128 Unforgettable Quotes From Shakespeare's Macbeth

William Shakespeare's Famous Tragedy

Orson Welles in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Getty Images

Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's great tragedies. There's murder, battles, supernatural portents, and all the other elements of a well-worked drama. Here are a few quotes from Macbeth.

  1. "First Witch: When shall we three meet again
    In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
    Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done,
    When the battle's lost and won."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.1
     
  2. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.1
     
  3. "What bloody man is that?"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.2
     
  4. "Sleep shall neither night nor day
    Hang upon his pent-house lid."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  5. "Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  6. "The weird sisters, hand in hand,
    Posters of the sea and land,
    Thus do go about, about."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  7. "What are these
    So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
    That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
    And yet are on 't?"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  8. "If you can look into the seeds of time,
    And say which grain will grow and which will not."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  9. "Stands not within the prospect of belief."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  10. "Say, from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence? or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting?"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  11. "Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  12. "What! can the devil speak true?"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1. 3
     
  13. Two truths are told,
    As happy prologues to the swelling act
    Of the imperial theme."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  14. "Present fears
    Are less than horrible imaginings."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  15. "Nothing is
    But what is not."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  16. "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  17. "Come what come may,
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.3
     
  18. "Nothing in his life
    Became him like the leaving it; he died
    As one that had been studied in his death
    To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
    As 't were a careless trifle."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.4
     
  19. "There's no art
    To find the mind's construction in the face."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.4
     
  20. "More is thy due than more than all can pay."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.4
     
  21. "Yet do I fear thy nature;
    It is too full o' the milk of human kindness."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  22. "What thou wouldst highly,
    That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
    And yet wouldst wrongly win."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  23. "Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top full
    Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
    Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature
    Shake my fell purpose."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  24. "Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  25. "Come, thick night,
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
    To cry, 'Hold, hold!'"
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  26. "Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
    May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
    Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
    Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
    But be the serpent under 't."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.5
     
  27. "This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
    Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
    Unto our gentle senses."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.6
     
  28. "The heaven's breath
    Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
    The air is delicate."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.6
     
  29. "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly: if the assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success; that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
    We still have judgment here; that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which being taught, return
    To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
    To our own lips."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  30. "Besides, this Duncan
    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off;
    And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
    Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed
    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
    That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
    To prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
    And falls on the other."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  31. "I have bought
    Golden opinions from all sorts of people."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  32. "Was the hope drunk,
    Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since,
    And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
    At what it did so freely? From this time
    Such I account thy love."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  33. "Letting 'I dare not" wait upon 'I would,'
    Like the poor cat i' the adage."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  34. "I dare do all that may become a man;
    Who dares do more is none."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  35. "I have given suck, and know
    How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
    I would, while it was smiling in my face,
    Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
    And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
    Have done to this."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  36. "Screw your courage to the sticking-place,
    And we'll not fail."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7
     
  37. "Bring forth men-children only;
    For thy undaunted mettle should compose
    Nothing but males."
    - William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7

Here are more quotes from Macbeth.

38. "False face must hide what the false heart doth know."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.7

39. "There's husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.1

40. "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?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.1

41. "Now o'er the one half-world
Nature seems dead."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.1

42. "Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear 
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout." - 
William ShakespeareMacbeth, 2.1

43. "The bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.1

44. "That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold,
What hath quenched them hath given me fire."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

45. "It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern'st good-night."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

47. "The attempt and not the deed
Confounds us."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

48. "Had he not resembled
My father as he slept I had done't."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

49. "Wherefore could I not pronounce 'Amen'?
I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen'
Stuck in my throat."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

50. "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."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

51. "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and there Cawdor
Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

52. "I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again I dare not."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

53. "Infirm of purpose!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

54. "'Tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

55. "Will all great 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."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

56. "A little water clears us of this deed."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.2

57. "Here's a knocking, indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate he should have old turning the key. Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

