Macbeth’s soliloquies and asides

Here is a guide to some of the important soliloquies in ‘Macbeth’, spoken by the protagonist himself.

Act I Scene 3 Line 128
The witches have just made their predictions and Ross and Angus have brought news of his new title of Thane of Cawdor. The attractions of ‘the imperial theme’ begin to unsettle Macbeth. His latent ambition is evident.

Act I Scene 4 Line 48
In this aside, Macbeth is aware of the evil nature of his desires, ‘my black and deep desires’, yet he avoids accepting moral responsibility for what he plans.

Act I Scene 7 Line 1
Macbeth’s better judgement seems to prevail and he realises the folly of murdering the virtuous Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s arrival just as he finishes is a key moment in the plot.

Act II Scene 1 Line 33
A dagger points the way to Duncan’s chamber. Macbeth is intent on murder, his mind is made up. His moral sense has become corrupted.

Act III Scene 1 Line 48
Though acknowledging the immorality of what has happened, Macbeth now determines to shape his future and challenge fate. Banquo must die. The tyrant in him is emerging.

Act IV Scene 1 Line 144
In the immediate aftermath of his second encounter with the witches, Macbeth feels he must act impulsively from this point on and the first to suffer will be Macduff’s clann.

Act V Scene 3 Line 20
The emptiness of Macbeth’s life is the subject of this speech. He has thrown away his soul for nothing.

Act V Scene 5 Line 9
Lady Macbeth’s piercing death cry does not startle Macbeth. He is numbed and has lost all human feeling.

Important Quotes – Macbeth Act 3

Here are some important quotes from Act 3. Be sure you know and understand each of them.

Banquo: “I fear /Thou play’dst most foully for it.”

Banquo: “My duties / Are with a most indissoluble tie / Forever knit.”

Macbeth: “Fail not our feast.” Banquo: “My lord, I will not.”

Macbeth: “Filling their hearers / With strange invention.”

Macbeth: “To be thus is nothing, / But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be feared.”

Macbeth: “There is none but he / Whose being I do fear;”

Macbeth: “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, / And put a barren sceptre in my gripe.”

Macbeth: “For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; / For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered.”

Macbeth: “So, come Fate into the list / And champion me to the utterance.”

Macbeth: “Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men.”

Macbeth: “Though I could / With barefaced power sweep him from my sight.”

Macbeth: “For it must be done tonight / And something from the palace.”

Macbeth: “Banquo, thy soul’s flight, / If it find Heaven, must find it out tonight.”

Lady Macbeth: “Nought’s had, all’s spent, / Where our desire is got without content; / Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”

Lady Macbeth: “Things without all remedy / Should be without regard – what’s done is done.”

Macbeth: “We have scorched the snake, not killed it”

Macbeth: “But let the frame of things disjoint – / Both the worlds suffer – / Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep / In the affliction of these terrible dreams / That shake us nightly.”

Macbeth: “Duncan’s in his grave; / After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well,  / Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison, / Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing / Can touch him further.”

Lady Macbeth: “Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks, / Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.”

Macbeth: “Make our faces vizards to our hearts / Disguising what they are.”

Macbeth: “O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife.”

Macbeth: “Ere the bath hath flown / His cloistered flight…there shall be done / A deed of dreadful note.”

Macbeth: “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck / Til thou applaud the deed – Come seeling night… / Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond / Which makes me pale!”

Macbeth: “Things bad begun make themselves strong by ill.”

Macbeth: “You know your own degrees; sit down:  / At first and last the hearty welcome.”

Macbeth: “We’ll drink a measure / The table round.”

Macbeth: “Tis better thee without than he within.”

Macbeth: “Thou art the best o’ th’ cut-throats… / …thou art the non-pareil.”

Macbeth: “Then comes my fit again; / I had else been perfect – / Whole as the marble, founded as the rock.”

Macbeth: “Now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears.”

First murderer: “In a ditch he bides, / With twenty trenched gashes on his head; / The least a death to nature.”

Macbeth: “There the grown serpent lies; the worm that’s fled / Hath nature that in time will venom breed.”

Lady Macbeth: “You do not give the cheer; the feast is sold.”

Macbeth: “Here had we our country’s honour roofed, /  Were the graced person of our Banquo present.”

Macbeth: “The table’s full.”…”Which of you have done this?”

Macbeth: “Thou can’st not say I did it – never shake / Thy gory locks at me.”

Lady Macbeth: “Sit worthy friends, my lord is often thus… / The fit is momentary; upon a thought / He will be well again.”

Lady Macbeth: “Are you a man?”

Macbeth: “Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that / Which might appal the devil.”

Lady Macbeth: “O proper stuff! / This is the very painting of your fear: /This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, / Led you to Duncan… / When all’s done / You look but on a stool.”

Macbeth: “Our monuments shall be the maws of kites.”

Macbeth: “The times have been / That, when the brains were out, the man would die, / And there an end; but now they rise again, / With twenty mortal murders on their crowns, / And push us from our stools.”

Lady Macbeth: “My noble lord, / Your worthy friends do lack you.”

Macbeth: “I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing  / To those that know me.”

Macbeth: “To our dear Banquo, whom we miss; / Would he were here.”

Macbeth: “Avaunt and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee – /  Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.”

Macbeth: “What man dare, I dare:  / Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, / The armed rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger, /  Take any shape but that.”

Macbeth: “Hence, horrible shadow / Unreal mockery, hence.”

Lady Macbeth: “You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting, / With most admired disorder.”

Macbeth: “Can such things be, / And overcome us like a summer’s cloud.”

Macbeth: “You can behold such sights /  And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, /  When mine is blanched with fear.”

Lady Macbeth: “He grows worse and worse / Question enrages him… / Stand not upon the order of your going, / But go at once.”

Macbeth: “It will have blood they say: blood will have blood.”

Macbeth: “There’s not a one of them but in his house / I keep a servant fee’d.”

Macbeth: “Now I am bent to know, / By the worst means the worst. For mine own good / All causes shall give way. I am in blood / Stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o’er: / Strange things I have in head that will to hand, /Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.”

Lady Macbeth: “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.”

Macbeth: “We are yet but young in deed.”

Hecate: “Loves for his own ends, not for you”

Hecate: “And by the strength of their illusion / Shall draw him on to his confusion.”

Hecate: “He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear / His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear.”

Hecate: “Security / Is mortal’s chiefest enemy.”

Lennox: “The gracious Duncan…the right valiant Banquo…to kill their gracious father…How it did grieve Macbeth…”

Lennox: “And ’cause he failed / His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear / Macduff lives in disgrace.”

Lord: “The most pious Edward”

Lord: “We may again / Give to our table meat, sleep to our nights / Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives”

Lord: “He prepares for some attempt of war.”

Lennox: “That a swift blessing / May soon return to this our suffering country, / Under a hand accursed.”