Macbeth Act 1 Quotes 
Analyzed & Explained 
Essay Ideas




Macbeth Act I Quotes Analyzed and Explained


1st quote Act I.2  lines 22-23 “Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements.”


  1. Captain is speaking to Malcolm and Duncan. The captain has been wounded in battle and Duncan and Malcolm want to hear the story of how the battle has been going.
  2. The Captain is bloody and hurt. He told Duncan and Malcolm about how brave Macbeth was killing Macdonwald by splitting him open and sticking his head on their castle walls.
  3. We learn that the captain must be very brave to be bleeding and hurt and still not take credit for his brave actions but to tell them of another person's brave actions at the battle he was just at.


2nd quote Act I.3 lines 41-43 “that look not th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth, and yet are on ‘t? -Live you? Or are you aught that man may question?


  1. Banquo is speaking to three witches is that he and Macbeth see while walking.
  2. Banquo is not sure if they are real or not. They look like women but they also have beards which confuses him and he wonders if they are human at all or if they are not from this Earth.
  3. We learned that Banquo is curious and likes to see all the facts of the situation before he allows himself to believe anything that people say or do. He is a cautious man.


3rd quote Act I.3 lines 71-73 “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sineal’s death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives.”


  1. Macbeth is speaking to the three witches trying to see if they are aware of the situation he does not understand.
  2. Macbeth is trying to understand how he could ever become King he feels it is completely impossible. He doesn't know how he could have possibly inherited some new title and wants to know where the strange witches learn this information.
  3. Macbeth is confused and is trying to understand how three bearded witches would ever know something he did not. He is unsure about whether to trust three witches and is completely confused.


4th quote Act I.3 lines 137-139 “Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature?


  1. Macbeth is speaking to himself wondering if one part of the witches prophecy is true if the other part is true as well.
  2. Macbeth is thinking how horrible he is about even considering murdering King Duncan. It is such a horrifying thought that his hair stands on the ends and his heart beats too fast.
  3. Macbeth is trying to be a loyal subject of King Duncan but he likes the idea of being King and is a little power-hungry but the idea scares him that he would have to kill the King to make this prophecy of the witches happen.


5th quote Act I.4 lines 11-15 “There is no art to find the minds construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.”


  1. Duncan is speaking to Malcolm the King is wondering if the thane of Cawdor had been executed yet for being a traitor.
  2. King Duncan feels deceived because he trusted the traitor. He is thinking that there is no way to know by looking at his face and that he trusted him completely.
  3. King Duncan trust his loyal subjects that are supposed to have his back in battle and feel stupid and deceived for not recognizing that he was a traitor beforehand.



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