What is the importance of this quote from Macbeth? “The time has been That, when the brains were out, the man would die.. But now they rise again”Note: I am preparing a "Quote Sheet" which i...

What is the importance of this quote from Macbeth? “The time has been That, when the brains were out, the man would die.. But now they rise again”

Note: I am preparing a "Quote Sheet" which i will be allowed to bring in to an english Exam which will be an essay about macbeth

What is the importance of this quote to the play and/ or the development of  the main character Macbeth ?

“The time has been/That, when the brains were out, the man would die,  And there an end! But now they rise again” A4S4L93-95

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Macbeth's memorable line "when the brains were out, the man would die and there an end" occurs in Act Three, scene four; in this scene Macbeth arrives at the banquet in his castle after just having heard that Banquo's murder was successful.  When Macbeth moves to take his seat at the table, none other than Banquo's bloody ghost occupies his place.  The vision startles Macbeth, who feels guilty and paranoid. 

“The time has been/That, when the brains were out, the man would die,  And there an end! But now they rise again” (III.iv.93-85).  Macbeth is really talking about Banquo in this quote.  To paraphrase--if the body is dead, then why has he arisen?  Macbeth tries to make sense of seeing Banquo's ghost at the banquet table.  Macbeth later comments, "This is more strange /Than such a murder is," meaning that murder is common and nothing new, but seeing the murder victim's ghost was a completely unexpected shock.                                     

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