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What quotes can I use to illustrate the themes of greed, evil, guilt, and appearance...

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acerv001 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM via web

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What quotes can I use to illustrate the themes of greed, evil, guilt, and appearance vs. reality in "Macbeth"?

I need at least ten quotes for each theme.


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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 5, 2009 at 6:59 PM (Answer #1)

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I haven't got space to provide you with all ten quotes: but I'll give you a couple and then tell you where else to look.

Greed / Ambition

Look at the conversations between Lady M and Macbeth (she is, of course, his "dearest partner of greatness" and don't forget her first scene:

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
What thou art promised.


The witches is the obvious place to look. Don't forget the apparitions scene and Banquo's ghost. Though there's lots of other stuff, particularly when Macbeth (alone) considers the witches:

Is this a dagger I see before me?

These supernatural solicitings cannot be ill,
Cannot be good...


This is the most difficult one, I think, in your list. Look later in the play, particularly at Lady M's mad scene - though it's difficult to find evidence of Macbeth feeling guilty:

Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes
of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh,

Appearance versus reality

Lots on this one: look at what Lady M says to her husband early in the play. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" is the obvious one, though.

Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

I've also put a link to our enotes text below to make life easier. Hope it helps!

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