Over the years No Sweat Shakespeare users have asked us to translate many quotes from Macbeth into plain English. The list below links to the most popular Macbeth quotes and their modern English translation, whilst underneath those is a selection of other, shorted Macbeth quotes translated.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Macbeth Act 3 Scene 1

Now, if you have a station in the file
Not i’ the worst rank of manhood, say ‘t

Plain English Macbeth quote

Now, if you have a place in humanity that’s not at the very bottom of the pile, tell me.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full of the milk of human kindness…

Plain English Macbeth Quote

Lady Macbeth thinks that Macbeth isn’t tough enough to kill Duncan.
She’s thinking that she has no confidence in him because he doesn’t
have it in him to do it. He is too full of kindness. Milk is a sweet
thing to feed babies on and she’s using that metaphor.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

To The Last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

Plain English Macbeth Quote

How the days stretched out – each one the same as the one before, and they would continue to do so, tediously, until the end of history. And every day we have lived has been the last day of some other fool’s life, each day a dot of candle-light showing him the way to his death- bed. Blow the short candle out: life was no more than a walking shadow – a poor actor – who goes through all the emotions in one hour on the stage and then bows out. It was a story told by an idiot, full of noise and passion, but meaningless.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Macbeth: ‘ourself will mingle with you and play the huble host,’he said

Plain English Macbeth Quote

At the banquet Macbeth greets his guests and says ‘I will be a good host and move around among you.’

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid. He shall live a man forbid. Weary seven nights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine. Thought his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tost.

Plain English Macbeth quote

This is one of the witches talking about what they are going to do to Macbeth. She’s saying:
He won’t be able to sleep during the night or during the day. He will be shunned by everyone. The weeks will drag while he loses his power and suffer depression. Although he won’t be easily defeated he will have a very difficult time.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

ok i have three quotes that i need help with; with three parts to it. a. who is speaking b. who is the speaker speaking to and c. what is happening in the play at the time the words are spoken.

Quote #1:
The time has been/ That, when the brains were out, the man would die,/ And there an end. but now they rise again/ With twenty mortal murders on their crowns/ And push from our stools

Quote #2:
Thou hast it now— King, Cawdor, Glamis, all/ As the Weird Women promise, and I fear/ And played’st foully for ‘t.

Quote #3:
I am in blood/ Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,/ Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

thank you I really appreciate it. I need it real fast to. Thank you again.
~Caitlin

Plain English Macbeth quote

Quote 1: After he has seen the ghost and everyone has gone Macbeth says to Lady Mabeth – There was a time when a man would die when his brains had been knocked out and that would be the end of it, but these days they rise again, with twenty fatal gashes on their heads, and push us off our chairs.

Quote 2: Banquo says this to himself after Macbeth has become king – You have it all now – king, Cawdor, Glamis, everything, just as the weird women predicted, and I fear that you have done some evil to get it.

Quote 3: Before sending men to kill Macduff, Mabeth tells Lady Macbeth – I have stepped so far into blood that I should try and wade back: going back would be as difficult as going on with it.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Banquo: And oftentime, to win us to or harms, The instruments of darkness tell us truths

Plain English Macbeth quote

The forces of evil often tell us the truth in order to destroy us.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
We are yet but young in deed.
thanks! Ami

Plain English Macbeth quote

Come, let’s go to bed. My strange self delusions are the fears of someone new to this and in need of experience. We’ve only just started on this course.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Hi guys,
I was looking at some help translating a few things from macbeth.

I need some help with Act 1 Scene 7 from lines 1 to 28
and also Act 3 scene 1 from lines 47 to line 75

Thanks Alan

Plain English Macbeth quote

Macbeth Act 1: S cene VII, Lines 1-28

Macbeth swept his plate aside and tapped distractedly on the table. He got up and, pushing past the people in his way, made it to the door and out into the fresh air of the courtyard.

What should he do? He faced the tower wall and pressed his forehead against it. If it could be all finished and done with when it’s done then it may as well be done quickly. If only the repercussions of the murder could be controlled. If only all the danger could end with Duncan’s death -. If only the death blow could be the end of it -. If only we could escape the consequences of our actions here on earth – skip the life to come -.

Macbeth climbed up to the battlements and looked up at the sky. There were no stars.

The trouble was that we have choice: we have freedom of choice. But if we choose violent options they come back to plague us. And it was that law, that even-handed justice, that was the problem. When we poison others we poison ourselves.

Duncan. Macbeth sighed. What was he to do?

The King trusted him completely. For two very good reasons: first as Macbeth was his cousin and his subject -both very powerful arguments against murder – and then as he was Duncan’s host, who should shut the door against his murderer, not bear the knife himself!

