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Macbeth Violence Quotes

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

Quote #1

What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state. (1.2.1-3)

(1) We all but start with a bloody man, which doesn’t bode well for the eventual body count (2) This guy is our king. Shouldn't he be a little bloody, too? Is he just letting everyone else fight his battles for him?

Quote #2

Say to the King the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. (1.2.7-11)

The Captain waxes poetic with his description here, as though violence is something that can be beautiful and noble—even glorious. Does Macbeth glorify violence?

Quote #3

For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name),
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
And fixed his head upon our battlements. (1.2.18-26)

Basically the first thing we know about Macbeth is that he's disemboweled—"unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps"—and then beheaded someone. We're not sure if we're supposed to be impressed or a little afraid, but Duncan thinks this is so awesome that Macbeth gets rewarded with Cawdor. Hm. We're obviously in a violent, warrior culture here, so maybe we shouldn't be so surprised when Duncan ends up dead.

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