Homework Help

Whats the significance of this quote to the play Macbeth?O proper stuff!This is the...

user profile pic

sxc309 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 5, 2011 at 7:04 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Whats the significance of this quote to the play Macbeth?

O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear:
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool. (III.4.1347-55).

 

Please help me.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 5, 2011 at 9:15 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The murderers have just returned and told Macbeth that Banquo is dead but Fleance has escaped. As he was after killing Duncan, Macbeth becomes stricken with guilt. But this time his fear and guilt are increasing and playing on his mind. When Lady Macbeth says, “This is the very painting of your fear,” she means that Banquo’s ghost is a hallucination. Macbeth’s guilt is causing him to see things. The ghost/hallucination is being “painted” by Macbeth’s fear. She is trying to get him to snap out of it.

She tries to tell him that all he is looking at is a stool, but Macbeth sees Banquo sitting on that stool. This entire quote is significant because it shows how Macbeth’s fear and guilt have consumed him. Lady Macbeth seems to have her wits about her, but she falls victim to fear and guilt later in the play.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes