* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Macbeth

Macbeth

Ambition Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

BANQUO […] My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate. (1.3.2)

Uh-oh. Someone's feeling left out. Banquo wants a prophecy, too—although he seems to be much more chill about it, claiming that he doesn't care one way or another. But if that's true, you'd think he wouldn’t bother trying to look into the future.

Quote #2

MACBETH My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not. (1.3.9)

Slow down there, Macbeth, because these ladies haven't said a word about murder. The fact that his first thought is about killing the king is mighty suspicious—almost as though they've just awoken a murderous ambition that's been there all along.

Quote #3

MACBETH [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires. The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. (1.4.4)

Macbeth describes his ambition as being "black and deep desires," which makes it sound… well, wrong. Is ambition okay in any context, or are we all supposed to let fate and chance toss us around?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement