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by William Shakespeare

Macbeth Versions of Reality Quotes

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

Quote #7

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch
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-oppressèd brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' th' other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. (2.1.44-57)

Well, is it? By opening with a question, Macbeth leaves us wondering whether he does really see a dagger—whether there's some supernatural force at work—or whether it's all just a figment of his treacherous brain.

Quote #8

Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's two sons,
Are stol'n away and fled, which puts upon them
Suspicion of the deed. (2.4.36-38)

You may look guilty when you run—but you look a lot worse when you're dead. Malcolm and Donalbain are willing to put up with the appearance of guilt if it means that they'll be able to avenge their father in the end.

Quote #9

                           O, proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear.
This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool. (3.4.73-81)

Okay, Lady Macbeth. It's easy to make fun of your poor husband when he's the one having the visions. You won't be laughing as hard when you're the one trying wash an invisible bloodstain out of your hand.

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