Shakespeare’s Macbeth is one of his most often quoted plays, with famous quotes aplenty. As ever, Shakespeare brings his characters to live with memorable dialogue, and intense monologues and soliloquies. We’ve pulled together all of the top Macbeth quotes below from primary and secondary characters – as well as a good selection from the eponymous hero – shown in order of the quote appearing in the play, listing the character speaking along with act and scene.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Three Witches (Act 1 Scene 1)

What bloody man is that?

Duncan (Act 1 Scene 2)

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not.

Banquo (Act 1 Scene 3)

Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

Banquo (Act 1 Scene 3)

What! can the devil speak true?

Banquo (Act 1 Scene 3)

Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 3)

Nothing is
But what is not.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 3)

Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 3)

There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face.

Duncan (Act 1 Scene 4)

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

Lady Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 5)

Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry, ‘Hold, hold!’

Lady Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 5)

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 7)

Screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.

Lady Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 7)

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 7)

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly.

Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 7)

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 1)

Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout

Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 1)

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold,
What hath quenched them hath given me fire.

Lady Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 2)

The attempt and not the deed
Confounds us.

Lady Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 2)

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 2 Scene 2)

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold:
What hath quenched them hath given me fire.

Lady Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 2)

Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep:  the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Macbeth (Act 2 Scene 2)

Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee!

Macduff (Act 2 Scene 3)

There’s daggers in men’s smiles

Donalbain (Act 2 Scene 3)

Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.

Macbeth (Act 3 Scene 2)

Blood will have blood.

Macbeth (Act 3 Scene 4)

It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood.

Macbeth (Act 3 Scene 4)

Double, double toil and trouble:
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Witches (Act 4 Scene 1)

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Second Witch (Act 4 Scene 1)

Macbeth shall never vanquished be until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill
Shall come against him.

Third apparition (Act 4 Scene 1)

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

(Act 4 Scene 1)

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!

(Act 4 Scene 1)

A deed without a name.

(Act 4 Scene 1)

When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.

Lady Macduff (Act 4 Scene 2)

Out, damned spot! out, I say!

Lady Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 1)

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

Lady Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 1)

What’s done cannot be undone.

Lady Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 1)

Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

Angus (Act 5 Scene 2)

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where gott’st thou that goose look?

Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 3)

The patient
Must minister to himself.

Doctor (Act 5 Scene 3)

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
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
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 5)

Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

Macduff (Act 5 Scene 6)

I bear a charmed life.

Macbeth (Act 5 Scene 8)

Are any of your favourite Macbeth quotes missing from this list? Please let us know in the comments below!

Macbeth quote image for pinterest on dusky purple background

Read Mabeth quotes in modern English:

6 replies
  1. 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

  2. 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.)


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