Sunday, 11 September 2011

MACBETH Comment on important lines


         


1. Fair is foul……..is fair----comment

The line uttered by the three witches in the first scene strikes the keynote of the drama. The witches are the personified forces of disorder and conflict. They speak in enigmatic language. The witches are the anomalies of nature. All that is good is loathsome to the witches and all that is evil is welcome to them. The witches can not do well; evil is the very core of their existence. They have the power to turn the good into evil. They introduce us to the world of topsy-turvy where values are perverted and reversed. The Macbeth world is strange one where the good things are decaying and ‘night’s black agents’ do rouse. Finally these words illuminate the character of the witches. They are the “the lawless of human nature” (Coleridge)





2. There is no art
To find the mind's construction in the face.

Who is the speaker? Comment  

Duncan says this to Malcolm when the latter gives him an account of the death of faithless Cawdor.
Duncan confessed that he had built an absolute trust on him. He had put implicit faith in him but he was most deceived. There is no art that can teach one how to read man’s mind in the face. The face is never the index of the mind. Duncan was deceived by the apparent trustfulness of Cawdor. These words by Duncan are full of ironical significance. Duncan was deceived by Cawdor and he will be deceived also by Macbeth. Just as he had built this absolute trust on Cawdor, so he will choose Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as fit persons to trust and here he will be fatally deceived. These lines underline the fatal flaw of Duncan’s character—his blind trustfulness. Again, these words indicate one underlying theme of the play—the sin of ingratitude and the tragedy of unsuspecting trustfulness.

3. Yet do I fear thy nature......
What thou wouldst highly.

Who is the speaker? Comment
These lines are said by Lady Macbeth after she has read the letter of Macbeth and thus known of the witches’ predictions.
 She has no doubt that he will be king. She has thought too of the shortest way to the throne. But she has misgivings about her husband's nature. She is afraid that her husband will not be equal to the task. Her husband is soft and cowardly by nature. He will hesitate to take the easiest way to gain the throne. Macbeth has ambition but he will not adopt the only means for realising his ambition. For Lady Macbeth, the only means for fulfilling the ambition is that of murder. It is inconvenient but since it is the shortest means, it has to be accepted. But Macbeth covets the thing but he will have it by holy means.
Lady Macbeth’s estimate of Macbeth’s character is totally wrong. Lady Macbeth charges Macbeth with cowardice. He shrinks from murder because of nervous fear, of dread of consequences. This is far from truth.

4. Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits…....
To have thee crown’d withal.

Who is the speaker? Comment---
Lady Macbeth is the speaker.
Lady Macbeth however hopes that she will pour her spirits in Macbeth’s ear and drive away his weakness. She knows that her tongue is sharp and her words will be pointed. They will penetrate his heart and cure him of his cowardice. She is confident that her taunts and reproofs will produce the desired effect on Macbeth. Thus all fears and scruples that stand in the way of his having the crown will be banished from his mind and he will gain the crown that fate and supernatural power have already given him. To Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is already crowned by fate and supernatural power. Now Macbeth will have to stir a little in order to get the crown in his hand.
Lady Macbeth shows here her imperious will and indomitable confidence And with her unshakable faith she thinks that she will succeed in curing Macbeth of her scruples and fears.

5.Come to my woman's breasts......Hold !    Hold !

Who is the speaker? Comment---
Lady Macbeth is the speaker.
Lady Macbeth knows that she will have to play a very terrible role. On the one hand, she will have to tune her husband to the deed and on the other, she will have to work out the details as regards how to compass the murder. At the same time she knows her own weakness too. She feels diffident and unsure of herself. She requires strength of will to tune herself to the terrible role that she has to play. So she calls upon the spirits who help murderers to convert her milk into gall or bitterness. From a woman she wants to be changed to a cruel murderer. She solicits their help to fill herself with terrible cruelty.
She appeals to black night to come covered with the darkest smoke of hell so that even her knife cannot see the wound that it inflicts upon Duncan, and heaven may not see through the thick covering of darkness and prevent her from the unnatural deed.
This invocation to murdering ministers indicates the essential womanliness of Lady Macbeth. If she had been naturally cruel and ruthless as she wanted to be to rise to the occasion that has come up with the predictions of the witches and the ensuing visit of Duncan to their castle, she would not have felt the necessity of this appeal.
6. If it were done...... we’d jump the life to come.