Macbeth walked slowly down the stairs and back into the courtyard. And anyway, Duncan was so gentle as a man, and so strong as a king, that his virtues would cry out for revenge at the brutality of his death. There would be outrage at the slaughter of such a good man: everyone would be so filled with pity that the whole nation would grieve.

No, there was no excuse – only vaulting ambition, which threatened to overreach itself and bring him crashing down.

Act 3: Scene I, Lines 47-75

While the attendant was gone Macbeth paced. It was all very well to put on a pleasant face for his guests but that wasn’t how he felt. He was on edge. To become king was nothing. But to stay king: that’s what really mattered.

Banquo was the problem. He was a big threat: it was his great dignity that was so frightening. And he was fearless. And careful. Banquo was the only person in the world he feared and when Banquo was around he felt inferior, as Mark Antony had done in the presence of Octavius Caesar.

He remembered the way Banquo had reproached the witches when they’d first put the name of king on him. And he had insisted that they speak to him. And when they did they looked respectful and hailed Banquo as the father of a line of kings. On his own head they had placed a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter in his hand! To be wrenched away by a hand not of his own family – none of his sons succeeding him. So it was for Banquo’s descendants that he had corrupted his soul. He had murdered the gracious Duncan for them! Stuck thorns in his peace of mind just for them. And given his precious soul to the Devil to turn Banquo’s sons into kings. All that for the seed of Banquo! Rather than that he would defy Fate and fight it to the death.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

I have 2 of them, thanks Angi:

Macbth Act III scene iv lines 76-84

“Blood hath shed ere now i’ th’ olden time, were human statute purged the gentle weal; ay, and since too, murders have been performed too terrible for the ear. The times has been that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end; but now they rise again, with twenty mortal murders on their crowns, and push us from our stools. This is more strange than such a murder is.”

Macbeth Act III scene iv lines 135-141

“I am bent to know by worst means the worst. For mine own good all causes shall give way, I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er. Strange things I have in head that will to hand, which must be acted ere they may be scanned.”

Thanks!

Plain English Macbeth quote

Blood has often been shed in the past and in previous ages before human laws made things more gentle. And even since then murders too terrible for the human ear have been done. There was a time that when a man’s brains had been bashed in he would die and that was the end of it. But now they rise again with twenty fatal wounds of their heads and push us off our chairs. This is even stranger than such a violent murder is.

I am determined to know, no matter how I do it, the worst. I’m going to make that the priority. I have waded so far in blood that even if I were to go no further it would be more difficult to turn back than go on with it. My head is full of plans that I must put into action before I can think about them.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

can you help me with this it is act 4 scene 3 lines 115-137 by malcolm

Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
By many of these trains hath sought to win me
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
From over-credulous haste: but God above
Deal between thee and me! for even now
I put myself to thy direction, and
Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature. I am yet
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
At no time broke my faith, would not betray
The devil to his fellow and delight
No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
Was this upon myself: what I am truly,
Is thine and my poor country’s to command:
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
Already at a point, was setting forth.
Now we’ll together; and the chance of goodness
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?

Thank you

Plain English Macbeth quote

Macduff, this noble passion of yours, that comes from your integrity has wiped away my doubts about you and made me see your truthfulness and honour. Devilish Macbeth, using many of these temptations, has tried to seduce me into his power and only modest wisdom has saved me. But may God sort things out between you and me. From this minute I’m putting myself under your direction and take back the things I said about myself. I hereby condemn all those terrible things I laid on myself because I’m not like that. I’ve not yet been with a woman, never lied, hardly ever wanted anything that belonged to anyone else and have never broken a promise. I would never betray the devil to his own kind and love truth as much as I love life. The first time I ever spoke untruthfully was in telling you about myself. The truth is that I am yours and my poor country’s to command. Indeed it’s to Scotland that Old Siward was setting out for with ten thousand soldiers. Now we’ll go together, and the chance of goodness will end like our supposed quarrel.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Can you translate this for my 11 year old please

Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand, come let me clutch thee, i have thee not, yet i see you still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight or art though but dagger of the mind, a false creation proceeding from the heat impressed brain. I see thee yet in a form as palpable as this which now I draw. Thou marshallest me the way that I was going and such an instrument i was to use. I see thee still and on thy blade blood dugeon gouts of blood which was notso before, theres no such thing it is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eye
Many thanks

Plain English Macbeth quote

Read the full “Is this a dagger” soliloquy explained

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Translation of Macbeths speech Act I scene III
‘two truths are told. as happy prologues to the swelling
act……………………………is smothered in surmise and nothing is but what is not’, Susan

