Here’s a list of the best key quotations for Macbeth. I’ve been teaching Macbeth for years and these quotations are the ones that I find myself returning to over and over again. They have lots of techniques and imagery in them, and they relate to a huge range of different key themes and ideas in the play: violence, madness, masculinity, death, religion, the supernatural and more.

Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for a full list of quotations from every character in the play, you can purchase the full downloadable document.

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This course includes: 

  • A full set of video lessons on each key element of the text: summary, themes, setting, characters, context, attitudes, analysis of key quotes, essay questions, essay examples
  • Downloadable documents for each video lesson 
  • A range of example B-A* / L7-L9 grade essays, both at GCSE (ages 14-16) and A-Level (age 16+) with teacher comments and mark scheme feedback
  • A bonus Macbeth workbook designed to guide you through each scene of the play!

Key Quotations:

“Unseam’d him from the nave to’th’chops, and fixed his head upon the battlements” 1.2 – Asks us to question Macbeth’s nature. 

“brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name” – “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman”1.2 – Captain describes Macbeth; Duncan to Macbeth.

“So foul and fair a day I have not seen” 1.3 – Macbeth’s first line. Echoes the witches’ words in 1.1. 

The thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me / In borrowed robes? Macbeth 1.3

“Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself” 1.7 – Macbeth’s soliloquy exploring his motivations for murder – his fatal flaw is ‘ambition’, personification. 

“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none” 1.7 – Macbeth

“Is this a dagger which I see before me?” 2.1 – Macbeth’s soliloquy, supernatural vision (or alternatively madness), violence – foreshadowing Duncan’s death, madness, manipulation by witches, rhetorical question – asking no one. 

“Fruitless crown……barren scepter” 3.1 – Macbeth Soliloquy

“(Aside to Macbeth) Are you a man?” – 3.4 – Lady Macbeth challenges Macbeth’s strength when he has a nervous breakdown after seeing the ghost

“I am in blood/Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more”3.4. – Macbeth 

“Give to the edge of the sword his wife his babes” 4.1 – Macbeth soliloquy regarding Macduff’s family.

“none of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth” “beware Macduff” 4.1 the Witches’ second set of prophecies 

“bloody, / Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, / Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin / That has a name.”  Malcolm 4.3, about Macbeth 

“Life is but a walking shadow… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” – 5.5 – Macbeth before death – shows his full tragic fall. 

“Out, out brief candle!” Macbeth soliloquy 5.5

“This dead butcher and his fiendlike queen” 5.8 Malcolm, about the Macbeths 

If you’re studying Macbeth, you can click here to buy our full online course. Use the code “SHAKESPEARE” to receive a 50% discount!

You will gain access to over 8 hours of engaging video content, plus downloadable PDF guides for Macbeth that cover the following topics:

  • Character analysis
  • Plot summaries
  • Key quotes
  • Deeper themes
  • Context

There are also tiered levels of analysis that allow you to study up to GCSEA Level and University level.

You’ll find plenty of top level example essays that will help you to write your own perfect ones!