Some important quotes from ‘Macbeth’ Act 2

Again, make sure you know and understand each of these.


Banquo – Fleance

‘A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,

And yet I would not sleep.’


Banquo – Macbeth

‘I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:

To you they have show’d some truth.’


Macbeth – Banquo

‘I think not of them’


Macbeth – soliloquy

‘Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible

To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but

A dagger of the mind, a false creation,

Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?’


Lady Macbeth – soliloquy

‘That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold,

What hath quench’d them hath given me fire.’


Lady Macbeth – soliloquy

‘Alack! I am afraid they have awak’d,

And ’tis not done; the attempt and not the deed

Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;

He could not miss them. Had he not resembled

My father as he slept I had done’t. My husband!’


Macbeth – Lady Macbeth

‘I have done the deed.’


Macbeth – Lady Macbeth

‘But wherefore could I not pronounce ‘Amen’?

I had most need of blessing, and ‘Amen’

Stuck in my throat.’


Lady Macbeth – Macbeth

‘These deeds must not be thought

After these ways; so, it will make us mad.’


Macbeth – Lady Macbeth

‘Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep’


Lady Macbeth – Macbeth

‘Why, worthy thane,

You do unbend your noble strength to think

So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,

And wash this filthy witness from your hand.

Why did you bring these daggers from the place?

They must lie there: go carry them, and smear

The sleepy grooms with blood.’


Macbeth – Lady Macbeth

‘I’ll go no more:

I am afraid to think what I have done;

Look on’t again I dare not.’


Lady Macbeth – Macbeth

‘Infirm of purpose!

Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead

Are but as pictures; ’tis the eye of childhood

That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,

I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal;

For it must seem their guilt.’


Macbeth – soliloquy

‘Whence is that knocking?

How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?

What hands are here! Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.

Will all 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.’


Lady Macbeth – Macbeth

‘My hands are of your colour, but I shame

To wear a heart so white.

I hear a knocking

At the sout entry; retire we to our chamber;

A little water clears us of this deed;

How easy is it, then! Your constancy

Hath left you unattended.’


Macbeth – Lady Macbeth

‘Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!’


Lennox – Macbeth

‘The night has been unruly: where we lay,

Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,

Lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death,

And prophesying with accents terrible

Of dire combustion and confus’d events

New hatch’d to the woeful time. The obscure bird

Clamour’d the livelong night: some say the earth

Was feverous and did shake.’


Macduff – Macbeth and Lennox

‘O horror! Horror! Horror! Tongue nor heart

Cannot conceive nor name thee!’


Macduff – Macbeth and Lennox

‘Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!

Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope

The Lord’s anointed temple, and stole thence

The life o’ the building!’


Macduff – Lady Macbeth

‘O gentle lady!

‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak;

The repetition in a woman’s ear

Would murder as it fell.’


Macbeth – Macduff and Lennox

‘Had I but died an hour before this chance

I had liv’e a blessed time; for, from this instant,

There’s nothing serious in mortality,

All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees

Is left this vault to brag of.’


Macbeth – Macduff and Lennox

‘O! Yet I do repent me of my fury,

That I did kill them.’


Donalbain – Malcolm

‘Our separated fortune

Shall keep us both the safer: where we are,

There’s daggers in men’s smiles: the near in blood,

The nearer bloody.’


Malcolm – Donalbain

‘This murderous shaft that’s shot

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way

Is to avoid the aim: therefore, to horse;

And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,

But shift away: there’s warrant in that theft

Which steals itself when there’s no mercy left.’


Old Man – Ross

‘Threescore and ten I can remember well;

Within the volume of which time I have seen

Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night

Hath trifled former knowings.’


Old Man – Ross

‘Tis unnatural,

Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,

A falcoln, towering in her pride of place

Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at and kill’d.’


Ross – Old Man

‘And Duncan’s horses – a thing most strange and certain –

Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,

Turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,

Contending ‘gainst  obedience, as they would

Make war with mankind.’


Old Man – Ross

‘Tis said they eat each other.’


Macduff – Ross

‘Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons,

Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them

Suspicion of the deed.’


Ross – Macduff

‘Gainst nature still!

Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up

Thine own life’s means! Then ’tis most like

The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.’


Macduff – Ross

‘He is already nam’d, and gone to Scone

To be invested.’


Macduff – Ross

‘Well, may you see things well done there: adieu!

Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!’


2 thoughts on “Some important quotes from ‘Macbeth’ Act 2”

  1. The Dagger Soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 1, read by Macbeth, main character in this play, is fascinating. Macbeth has became “rapt” by it . He can see a dagger before him and knows this is a “fatal vision”, this soliloquy has impressed me a lot and I enjoyed reading and learning what the quotes meant.
    This shows the first sign of madness that has come to him. Thoughts of murder are driving him mad.

  2. I particularly love the nature imagery in Act 2. Before he hears about Duncan’s death, Lennox comments on the ‘unruly’ night and how ‘the obscure bird clamour’d the livelong night’. Nature is in turmoil because it is rebelling against the disruption of the natural order of life – the king has been killed which is in itself a sacrilege.
    When the murder has been discovered we hear of how ‘the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, threaten his bloody stage’ and that ‘darkeness does the face of earth entomb’ when the sun should be shining. It is almost as if the world is under attack by God as he shows how appalled he is by this violation of the natural order.
    Later the old man tells of a ‘mousing owl’ that attacked and killed a ‘towering falcon’ and Ross reveals that Ducan’s horses ‘minions of their race’ broke lose as if they wanted to wage war on humankind. I am sure there is no need for me to remind anyone of what those horses did next.
    This imagery showing nature in chaos appeals to me because it indicates that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will not settle easily into their ‘new robes’ as King and Queen because the forces of good and the world of nature are outraged by the murder of Duncan.

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