Plain English Macbeth quote

The witches told me two truths as pleasing introductions to the third, which is that I am going to be king. This supernatural information can’t be evil, and it can’t be good. If it’s evil then why has it given me assurances of success, beginning with the truth? I am Thane of Cawdor after all. If it’s good, though, then why am I giving way to that suggestion whose terrible image makes my hair stand up on end and make my normally steady heart knock against my ribs at the thought of such an unnatural thing? The real fears that we have are not as bad as the horrible things we imagine. The thoughts I’m having are so unbelievable that they’re making me lose myself, so much so that I can’t do anything and nothing seems real.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Hey I need some things translated from Macbeth and I was wondering could you guys help me
It is Act III Scene III ,lines 6-8 If you would be as so kind as to help me that’ll be great
Thanks alot,
Sally

Plain English Macbeth quote

Join us then. There is still a bit of light in the western sky. At this time the late traveller is spurring his horse to hurry so that he can get to an inn in good time. And the subject we’re waiting for (Banquo) is coming closer.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

“So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
I shall be counselled.”
(Banquo, Act II Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

Before murdering Duncan Macbeth encounters Banquo and asks him if he would spare the time to talk about what the witches said. He tells Banquo that he would appreciate it if he would defer to his (Macbeth’s) view about it.

Banquo then says: ‘As long as I don’t betray the king’s trust, am able to keep a true heart and my allegiance to the king clear, I will do as you tell me.’

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

There ‘s daggers in men’s smiles. (Macbeth Act II, Scene III)

Plain English Macbeth quote

Behind the smiles of men there is danger and violence.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

What ‘s done is done. (Macbeth Act III, Scene II)

Plain English Macbeth quote

You can’t change something that’s been done.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none. (Macbeth Act I, Scene VII)

Plain English Macbeth quote

I dare to do everything that it’s appropriate for a man to do. Whoever dares to do more isn’t a man.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Fair is foul, and foul is fair. (Macbeth Act I, Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

There is confusion about what is good and what is bad.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

I bear a charmed life. (Macbeth Act V, Scene VIII)

Plain English Macbeth quote

My life is safeguarded by a spell.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness. (Macbeth Act I, Scene V)

Plain English Macbeth quote

I’m worried about your nature: It’s too gentle and kind.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red. (Macbeth Act II, Scene II)

Plain English Macbeth quote

Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, my hands are more likley to stain all the waters of the seas, turning then from green to red.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. (Macbeth Act IV, Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

An untranslatable spell-making chant! (Read some modern love spells here)

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Out, damned spot! out, I say! (Macbeth Act V, Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

Come out cursed spot of blood!

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. (Macbeth Act V, Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

All the perfumes of Arabia will not make this little hand smell sweeter.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won (Macbeth Act I, Scene I)

Plain English Macbeth quote

When shall the three of us meet again – in thunder, lightning or in rain? When this war is over, when the battle’s lost and won.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me. (Macbeth Act I, Scene III)

Plain English Macbeth quote

If fate wants me to be king, fate may crown me without my having to do anything.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as ‘t were a careless trifle. (Macbeth Act I, Scene IV)

Plain English Macbeth quote

He didn’t do anything as well in his life as the way he left it; he died like someone who’d taken care, in his dying, to throw his most valuable possession away as though it was worth nothing.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t. (Macbeth Act I, Scene V)

Plain English Macbeth quote

Appear like the innocent flower, but be the deadly snake beneath it.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other. (Macbeth Act I, Scene VII)

Plain English Macbeth quote

I have nothing to spur me on to this action 0 only my vaulting ambition, which over-reaches itself and falls on the other side.

 

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (Macbeth Act V, Scene V)

Plain English Macbeth Quote

Extinguish yourself, short candle! Life is nothing more that a walkgin shadow, only an actor who poses and expresses emotion during this hour on the stage, and isn’t heard from again. It’s the nonsense that an idiot talks, full of noise and rage, having no meaning.

 

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quote

She should have died hereafter,
There would have been a time for such a word.

Plain English Macbeth Quote

He’s saying that Lady Macbeth should have died at a more convenient
time. He would then have had time to say something about her death.

 

Read Macbeth in modern English >>

3 replies
  1. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    “Well, march we on to give obedience where ‘tis truly owed. Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal, and with him pout we, in our country’s purge, each drop of us.” (V. ii. 31-34.)

    Reply
  2. michele
    michele says:

    so i lose none in seeking to augment it, but still keep my bosom franchised and allegiance clear, i shall be counselled.

    what does this mean

    Reply

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