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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-Macbeth, by William Shakespeare


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Macbeth

By William Shakespeare QUOTATION: Can such things be
And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
Without our special wonder?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 4, l. 109-11.

On seeing the ghost of the murdered Banquo.

QUOTATION: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man,
That function is smothered in surmise,
And nothing is but what is not.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 3, l. 139-42.

What he imagines overwhelms his ability to act (”function”), and nothing exists for him but the thought of murder; “fantastical” means imaginary.

QUOTATION: ‘Tis much he dares,
And to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor
To act in safety.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 1, l. 50-3.

Describing Banquo.

QUOTATION: Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 4, l. 20-4.

On learning that his murderers failed to kill Fleance; “broad and general” means free and unconfined; “casing” means surrounding.

QUOTATION: Why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
Against the use of nature?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 3, l. 134-7.

The “horrid image” is the idea of murdering King Duncan.

QUOTATION: Infected be the air whereon they ride,
And damned all those that trust them!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 4, sc. 1, l. 138-9.

Cursing the witches.

QUOTATION: Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 4, sc. 1, l. 133-4.

“Aye” means for ever.

QUOTATION: 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-oppressèd brain?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 1, l. 33-39 (1623).

Soliloquy preceding the murder of Duncan.

QUOTATION: Duncan is in his grave;
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 22-3.

QUOTATION: O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 36.

QUOTATION: I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7.

QUOTATION: Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep,” the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 2, l. 33-7.

“Ravelled sleave” means tangled thread; “second course” means main and most nourishing course (feasts had two courses as a rule).

QUOTATION: Why should I play the Roman fool and die
On my own sword?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 8, l. 1-2.

Suicide was advocated by the Roman Stoics, notably Seneca.

QUOTATION: Ere the bat hath flown
His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 40-4.

Bats and dung-beetles (”shard-borne”) were associated with darkness, and here with Hecate, goddess of witchcraft.

QUOTATION: We have scorched the snake, not killed it:
She’ll close and be herself.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 13-4.

“Scorched” means slashed, scored; “close” means heal up.

QUOTATION: I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 46-7.

“Become” means be proper to, or grace, and could be meant in physical or moral terms.

QUOTATION: The labor we delight in physics pain.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 3, l. 50.

“Physics pain” means relieves pain, or the trouble we have taken.

QUOTATION: Ourself will mingle with society
And play the humble host.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 4, l. 3-4.

“Society” means the guests at his feast.

QUOTATION: He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 32-5.

QUOTATION: The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 3, l. 11.

The stupid servant (”loon”) is white with fear.

QUOTATION: I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself,
And falls on th’ other.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 25-8.

The image is of a rider vaulting into the saddle and falling on the other side of the horse; Macbeth is contemplating the murder of Duncan.

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 25-8 (1623).

Referring to Duncan.

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 5, l. 23-8.

The idea of life as a fleeting and as a light or candle is common in the Bible, as at Job 18:6, “The light shall be dark in his dwelling, and his candle shall be put out with him,” and Job 14:1-2, “Man ... fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one state.”

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 5, l. 22-7 (1623).

On hearing of the death of Lady Macbeth.

QUOTATION: Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 19-22.

To Lady Macbeth; those they have murdered have gone to “peace” or heaven, but their deeds have not brought peace of mind to Macbeth, only “ecstasy,” or a frenzied anxiety.

QUOTATION: At first
And last, the hearty welcome.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 4, l. 1-2.

“At first/And last” means once and for all.

QUOTATION: A walking shadow, a poor player,
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 5.

QUOTATION: For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered;
Put rancors in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 1, l. 64-9.

He has defiled (”filed”) his mind, filled the cup of his peace with enmity, and given his soul (”eternal jewel”) to the devil; “seeds” means descendants.

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