AQA · For Pupils · literature · Macbeth · Shakespeare

Y11 Macbeth key quotes

Hi Year 11

Here are some key quotes on Macbeth just in case you can’t access them on dropbox or weren’t in the lesson. Remember, I’ve not included some of the common ones (unsex me here, is this a dagger, will these hands ne’er be clean, fair is foul, so foul and fair a day etc – YOU SHOULD KNOW THESE!)

Key Quotes – Macbeth

Six on deception

  1. There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face – Duncan
  2. Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires – Macbeth
  3. This castle hath a pleasant seat, the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself to our senses – Duncan
  4. Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it – Lady Macbeth
  5. Where we are, there’s daggers in men’s smiles – Donaldbain
  6. And be these juggling fiends no more believed that palter with us un a double sense – Macbeth

Five on Duncan

  1. This Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek – Macbeth
  2. Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him- Lady Macbeth
  3. Here lay Duncan, his silver skin laced with his golden blood – Macbeth
  4. Thy royal father was a most sainted king – Macduff
  5. The king hath happily received, Macbeth, the news of thy success – Ross

Five from Banquo

  1. What, can the devil speak true?
  2. Oftentimes to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths
  3. Merciful powers restrain in me the cursed thoughts nature gives way to in repose
  4. Too cruel anywhere
  5. Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all … and I fear thou play’d most foully for it

Seven thoughts from Macbeth

  1. This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good
  2. Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I would thou couldst
  3. I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er – Macbeth
  4. To know my deed, ‘twere best not to know myself – Macbeth
  5. I have supped full with horrors
  6. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage
  7. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?

Seven from Macbeth – decisive, belligerent, arrogant, stubborn

  1. To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep
  2. I conjure you, by that which you profess, howe’er you come to know it, answer me
  3. From this moment, the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand
  4. I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked
  5. I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet
  6. What’s he that was born of woman? Such a one am I to fear, or none.
  7. Blow wind, come wrack; at least we’ll die with harness on our back.

Five criticisms from Lady Macbeth

  1. The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures. ‘Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil
  2. My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white
  3. This is the very painting of your fear; this is the air drawn dagger which you said led you to Duncan
  4. From this time such I account thy love.
  5. Are you a man?

Five from Macduff

  1. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece
  2. Each new morn, new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face
  3. Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth
  4. Sinful Macduff, they were all struck for thee
  5. Despair thy charm and let the angel whom thou still hast served tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped

What to do with these?

a) annotate them – WHERE IS IT SAID?  WHY? WHO TO? Language features, dramatic importance, context links to AO3, effects on audience etc.

b) LOOK, SAY, COVER, WRITE, CHECK, REPEAT  – memorise some of them

c) Link some quotes together under other themes – evil, supernatural, masculinity, power, hubris etc.

d) Can you add another category? Five from the witches? Five from Malcolm? Five on hubris, five on betrayal?

e) Greet me at the beginning of each lesson with one of them! Make my day…




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