Year 11 Homework – Macbeth Quotations Set 1

Quotations: Homework 1

For your GCSE examination, you will need to know quotations from your Shakespeare play. You will use these to support your essay response. We have chosen 5 important quotations from each key scene for you to learn – you’ll be tested in class.


Learn the following 5 quotations and the context.

They are taken from Act 1, Scenes 1, 2 and 3.


Quotation:       “Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

Context:           Together the witches chant the final lines of the opening scene. It sets up the mischievous and confusing world of the witches, implying that nothing is what it seems on the surface. Furthermore, it suggests the enjoyment the witches get from taking part in ‘foul’ (horrible) deeds.


Quotation:       “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name”

Context:           The Captain gives Duncan a description of Macbeth’s bravery on the battlefield. The Captain’s description of Macbeth’s fighting is very gory and explicit (“bloody execution”) but at this stage Macbeth’s violence and determination is seen as a positive / heroic quality.


Quotation:       O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!

Context:           Duncan is grateful for Macbeth’s bravery in the battle. He praises Macbeth’s valiance (courage) and suggests that he is a great man who deserves success.


Quotation:       “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.”

Context:           Macbeth, echoing the witches, explains how the day is ‘fair’ (good) because they have won the battle, but also ‘foul’ (bad) as the weather is horrible and the violence /dead bodies/destruction is horrifying.


Quotation:       “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”

Context:           The witches each greet Macbeth with a title. Macbeth is Thane of Glamis at the start of the play. A few minutes after the witches’ prophesy, he is given the title of Thane of Cawdor as a reward for his bravery in battle. Macbeth’s determination to become ‘king’ is what drives the play forward. This is the inciting incident of the play: The witches set in motion the chain of events that lead to Macbeth’s destruction.


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