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What are some quotes that describe Macbeths character throughout the story?

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allisonryan | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 31, 2010 at 6:55 AM via web

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What are some quotes that describe Macbeths character throughout the story?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 31, 2010 at 9:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Most of the information a reader learns about Macbeth during the course of Shakespeare's Macbeth is revealed, rather than directly spoken.  So when you ask for quotes that actually describe Macbeth's character, rather than reveal it, you're eliminating most of the play.  In other words, most of the characterization in the play is shown, rather than told.  That said, I'll mention one line for you.

In Act 4.1, after the witches have prepared a nasty brew, presumably for Macbeth to drink so he will see visions, just before Macbeth enters the scene, the Second Witch says:

Something wicked this way comes.  (Act 4.1.45)

That accurately states Macbeth's character.  He is wicked. 

I'll mention one other line briefly.  Referring to Macduff failing to attend Macbeth's feast, Lennox says:

...he failed

His presence at the tyrant's feast,... (Act 3.6.21-22)

He refers to Macbeth as a tyrant.  That is also direct characterization.

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