Who is the speaker? Comment---.

Macbeth is the speaker here.
New Clarendon editor explains the lines thus :   “If the act of murder could entangle its   own results and obtain, at   its   own conclusion, its  object, so that this blow might be the one necessary stroke and end the business in this life—just fn this  life,  this  little bank of time in the sea of eternity, I would hazard the life to come.” Macbeth means to say that we always receive punishment even in this world, in that we teach others to do as we have done and are punished by our own example.
In these lines, Macbeth thinks of material consequences of the murder. But his words testify to a tortured conscience. He cannot utter the word, ‘murder’; he can say ‘assassination’—the length and unfamiliarity of the word hide the horror of its meaning. He says it instead of murder..



7. And Pity,  like and naked new-born babe.
.....
Who is the speaker? Comment---
Macbeth is the speaker here.
This is from the soliloquy of Macbeth. Here Macbeth weighs the pros and cons of murder.
Duncan has been a good king. His goodness will plead loudly for him to the minds of men with the trumpet-like tongues of angels against the unforgivable crime of his murder. Professor Cleanth Brooks in his book (The Well-Wrought Urn) expresses his opinion that the images are confused. The babe image and the cherubim comparison are not properly expounded. “Does Shakespeare mean for pity or for fear of retribution to be dominant in Macbeth’s mind ?”
The babe naked and new-born, the most helpless of all things, the cherubim, innocent and beautiful call out the pity and the love by which Macbeth is  judged. It is not the terror of heaven’s vengeance, which makes him pause, but the terror of moral isolation. He ends by seeing himself alone in a sudden silence where nothing can be heard but weeping, as, when a storm has blown itself out, the wind drops and we hear the steady falling of the rain, which sounds as if it would go on for ever. The naked babe ‘strides the blast’ because pity is to Shakespeare the strongest and profoundest of human emotions. It rises above and masters indignation. The cherubim are born with incredible swiftness about the world because the virtues of Duncan are of such heavenly beauty that they command universal love and reverence.
  
8. Was the hope drunk………. At what it did so freely ?

Who is the speaker? Comment---

Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth when Macbeth tells her that he will not proceed further in the plan of killing Duncan.
Macbeth has received favourable opinions from all people and he will not court unpopularity by this act. Lady Macbeth retorts angrily and tauntingly. A drunkard makes pompous boasts of doing this and that. But drunkenness is followed by sleep and when he awakes, he forgets his boasts and looks pale and sickly after the spell of intoxication. So Macbeth’s hope of murdering Duncan was a mere drunkard’s fancy. Lady Macbeth mockingly says to Macbeth that he has now been roused from his drunken sleep and he looks pale and ill at that which he eloquently promised to perform. Then he makes an innuendo that his love for her is also short-lived and imperfect like his promise. It is strong now and it will soon pass away.

9. Nor time, nor place............Have done to this.

Who is the speaker? Comment---

Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth when Macbeth tells her that he will not proceed further in the plan of killing Duncan.

She says that, both time and place were not suitable for the deed when he made the decision of murder. But now time and place have presented themselves to his hand and he is unprepared. Their conjunction has made him nervous. Then she refers to the sanctity of pledge, the strength of determination. She knows how tender it is to love a suckling child. Yet she would forego the tender loves of a mother and tsar away the child smiling at her face and kill it mercilessly if that is needed to redeem her pledge. She suggests that it is much less cruel for the host and subject to kill one's king and guest than it is for the mother to kill the smiling infant at her breast.
The strained violence of the language is to be noted. Her words are cruel and fiendish but her womanliness betrays itself. There is a tenderness in her sentiments and language.

10. Now o’er the one half-world..........moves like a ghost.

Who is the speaker? Comment---
Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth sees in his fevered brain a dagger floating in the air. He is agitated at the thought of murder. The dagger that he sees is a hallucination—a projection of his heated fancy. He realises that it is the thought of murder that he has in mind which takes the form of a dagger to his eyes. He says that night is the suitable time for the dark deed of murder. At night Nature is asleep over half the world and wicked dreams disturb the sleeper with his curtains. Witches are offering sacrifices to Hecate, their goddess at this time. The murderer who looks ghastly and pale is roused to be his wicked deeds by the howling of the wolf, which is his watch. He proceeds to his dark deed with stealthy footsteps like Tarquin when he want to violate Lucrece in order to carry out his plan of murder. He moves silently like a ghost.

