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Macbeth Time 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)

We kind of love this metaphor of time being like a field of seeds, full of many possible futures. Which ones will grow? And can we affect it, through fertilizer, hoeing, watering, or neglect?

Quote #2

                         Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. (1.3.163-164)

After hearing the witch's prophesy that he'll become king, Macbeth pushes thoughts of "murder" from his mind and says he won't lift a finger against the present king —instead, he'll leave his future to "chance." Too bad that resolution doesn't last.

Quote #3

Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant. (1.6.64-66)

When Lady Macbeth reads her husband's letter (bearing news of the witch's prophesies), her thoughts immediately turn toward the "future" that she imagines for herself and her husband. Her dreams of being the wife of a king are so vivid and so real to her, it's as though time has completely collapsed, and she feels the "future in the instant."

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