58. "This place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some of all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

59. "Porter: Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things. Macduff: What three things does drink especially provoke?
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

60. "The labor we delight in physics pain."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

61. "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 confused events
New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird
Clamored the livelong night: some say the earth
Was feverous and did shake."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

62. "Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

63. "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!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

64. "Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
And look on death itself! up, up, and see
The great doom's image!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

65. "Had I but lived an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessed time."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

66. "There's daggers in men's smiles."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.3

67. "A falcon, towering in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.4

68. "Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
Thine own life's means!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 2.4

69. "Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
As the weird women promised; and, I fear,
Thou play'dst most foully for't.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

70. "I must become a borrower of the night
For a dark hour or twain."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

71. "Let every man be master of his time
Till seven at night."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

72. "Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

73. "First Murderer: We are men, my liege.
Macbeth: Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clipt
All by the name of dogs."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

74. "Leave no rubs nor botches in the work."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.1

75. "Lady Macbeth: Things without all remedy
Should be without regard; what's done is done.
Macbeth: We have scotched the snake, not killed it;
She'll close and be herself, while our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

76. "Duncan is 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."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

Here are even more quotes from Macbeth, by William Shakespeare.

77. "Ere the bat hath flown
His cloistered flight, ere, to black Hecate's summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

78. "Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

79. "Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

80. "Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.2

81. "The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:
Now spurs the lated traveller apace
To gain the timely inn."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.3

82. "But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

83. "Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
And health on both!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

84. "Thou canst not say I did it; never shake
Thy gory locks at me."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

85. "What man dare, I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The armed rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger,-
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

86. "Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

87. "Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

88. "Blood will have blood."
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

89. "I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

90. "You lack the season of all natures, sleep."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 3.4

91. "Round about the cauldron go;
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty-one
Sweltered venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

92. "Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog.
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

93. "Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Slivered in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-delivered by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

94. "By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

95. "How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

96. "A deed without a name."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

97. "Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

98. "I'll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

99. "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1

100. "The weird sisters."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1.

101. "When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.2

102. "He loves us not;
He wants the natural touch.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.2

103. "Son: And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
Lady Macduff: Every one.
Son: Who must hang them?
Lady Macduff: Why, the honest men.
Son: Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men, and hang up them.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.2

104. "Stands Scotland where it did?
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.3

105. "Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.3

106. "What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.3

107. "Out, damned spot! out, I say!"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

108. "Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

109. "Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

110. "The Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

111. "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

112. "What's done cannot be undone."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5. 1

113. "Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets;
More needs she the divine than the physician."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.1

114. "Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.2

115. "Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane,
I cannot taint with fear."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.3

116. "The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where gott'st thou that goose look?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.3

117. "I have lived long enough: my way of life
Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but in their stead
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.3

118. "Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.3

119. "The patient
Must minister to himself."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.3

Here are even more quotes from Macbeth, by William Shakespeare.

120. "Throw physic to the dogs: I'll none of it."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5. 3

121. "The cry is still, 'They come!'"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.5

122. "I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been my senses would have cooled
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't: I have supped full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.5

123. "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. 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."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.5

124. "I 'gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.5

125. "Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.6

126. "I bear a charmed life."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5. 8

127. "Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripped."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.7

128. "Lay on, Macduff,
And damned be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 5.8

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Lombardi, Esther. "128 Unforgettable Quotes From Shakespeare's Macbeth." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2016, thoughtco.com/unforgettable-quotes-from-shakespeares-macbeth-740629. Lombardi, Esther. (2016, March 16). 128 Unforgettable Quotes From Shakespeare's Macbeth. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/unforgettable-quotes-from-shakespeares-macbeth-740629 Lombardi, Esther. "128 Unforgettable Quotes From Shakespeare's Macbeth." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/unforgettable-quotes-from-shakespeares-macbeth-740629 (accessed December 14, 2017).