11. Had he not resembled my father as be slept, I had done ‘t.

Who is the speaker? Comment---
Lady Macbeth is the speaker here.

Lady Macbeth confesses her weakness. She cannot kill Duncan because his face resembles her father’s. The face of Duncan recalls to her the memory of her father and she cannot “do” it. Her ruthless, cruel, hard tone has gone ; she seems to be week, nervous and broken. The woman in her comes out. Her filial feelings lurking unobserved within her fierce exterior assert themselves here. The picture of the fiendish woman that we see when Lady Macbeth urges her husband to murder is not a real one. She is essentially a woman with the natural feelings of a mother, a daughter, etc. She only tries to suppress the natural woman in her. But Horace has rightly said: “Expel Natnre, Nature will bob out again.”

  
12.But wherefore could I not pronounce ‘Amen’ I bad most: need of blessing, and ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat.

Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.

The agony of the conscience-stricken soul is revealed here. Before the murder, he has hesitated and recoiled ; now he is raving and repining. His mind is sorely convulsed. He could not say ‘Amen’. He had most need of blessing, yet ‘Amen’ stuck in his throat. He is penitent that he cannot join the invocation of blessing to God.   “That he feels he needs or even  speaks  of God’s blessing on his deed is an astonishing revelation of his state of mind.” (Dover Wilson)
These words reveal Macbeth’s state of mind at the moment. It is this remorseful and penitent Macbeth that wins our sympathy. It is worth-noting that Shakespeare so contrives the murder scene that our sympathy goes to the criminal and not to the victim.. In this way, Shakespeare enlists our sympathy in favour of Macbeth. Indeed, he makes a tragic hero out of a villain.

13.            Methought I heard a voice..........chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth has murdered Duncan in his peaceful sleep. That gives Macbeth the torments of conscience. He hears a voice crying that there will be no more sleep because Macbeth murders men in their comfortable sleep. The voice he speaks of comes from within. It is his conscience which speaks to him in the form of a voice. Sleep unravels the tangled silk thread of care. Sleep is innocent; it is the most soothing and comforting thing ; it comes to the innocent; it restores calm to the are worn mind. With sleep the worries of each tired day are at rest. Sleep is the healing balm of injured minds. It is the course of food by which Nature daily restores energy and strength to man’s body and mind. It is the principal restorative agent.

  
14. Will all great Neptune’s............green one red.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth is staring at his blood-stained hands with a fixed hard gaze. His eyes have got glued to his hands. His eyes stare in bewildered agony at his own hands. He wonders whether all the waters of the vast seas can ever wash his hands clean again. On the contrary, the blood in his hand may turn the seas red.
The sense of guilt has completely possessed Macbeth. He is oblivious to the practical considerations. He knows that his guilt is enormous and its mark is not in his hand but in his soul. Macbeth broods on his own deed with horror and with profound sense of sorrow.
The passage is supposed to have been inspired by Seneca’s lines in Phaedra :
‘Not Neptuna, grandsire grave
With all his ocean folding flood, can purge and wash away
This dunghill of foul stain.’
But the superb poetry of the lines is Shakespeare’s.


15. Who’s there, I’ the name of Beelzebub?
………yet could not equivocate to heaven.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
Porter is the speaker here.
 In his drunken state he imagines that he is a porter of hell-gate and is admitting different persons in hell. The farmer he admits first. He committed suicide and so he has come to hell. The greedy farmer hoarded his corn on the expectation of scarcity. He expected that the price would rise and thus he would gain a huge profit. But a bumper harvest frustrated his hopes and he feared that the price would fall as a result of plenty of corn. So he hanged himself. Suicide is a sin and so the farmer is in hell.
The porter’s speech is full of topical allusions. The reference to the farmer recalls the plenty of corn and consequent fall in the price of corn in 1606. That ruined many a farmer.

