Homework Help

"Infected be the air whereon they ride,/and damned all those that trust...

user profile pic

nikifal | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 21, 2007 at 7:10 PM via web

dislike 2 like

"Infected be the air whereon they ride,/and damned all those that trust them!" What does that quote mean and suggest about Macbeth?

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted October 21, 2007 at 8:07 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

This is a response Macbeth has to what the witches have told him. He is basically saying that he does not trust their message, namely that he is "damned." Instead he says that those who believe the witches will be damned. Because Macbeth fails to consider their warning, it shows his arrogance.

user profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 21, 2007 at 8:45 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

Yet, he has already succomb to their seduction; not only the air has been infected by him, but so has he.  In fact, an early definition of "evil" still current during Shakespeare's time was that of an infection, in someways growing out of the understanding of the black plague as an evil that spread.  "Damned all those that trust them" is ironic because he damns himself but more out of frustration than anything else because he cannot control them in the way they have a control over him.  Just as he wants more information, "poof"! they vanish. Yet of course the other irony is he is indeed "damned" for trusting them for more information for him to realize his now pernicious dreams of power.


user profile pic

zozo123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2011 at 1:07 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

he's saying he's damned himself.


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes