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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 #1

Fair is foul, and foul is fair;
Hover through the fog and filthy air. (1.1.12-13)

Clearly, Shakespeare's been traveling to Beijing. (Rim shot.) Unfunny jokes about pollution aside, the witches set us up here to mistrust everything. In the fog, it's hard to tell what's really there. Are they even there?

Quote #2

So foul and fair a day I have not seen. (1.3.39)

Hmm. This sounds familiar. Didn't the weird sisters just say almost the exact same thing? Has Macbeth seen this play before, or does he already have some kind of psychic connection with the weird sisters?

Quote #3

                                    There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face.
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust. (1.4.13-16)

Here, King Duncan says that the former Thane of Cawdor (who turned out to be a traitor) seemed to be a "gentleman" he could "trust"; ergo, it's impossible to know a man's mind by reading his face. Um, Duncan? Maybe you should listen to yourself and stop putting all your trust in the next treacherous Thane of Cawdor.

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