Blood and Thunder: How Shakespeare’s Macbeth Quotes Still Resonate Today

These quotes from Macbeth show how wanting power and trying to get it can make life bad.

Lots of people want to do big things in life.

People often talk about trying to be better.

That’s usually good.

Wanting big things can help you do things others dream about.

And having power can help make important changes.

But Macbeth’s story shows what happens when you want power too much.

Wanting power ruined Macbeth.

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Why read these Macbeth quotes?

1. Understand ambition and power.
2. Remind you that things aren’t always what they seem.
3. Recognize the true motives of others.

Macbeth, published in 1623, is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, set in Scotland and England.

Inspired by a true story from the 11th century, it depicts Macbeth’s rise to power after murdering King Duncan and his eventual downfall at the hands of Duncan’s son, Malcolm.

Check out the quotes below, and afterward, explore our collection of Palm Sunday  quotes for insights on living a meaningful life.

Macbeth Quotes Regarding Aspiration

1. “Thou wouldst be great art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.”- Macbeth

2. “’Gainst nature still! Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up Thine own lives’ means! Then ’tis most like The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.” – Macbeth

3. “To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.” – Macbeth

4. “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

5. “Two truths are told As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme.” – Macbeth

6. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is but what is not.” – Macbeth

7. “To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate.” – Macbeth

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8. But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine) Why, by the verities on thee made good, May they not be my oracles as well, And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.” – Macbeth

9. “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires. The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.” – Macbeth

10. “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.” – Macbeth

11. “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

12. “Either thou, Macbeth, Or else my sword, with an unbattered edge, I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be; By this great clatter, one of greatest note Seems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune, And more I beg not.” – Macbeth

Power-Related Quotes From Macbeth

13. “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs Against the use of nature?” – Macbeth

14. “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!… Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!” – Macbeth

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15. “My plenteous joys, Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves In drops of sorrow.” – Macbeth

16. “And though I could With barefaced power sweep him from my sight And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, For certain friends that are both his and mine, Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall.” – Macbeth

17. “Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off.” – Macbeth

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18. “Knock, knock! Who’s there, in th’ other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.” – Macbeth

19. “The son of Duncan Lives in the English court and is received Of the most pious Edward with such grace That the malevolence of fortune nothing Takes from his high respect.” – Macbeth

20. “’Tis call’d the evil: A most miraculous work in this good king, Which often, since my here-remain in England I have seen him do.” – Macbeth

Further Macbeth Quotes

21. “I dare do all that may become a man, who dares more is none…” – Macbeth

22. “It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.” – Macbeth

23. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” – Macbeth

24. “I must become a borrower of the night.” – Macbeth

25. “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.” – Macbeth

26. “Which shall to all our nights and days to come Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.” – Macbeth

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27. “The near in blood,
The nearer bloody.” – Macbeth

28. “Our tears are not yet brewed.” – Macbeth

29. “Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” – Macbeth

30. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air. Fair” – Macbeth

Important Macbeth Quotes

31. “Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!” — Macbeth

32. “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” — Macbeth

33. “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” — Macbeth

34. “What’s done cannot be undone.” — Macbeth

35. “…Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make love known?” — Macbeth

36. “False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” — Macbeth

37. “Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, when the battle ‘s lost and won.” — Macbeth

38. “Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.” — Macbeth

39. “Come what come may, time and the hour run through the roughest day.” — Macbeth

40. “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.” — Macbeth

Memorable Macbeth Quotes

41. “I am afraid to think what I have done; look on’t again I dare not.” ― Macbeth

42. “What thou wouldst highly, that woulds thou holily; wouldst not play false, and yet wouldst wrongly win.” ― Macbeth

43. “They have tied me to a stake. I cannot fly, But, bear-like, I must fight the course.” ― Macbeth

44. “It will have blood they say; blood must have blood.” ― Macbeth

45. “I bear a charmed life.” ― Macbeth

46. “Thou canst not say I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me.” ― Macbeth

47. “He loves us not, he wants the natural touch.” ― Macbeth

48. “A little water clears us of this deed.” ― Macbeth

49. “Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up thine own life’s means!” ― Macbeth

50. “Had I but lived an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time.” ― Macbeth

More Macbeth Quotes

51. “And nothing is, but what is not.” — Macbeth

52. “My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten” —Macbeth

53. “Too nice, and yet too true!” — Macbeth

54. “Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep.” — Macbeth

55. “Lesser than Macbeth and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.” — Macbeth

56. “Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack! At least we’ll die with harness on our back.” ― William Shakespeare

57. “My hands are of your color, but I shame To wear a heart so white.” —Macbeth

58. “The Weird Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go, about, about, Thrice to thine, thrice to mine, And thrice again to make up nine. Peace, the charm’s wound up.” —Macbeth

58.“Turn hell-hound, turn.” —Macbeth

59. “Be not lost So poorly in your thoughts.” — Macbeth

60. “I will not be afraid of death and bane Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.” — Macbeth

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Act I Quotes From Macbeth

61. “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts”— Macbeth

62. “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me” — Macbeth

63. “There’s no art” — Macbeth

64. “The Prince of Cumberland!” — Macbeth

65. “Stars, hide your fires!” — Macbeth

66. “Let not light see my black and deep desires.” — Macbeth

67. “Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.” ― William Shakespeare

68. “New honors come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold But with the aid of use.” ― William Shakespeare

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69. “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking‐place, And we’ll not fail.” — Macbeth

70. “All is the fear, and nothing is the love, as little is the wisdom, where the flight so runs against all reason.” — Macbeth

Quotes From Macbeth That Hold True Throughout Time

71. “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” ― Macbeth

72. “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” ― Macbeth

73. “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” ― Macbeth

74. “I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” ― Macbeth

75. “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” ― Macbeth

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76. “The cry is still, ‘They come!’” ― Macbeth

77. “Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.” ― Macbeth

78. “Macduff was from his mother’s womb. Untimely ripped.” ― Macbeth

79. “Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” ― Macbeth

80. “Out, damned spot! out, I say!” ― Macbeth

Examining The Deep Themes In Macbeth Quotes

81. “When our actions do not, Our fears do make us traitors.” ― Macbeth

82. “I’ll make assurance double sure, And take a bond of fate.” ― Macbeth

83. “A deed without a name.” ― Macbeth

84. “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!” ― Macbeth

85. “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.” ― Macbeth

86. “Stand not upon the order of your going, But go at once.” ― Macbeth

87. “Now, good digestion wait on appetite, And health on both!” ― Macbeth

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88. “Leave no rubs nor botches in the work.” ― Macbeth

89. “Infirm of purpose!” ― Macbeth

90. “The attempt and not the deed. Confounds us.” ― Macbeth

91. “She came leaping towards me, like Lady Macbeth coming to get first-hand news from the guest-room.” ― P.G. Wodehouse

92. “Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content.” ― William Shakespeare

93. “His silver skin laced with his golden blood.” ― William Shakespeare

94. “I knew this was a jewel of a day that would glow bright for my whole life, brighter than any ruby in Macbeth’s crown.” ― Jackie French

95. “life’s but a walking shadow ,a poor player who struts and frets his life upon the stage , and then is heard no more.” ― Shakespeare

96. “The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love.” ― William Shakespeare

97. “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.” ― William Shakespeare


The collection of Macbeth quotes explores the theme of ambition and its consequences, emphasizing how unchecked desire for power can lead to downfall.

Through various quotes from the play, the message is clear: pursuing power at all costs can result in destruction.

Shakespeare’s timeless exploration of human nature reminds readers of the complexities of ambition and its repercussions.


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