16. Faith, here’s an English tailor... ...roast your goose.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
Porter is the speaker here.
This is from Porter’s speech. He imagines that he is a porter of hell-gate. He admits into hell those who are sent to suffer in hell. He has already admitted a farmer and an equivocator. Now he imagines that an English tailor is knocking at the gate, He commi­tted a double crime. He cut cloth out of a French hose. The fashion of ample French hose tempted the dishonest tailor of the time to order an excessive quantity of cloth of which he kept some for himself. Thus he stole a customer's cloth and he imitated foreign fashion. The porter adds that the tailor will be quite happy here, because he can heat his smoothing iron easily in the burning fire of hell.
Here is an allusion to the English practice of imitating foreign fashion. This is a satiric hit at tailors who were notorious for stealing a part of the cloth given to them by customers for making garments.

17. Had I but died an hour......to brag of.
Who is the speaker? Comment---

This is Macbeth’s speech in the Discovery scene.
In this speech, he says that if he had been fortunate so as to have died even an hour before this mishap, he could have claimed that he had lived a happy life. Human life holds no real attraction for him. Everything in life is trivial. Fame and grace are no more ; they, have quitted the world with the death of Duncan. They were embodied in the famous and virtuous Duncan. Whatever was inspiring and attractive is no more. Life has ceased to have any meaning and charm for him. To continue to live now is to drink the dregs after the supply of wine has run short. The king is the wine of life because he gives nourishment to life.

18. Here lay Duncan......for ruin’s wasteful entrance.
Who is the speaker? Comment---

This is Macbeth’s speech in the Discovery scene.
. Duncan lay in a pool of blood. His white skin is striped with blood. The idea is that the blood from Duncan’s wounds had flowed all over his skin and looked like gold lace-work on cloth of silver. The white skin of Duncan is compared to a white piece of cloth and blood to golden lacings. His gaping wounds seem to be gaps through which death- entered and destroyed him. These wounds are unnatural openings in his body. They are likened to gaps in a fortification made by artillery. The attackers enter through the breach to lay waste the town.
This repellent metaphors and forced antitheses are the hyperboles of hypocrisy of Macbeth.. Johnson says : “Shakes­peare put these forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth as a mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show the difference between the studied language of hypocrisy and the natural outcries of sudden passion.”
  
19. A falcon towering in her pride of place, was by a mousing owl hawk’d at, and killed.
Comment---

This is a part of the conversation between Rosse and an old man. They are discussing the abnormal happenings in nature and in the animal world. The frenzied heavens are repeating the horrors of the human world. Prodigies are reported after Holinshed’s account of the portents accompanying the death of King Duff. One of these abnormal events is that a falcon towering proudly aloft is preyed upon by an owl. This is most unnatural. Shakespeare uses metaphors taken from falconry. The contrast between the sporting hawk who catches her prey high in the air and the contemptible owl who catches its prey on the ground. The suggestion is that Macbeth in killing his guest (the falcon) by trea­chery and stealth of night has acted like ‘a mousing owl’. “The mousing owl and the rebellious horse symbolise the traitor who struck the king.” (Chamber)
The two lines are based on Holinshed’s sentence “There was a spark-hawk also strangled by an owl.”

  


20. If’t be so... ...the seed of Banquo kings !
Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth is king, but in Banquo he sees an obstacle to his happiness and security. Secondly, the prophecy of the witches regarding Banquo that Banquo’s offspring would be king after him disturbs his mind. Moreover, he .feels his genius rebuked by the superior genius of Banquo. So he plans to do away with Banquo .
Macbeth is here apparently considering the material side of the bargain, but his calculation betrays his keen awareness of the spiri­tual aspect of the crime. He is full of remorse that he has defiled his mind and destroyed his peace by the act of murder. He has killed ‘gracious’ Duncan—he is fully aware of the enormity of the crime. He deplores the loss of his ‘eternal jewel’—his immortal soul by the-act of this murder. Macbeth’s conscience is active here. The pangs of conscience underlying his mundane calculation of profit and loss are unmistakable here.

21. Nought’s had, all’s spent...........dwell in doubtful joy.
Who is the speaker? Comment
Lady Macbeth says this in a soliloquy.
 She says that their end is achieved, yet they do not rejoice in their success. Nothing is obtained, all is spent, since their desire has been fulfilled but contentment remains as far off as ever. The dead enjoy peace which they sigh for. Lady Macbeth envies the dead Duncan who is free from all anxiety and cares of frightened life.
Lady Macbeth is a prey to profound melancholy. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel the vast difference between the poor prize and the huge price. Both are stricken with a sense of guilt and with remorse. But while he distracts romorse with action, her desolation sinks inward, “mining all within”.

