Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.
Character: this quote reveals Macbeth’s overconfident character. Macbeth becomes overconfident as a result of this apparition because he interprets it to mean that he is safe until Birnam wood moves to his palace gate, a feat that would take centuries.
Theme: this quote develops the theme “there are negative repercussions for those who cannot decipher the difference between appearance and reality”. Macbeth believes that he is invincible as a forest cannot move. In reality, the English are using trees to mask their numbers as they attach Dunsiane. Because of his mistake, Macbeth dies.
Foreshadowing: this quote contains foreshadowing. The apparition tells Macbeth that he is safe until Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane. This actually happens in Act V when the opposing force cuts down trees to disguise their numbers, making it appear as though the forest is moving.
from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be The firstlings of my hand.
Character: Macbeth’s impulsive character is demonstrated here. Macbeth is saying that he will no longer be reflective and contemplative regarding his actions but will act immediately.
Plot: this quote moves the plot forward. Macbeth’s new found impulsiveness leads to the deaths of Macduff’s family, an act he would not have committed earlier in the play.
Theme: this quote develops the theme “when ambition is unchecked by moral constraints, destruction ensues”. Macbeth’s morals tell him that killing innocent people is wrong. However, he is so ambitious to secure his position as king that he kills Macduff’s family even though he was told to beware Macduff only. Because of his crime, Macbeth is killed by an enraged Macduff.
3. Lady Macduff
Wisdom! To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
His mansion and his titles in a place
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
Character: Lady Macduff’s judgmental character is developed here. She assumes that her husband has fled Scotland because he is a traitor and judges him as being careless.
Foil: Lady Macduff’s weak character serves as a foil to Lady Macbeth’s strong one. Lady Macduff is angry with her husband for leaving their family alone in tumultuous times as she feels she is too weak to protect herself from harm. Lady Macbeth on the other hand takes control of situations and does not rely on her husband.
Dramatic irony; lady Macduff assumes that her husband fled the country because he is a traitor and does not love his family. We the audience know that he left to save Scotland from Macbeth so as to provide a better life for his family.
Theme: the theme “there are negative repercussions for those who cannot decipher the difference between appearance and reality” is developed here. To Lady Macduff, it appears as though her husband fled because he is a traitor to Scotland. This is only partially true. Although Macduff is a traitor to Macbeth, he has fled to England to save Scotland. Her mistake costs her dearly as she does not know the danger she faces and as a result dies when Macbeth sends murderers to Fife.
Did heaven look on,
And would not take their par? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee!
Character: this quote develops Macduff’s remorseful character. He feels remorse for what happened to his family and accepts full responsibility for their murders.
Plot: the plot is moved forward when Macduff learns of his family’s murder. He vows revenge against Macbeth and makes it his personal task to ensure that Macbeth does not live.
but, for your husband,
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
The fits o’ the season. I dare not speak much further,
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear.
Character: this quote demonstrates Ross’s loyal character. He is defending his cousin Macduff to Lady Macbeth by explaining that he is a just and trustworthy man and not a traitor. OR Character: this quote demonstrates Macduff’s character. Ross is defending his cousin to Lady Macduff and explains that although it appears as though Macduff is a traitor he is actually “noble, wise, [and] judicious”.
Dramatic irony: the audience knows that Macduff is in England to save Scotland from Macbeth’s rule, knowledge that Ross also shares. However, Lady Macduff is not privy to this information.
Foreshadowing: in the above quote, Ross tells Lady Macduff that they do not truly know what they fear. As soon as Ross leaves Fife, Lady Macduff, her children, and her servants are ambushed by hired murderers, an unexpected
and unknown threat.