterpiece or a literary piece has unique quotations expressing universal themes. These quotes are often quoted by all in common conversation and specific writings, speeches, and addresses. Some of the famous quotes from Macbeth, which convey the same collective themes and expressions, are discussed below.
Famous Quotes from Macbeth
“When shall we three meet again / In thunder, lightning, or in rain? / When the hurly burly ‘s done, /When the battle ‘s lost and won.”
(Lines 1-4, Act I, Scene I).
These are the initial lines spoken by First Witch and Second Witch when weaving a spell to lure Macbeth. These lines are rhyming with each other to show that the incantation of the witches has begun. The main theme of these lines is to decide when the witches would meet next. While the first witch expresses the unfavorable weather, the Second Witch says that they might meet after all the chaos is over and one of the kingdoms has won the war in Scotland.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair / Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
(Lines 12-13, Act I, Scene I).
Three witches who appear in Macbeth in the first scene speak these lines as they continue to weave their spell. They say that whatever they do seems good, but it will bring evil. In the same way, whatever seems bad is actually good. They agree with each other to vanish after the incantation is over and while the air is still dirty and misty. Perhaps to make things from bad to worse.
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me / Without my stir.”
(Lines 144, Act I, Scene III).
Macbeth speaks these words in an aside when he is with Banquo, his loyal friend. As one of the witches prophecies came true and he already became Thane of Cawdor by chance. He is thinking about his future as a king. He believes that if the luck made him a Thame, he could also become a king. In that case, he doesn’t have to kill the king. In other words, he believes in destiny and prophecy will create a situation for him to be the king without him trying.
“Yet do I fear thy nature; / It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.”
(Lines 16-17, Act I, Scene V).
Lady Macbeth speaks these lines to evaluate that Macbeth is not as ruthless as she is. She thinks that he is too kind and compassionate to kill the King or anybody else. In fact, she is also afraid that Macbeth is unprepared in spite of the promise given by the witches. According to Lady Macbeth kind people cannot be in the higher position as they may lack authority.
“Where we are, / There’s daggers in men’s smiles, / The near in blood, the nearer bloody.”
(Lines 139-141, Act II, Sc. III).
Donalbain speaks these lines to Malcolm, his brother. They come to know, King Duncan, their father, has been murdered. Following the murder of the King, Macbeth also kills the guards in rage. As they try to recover from their loss, they understand that they cannot trust anyone. Also, people can pretend to be friends while harboring hate in their heart, and enemies are usually closer than their friends. The last line shows Donalbain’s mistrust on people around them. They know that their own relatives are now after their lives to get the throne of their father.
“Things without all remedy / Should be without regard: What’s done is done.”
(Lines 10-12, Act III, Scene II).
Lady Macbeth speaks these words to her husband, Macbeth, after he kills King Duncan. Macbeth suffers from hallucinations and mental breakdown after the murder. Hence, Lady Macbeth tells that there is no point of regretting over things that already happened because you cannot reverse it. Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to remove any regrets and forget the crime.
“I dare do all that may become a man; / Who dares do more is none.”
(Lines 45-47, Act I, Sc. VII).
These lines are spoken by Macbeth when Lady Macbeth coaxes her husband to kill the King and become the king himself. However, he is not ready and tries to explain Lady Macbeth that he is happy with the honor he had already received. He is already a man and doesn’t need a dare to prove otherwise or commit an evil act. Here, Macbeth has not yet given into his wife’s manipulation to kill the king.
“Double, double toil and trouble; / Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”
(Act IV, Scene I).
The above lines are spoken by three witches while they are casting a spell over Macbeth. It doesn’t have a specific purpose. However, it could mean that though Macbeth would become the King he will face many troubles and eventually destroy himself.
“Here’s the smell of blood. / All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
(Lines, 144, Act V, Sc. I).
Lady Macbeth speaks these words as she begins to feel guilty after King Duncan’s death. While Macbeth is able to accept his crime and becomes ambitious, Lady Macbeth loses her grip over the situations and becomes weaker. Also, remorse begins to weigh heavily upon her. Being a weak-minded, she starts sleepwalking and suffers from acute depression. As she recalls King’s death realizes that she played a huge part in the murder, she will not be able to wash away or hide her crime.
“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.”
(Lines 26-31, Act V, Scene V).
Macbeth speaks these words after Lady Macbeth’s death. He expresses that human life is nothing but a walking shadow. He also compares life with a candle that burns brightly before it melts away. He realizes that because of his actions he will face terrible consequences and his demise is inevitable. He further explains that life is nothing and humans are mere actors on the stage. Each has a small part to play before they become insignificant.