22. But let the frame of things disjoint.............in restless ecstasy.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.

Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth that it becomes difficult for them to live in this state of daily fear. They have scotched the snake but not slain it completely. The murder of Duncan by Macbeth is just scotching the snake, not killing it finally. It does not mean the end of all dangers for them. He means to say that Banquo and Fleance live. They remain as objects of terror to them. So he wants heaven-and earth to perish and the whole fabric of the universe break down. He cannot agree to live in such constant fear as to be unable to enjoy life in the least. They eat their daily meals in fear and sleep in all the horrors of terrible dreams. He regrets that they have not obtained the peace of satisfied ambition but they have sent Duncan to the peace of the grave. They suffer on the rack of constant agony and fear.
He is desperate and a rebel against the whole “estate o' the world”, “against both the worlds”.

  
23. Duncan is in his grave............can touch him further.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth envies Duncan who is in his grave. His mind broods over his miseries. Duncan enjoys peace in death while his life is on the rack of constant agony. He who is to gain his peace has sent him to peace. He lacks nature’s supreme remedy. He has suffered the worst that a king can suffer from disloyal subjects. Sword, the enmity of his subjects, the invasion by foreign troop cannot touch him any longer.  Duncan is therefore in a very enviable position.
These lines show the depth of Macbeth’s remorse. He sincerely envies his own victim. Life for him is a fitful fever; death by contrast means a prospect of peace.

24. Come, seeing night……....which keeps me pale !
Who is the speaker? Comment---
 Macbeth is the speaker here.
When he decides to murder Banquo and his son, he makes an appeal to darkness that will cover the day and veil the soft light of the sun which is the “eye or day” which might be inclined to pity Banquo. Let-night tear into pieces that bond by which Banquo lives and that causes Macbeth to be pale with fear, Banquo is said to live by a bond, as it were, which gives him the right to live, Macbeth calls upon night to cut off this bond.

25. O, these flaws and starts............by her grandma.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
Lady Macbeth is the speaker here.
Lady Macbeth says this to Macbeth when the latter is stupefied and stunned at the sight of the ghost of Banquo. Lady Macbeth does not see it; she believes it to be a fanciful creation of her husband’s heated brain. Macbeth indulges in emotional outbursts and gusts of passion at the sight of this ghastly figure. Lady Macbeth tries to snub him by saying that these gusts of passion and startled expressions are only illusions compared to real fears. Compared to true fear (i. e., for which has a positive basis or cause), these are false pretenders. These-fears do not become a man. They may be fit subjects for a winter’s-tale told by a woman. These old wives’ tales are cock and bull stories although the story-teller would always attest their truth and declare that she had them from her grandmother herself.

26. It will have blood............the secret’st man of blood.
Who is the speaker? Comment---
Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth has recovered from his strange fits of passion but is still delirium. He says that bloodshed demands further bloodshed in revenge. Murder always demands vengeance. Macbeth speaks of strange things by which murder is detected. Stones have moved and trees have spoken to lead to the detection of murder. Divination also helps in exposing the murderer. When one can understand the secret connection between omens and the future events they indicate, one can, by observing the chatter of various kinds of birds, track down even a murderer who has take every care to conceal his crime.
Macbeth means to say that murder will out ; murder will have to be expatiated by death. Most improbable things have happened in detecting murders.

27. Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits :
The firstlings of my hand.
Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here
With the witches gone, enter Lennox who gives him the news that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth regrets his delay in decision and execution. Now between the thought and the action he will allow no interval. Time prevents him from executing the fearful deeds that he contemplates. The inaudible and noiseless movement of time steals away ere we can overtake it. That is to say the plan is never fulfilled unless carried out at once. Henceforth what his heart first conceives, his hand shall execute. His plan will be con­verted into a deed as soon as it is formed. The first conception of the heart will be the first act o the hand.
Macbeth has been lulled into a false sense of security by the predictions of the witches. He has become more desperate and more ruthless..
  
