Macbeth. Significant quotes and their meanings from Acts 1-5.

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Act 1

1. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," is stated in line 10 by the witches in the opening of the play. The significance of this paradox is that it sets us up for the doubleness of the play. It means what is fair to the witches is foul to man.

2. "Though his bark cannot be lost, / Yet it shall be tempest-tossed," is stated in lines 24 and 25 by the first witch while she and the other witches are discussing a recent experience of hers with a sailor. The significance is that it gives us insight on the capabilities of the witches. It means the first witch can't destroy the sailor's boat, but she can make him miserable with a storm, meaning witches can only play with man, not destroy him.

3. "So foul and fair a day I have not seen," is stated in line 38 by Macbeth while him and Banquo discuss his defeat. The siginificance is Macbeth paraphrasing what the witches said. It means the day is fair because he won the battle, but foul because he's exhausted and is bleeding.

4. "The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me / In borrowed clothes?" is stated in line 109 and 110 by Macbeth after he finds out that the Thane of Cawdor is alive. The significance is that the second prediction of the witches has come true. It means if the Thane of Cawdor lives, why are you talking to me like I am the Thane of Cawdor?

5. "Two truths are told, as happy prologues to / the swelling act / Of the imperial theme," is stated in lines 127 through 129 by Macbeth after he finds out the Thane of Cawdor is alive. The significance of this image of drama is that Macbeth sees that he is the Thane as a prologue of what's going to be. It means the two predictions of the witches have come true, and they're prologues to Macbeth becoming king.

6. "New honors come upon him, / Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold / But with the aid of use," is stated in lines 144 through 146 by Banquo after the second prediction of the witches comes true. The significance of this quote is that it's used as clothes imagery. Banquo tries to say that Macbeth is uncomfortable in his new title, and he compares this to having new clothes. Your old clothes are never as comfortable as your new ones, thus Macbeth's new title will never be as comfortable for him as his old one.

7. "Nothing in his life / Became him like leaving it," is stated in lines 7 and 8 by Malcolm while Duncan and Malcolm discuss the execution of the Thane of Cawdor. The significance is that the quote confirms the death of the Thane of Cawdor. It means the Thane died with more dignity than he had lived.

8. "Yet do I fear thy nature; / It is too full o'th' milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way," is stated in lines 11 through 13 by Lady Macbeth after she reads the letter Macbeth has sent her about the witches. The significance is that Lady Macbeth shows how calculating and emotionless she is. It implies that Macbeth is too kind to murder.

9. "Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here," is stated in lines 35 and 36 by Lady Macbeth after she receives the letter from Macbeth. The significance is that Lady Macbeth shows her practical nature. It means Lady Macbeth wants all womanly factors, such as sensitivity and fear, to be taken out of her and she's asking the witches to do this. She wants to help Macbeth commit his evil deeds and to do this, she believes she cannot possess such features.

10. "Look like th' innocent flower. / But the serpent under 't," is stated in lines 60 and 61 by Lady Macbeth during her discussion with Macbeth of their plans for Duncan's murder. The significance is Lady Macbeth shows how cold and practical she is. It means Lady Macbeth sees fear in Macbeth, and she tells him that he must hide this fear, so no one sees the evil he is about to do.

11. "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well / It were done quickly," is stated in lines 1 and 2 by Macbeth while he contemplates the murder of Duncan. The...
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