Quote: “It will have blood they say; blood will have blood.” (3.4.123)
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Speaker and Audience: Macbeth is speaking to his wife, Lady Macbeth
Context: Prior to Macbeth saying this quote of key importance in the tragedy, he witnessed the ghost of Banquo, whom he murdered so that he wouldn’t be found guilty of Duncan’s murder. Macbeth believes that he will have to murder more to cover up his previous murders and thus falls into a spiraling fate of perpetually fueled murder.
Translation: “To gain my position to the thrown I needed to murder Duncan, to keep my position at the thrown I needed to kill Banquo before he found out, and now I must kill again to prevent anyone from discovering that I murdered them.”
Quote: “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” (1.3.38)
Speaker and Audience: Macbeth is speaking to Banquo.
Context: During this scene Banquo and Macbeth are returning from a bloody battle against the Norwegians, in which Scotland won. This is a glorious day for Macbeth and Banquo because they won the battle, however, due to the fact that men died in battle brings a morose aura to the scene.
Translation: “Today is the best yet worst day I’ve experienced.”
Quote: “Angles are bright still, though the brightest fell.”
Speaker and Audience: Malcom is speaking to Macduff.
Context: Throughout the duration of this scene, Malcom continues to test Macduff’s loyalty to Scotland. Malcom makes reference to Macbeth and Satan (not Seyton) on how they were once great but fell to the temptations of evil; by saying this, Malcom is implying that Macduff may have fallen as well and is questioning him if he is treacherous.
Translation: “Macduff, there have been many people who were great and loyal like you who fell to the temptations of evil.”
Quote: “Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the Serpent under’t.” (1.5.65-66)
Speaker and Audience: Lady Macbeth is speaking to Macbeth
Context: Lady Macbeth is persuading Macbeth to kill Duncan and telling him that he will appear innocent.
Translation: “To everyone else you will appear sweet and innocent like a flower, but in reality, you will be like a deadly snake hiding under this facade.”
Quote: “We have scotched the snake, not killed it.” (3.2.13)
Speaker and Audience: Macbeth is speaking to Lady Macbeth.
Context: Throughout this scene Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are becoming more paranoid about the murders they committed. Prior to this Macbeth had Banquo murdered because he knew that Banquo would eventually discover that he murdered Duncan; because Banquo is dead, Macbeth believes that he restored his security to the throne, but only temporarily.
Translation: “We have stopped the threat, but only temporarily.”