  
28. Be comforted....…….to core this deadly grief.
Who is the speaker? Comment
This is said by Malcolm to Macduff .
Macduff is a man of reserve and reticence. He does not speak out his sorrow-laden heart. But the few short words he utters express the depth of his grief. He pulls his hat on his brows and thus tries to restrain his tears and conceal his grief within. He asks questions about the murder of his wife, children repeatedly. His minds  goes about in a circle. He is dazed. The tremendous emotion of Macduff’s repeated enquiry is one of the moving things in the play.
Malcolm realises the depth of his grief. He pats him on the hand tries to console him. He says to Macduff that they will plan their revenge on Macbeth in such a way that when they have done at, they will have achieved a national triumph. In that triumph, Macduff will drown his grief, which if allowed to run its course would be disastrous. His grief is the deadly disease and revenge is “the appropriate medicine.

.  
29. He has no children............ At one fell swoop ?
Who is the speaker? Comment.
Macduff is the speaker here

Kenneth Muir (The Arden edition) suggests that there are three explanations of this passage, (i) He refers to Malcolm, who if he has children of his own would not suggest revenge as a cure for grief, (ii) He refers to Macbeth, on whom he cannot take an appropriate revenge, (iii) He refers to Macbeth, who would never have slaughtered Macduff's chiidreu if he had any of his own.
The second interpretation has no basis. Because Macbeth had children. His anxiety to get rid of Banquo and Fleance would have any sense only if he is supposed to have children alive.
It is more likely than either that he refers .to Malcolm. “Malcolm asks him to be comforted. So the bereaved father says to himself that Malcolm being childless cannot understand the depths of his grief. If he had, he would not have tried to console him with such futile words.
These lines give the character of the man. Macduff is a man of strong family affections. He is not a heartless, affectionless political hero. It is a measure of his patriotism that this affectionate husband and father had abandoned his family in the interest of the country.

30. Out, damned spot…….....so much blood in him !
Who is the speaker? Comment

This is said by Lady Macbeth in her sleep-walking.
 Darkness appals Lady Macbeth. Darkness which she invoked during the murder of Duncan is her terror now. She continually rubs her hand in order to wipe out the stain of blood. This has an ironical suggestion. ‘A little water, does not clean' her of the deed. She hears in her sleep the ball which she struck to inform her husband of the correct moment for the murder. As she recalls the darkness of the night of crime, she thinks of the darkness of hells thus showing as Verity points out “her fear of the after-death”. She is again recalling her old words to her husband before the murder. “Who dares receive it other”. She remembers Duncan lying in a pool of blood. The sight of Duncan lying in a pool of blood has been a persistent memory with her, the horror of which she cannot overcome even in sleep.
There is no order in her thoughts ; old memories come pell mell and jostle against one another. The failure of nature in Lady Macbeth is marked by her fear of darkness. These mumbling in sleep clearly show the tortures of conscience in Lady Macbeth.

31. Here’s the smell of the blood...........sweeten this little hand.
Who is the speaker? Comment
This is said by Lady Macbeth in her sleep-walking.

Lady Macbeth cannot get rid of the smell of blood even in her sleep. The smell of blood offends her delicate sense. She would have it removed with perfumes. But she says that all the perfumes-brought from Arabia, the traditional land of perfumes will not be able to impart fragrance to her small feminine hands. The contrast is between “all the perfumes of Arabia” and her “little hand”.
Grierson notes : “Macbeth’s imagination is visual: it is the colour of the blood that appals him (cf. II, ii, 62). It is an amazing Shakespearean touch that the sense-impression which poisons Lady Macbeth’s memory comes from smell—the smell of the blood when she handled the daggers.’
Verplanck comments : “The smell has never been successfully used as a means of impressing the imagination with terror, pity or any of the deeper emotions, except in this dreadful, sleep-walking scene of the guilty queen.”

32. Canst thou not minister ……...which weighs upon the heart ?
 Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth has grown desperate. He is now impatient and sick at heart. He is callous to doctor's report about the state of Queen’s mind. He cares only to know if the doctor” can minister to a mind diseased and pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, meaning obviously his own diseased mind and his rooted sorrow. He is thinking of himself. His own mind is diseased. A rooted sorrow is the curse of life. He wants to have it plucked out. But is the doctor capable of such a healing ? Can the doctor blot out the deeply inscribed troubles of his brain?  Can the doctor clear the over-charged heart of the heavy load of sorrow that presses his heart by giving him some sweet medicine capable of bringing happy  forgetfulness of all that has happened?
His desire for medicine shows the nature of his disease. It is an inexplicable memory of guilt which he longs to forget. In questioning the doctor he thinks more of himself than of his wife.

