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Macbeth Ambition Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) from the Folger Shakespeare Library

Quote #1

                     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. (1.3.57-64)

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

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. (1.3.52-55)

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. (1.4.55-60)

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?

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