33. To-morrow, and to-morrow..........signifying nothing.

Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here
One to-morrow creeps after another from day to day in the most dull and monotonous way till the last word is reached in the book of life.   Each of the past days of our life has guided us—fools that we are—to death and with death we are consigned to dust. Each to-morrow passes into a yesterday.   Each to-morrow comes and goes befooling man, exposing the folly of man’s trust and leading him on to the way to the dust. The pity of human life is that, like a fool, man goes on living from day to day, hardly caring to know that each day carries him nearer to death.
. Life is compared to a brief candle, a flickering-spark. It soon goes out Life is then compared to a shadow. It is unsubstantial and of no importance in eternity. Man when he is alive is no better than an insignificant actor, who for a moment moves about on the stage with pompous pride and passion for the brief period of his part and then is forgotten by all. Life may also be compared to a senseless tale told by a fool—a noisy speech full of strong words and violent gestures but wanting in sense.

34. To doubt th’ equivocation of the friend
That lies like truth :

Who is the speaker? Comment

Macbeth is the speaker here.

Macbeth is nearing the end of his life. His illusions crumble one by one. The messenger reports that as he stood his watch on the hill, he looked toward Birnam, and he thought that the wood began to move. Macbeth is furious. He was fortified by the sense of security that the wood cannot move and so he will not be cut down untimely. He will have a natural death and live the allotted span of life. At first he is angry and calls the messenger liar and slave. He will' hang him alive. But then his mood softens and begins to feel that this may be true. He can no longer give free rein to con­fidence and determination. He now sees the ambiguity of the utterances of the witches. They speak lies which sound like truths. His confidence weakens and he begins to realise that his fall is imminent.

35. I  ‘gin to be aweary of the sun
And wish th’ estate of th’ world were now undone
At least we'll die with harness on our back.

Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here.

 His false security gives way to despair. He begins to be disillusioned. He now knows that he can neither fly away nor wait now. He must face the situation and throw defiance to his enemies. His mood of despondency is followed by that of desperation. He throws a challenge to fate and wishes to destroy the whole universe. His heroic spirit remains till the end. He asks his men to sound the alarum bell: he would sally forth to meet the enemies. He would die fighting. He longer wants the attackers to stay in siege “till famine and the ague eat them up”. He leaves the castle and thus enables the prophecies to be fulfilled. He would fight with his armour and die desperately in tight.

     
36. They hare tied me to a stake : I cannot fly, Bat bear-like, I mast fight the coarse.

Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here.
Macbeth finds that he cannot fly. He has therefore to fight. He is surrounded by his enemies. He compares himself to a bear who is tied to a stake and dogs are relayed for attacking the bear. The bear wants to fight the round in which dogs attack the bear. But as it is tied, it cannot. The dogs run after it and bait it.
Bear-baiting was a favourite Elizabethan sport. A ‘course’ was-the technical term for a bout or round between the bear and the dogs.
The image is appropriate to the condition of Macbeth at the time. The old image of being cribbed and cabined returns, and he laments his confinement, his lack of old expansiveness. Like a bear, he has been overbold and he is tied.

37. Why should I play the Roman fool and die
Do better upon them.

Who is the speaker? Comment
Macbeth is the speaker here.

Macbeth has sallied forth from the castle to meet the enemies. He is surrounded by the enemies, and his soldiers have deserted him. He knows that his defeat is imminent. But still he would continue to fight. He has said that he would fight with armour on. He would not commit suicide in despair and in fear of defeat. His wilt to live and fight is still strong. His courage is still prominent. He recalls the Roman warriors—Cato, Brutus. Antony. They commi­tted suicide in order to escape the humiliations of defeat and capture at the hands of the enemies. But Macbeth will fight till the last. His heroic spirit is retained till the end. His valour is kept up. He will not submit to humiliations. He remains in hero till the end.

38. Look like the innocent flower / But be the serpent under it.
Who is the speaker? Comment
This is said by Lady Macbeth to Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth gives this advice to Macbeth because she finds him nervous and agitated. This advice signifies that Macbeth will deceive the men by suiting his look to the occasion. He will show welcome through his eye, hand and tongue. He will look like the innocent flower and be the serpent under it. His face will be beautiful, but his heart cruel and spiteful. He will hide his heart under a false face. In short, Lady Macbeth asks her husband to be a dissembler.

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