97 Macbeth Quotes About Power and Ambition

These Macbeth quotes will warn you of the corruption that power and ambition for power can bring upon your life. 

Our world is full of those who want to achieve.

Personal development and the quest to be better are constantly in the conversation.

And that can be a good thing.

Ambition can lead you to achieve things that others only dream of.

And power can be used to bring about important and necessary changes in the world. 

However, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a great example of what ambition for power can lead to.

Macbeth’s quest for political power was his ultimate demise.

What are the benefits of reading these Macbeth quotes?

These Macbeth quotes will help you:

  • understand ambition and power
  • remind you that things are not always what they seem
  • recognize the true motives of others

Macbeth was first published in 1623 and was set in Scotland and England.

It is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy and is considered one of his crowning achievements.

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth was inspired by a true story.

In the 11th century, Macbeth became the king of Scotland after murdering King Duncan.

However, years later, Macbeth was killed by Duncan’s son, Malcolm.

Read the Macbeth quotes below, and once you’re done, check out our collection of The Fault in Our Stars quotes for living a meaningful life.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Check out more inspirational quotes on our motivational quotes category page.

Macbeth quotes on ambition

1. “Thou wouldst be great art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.”- Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About ambition

2. “’Gainst nature still! Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up Thine own lives’ means! Then ’tis most like The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About nature

3. “To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About life

4. “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself And falls on the other.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About power

5. “Two truths are told As happy prologues to the swelling act Of th’imperial theme.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About truths

6. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is but what is not.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Murder

7. “To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Speaking

8. But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine) Why, by the verities on thee made good, May they not be my oracles as well, And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Being The Father Of Many Kings

9. “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires. The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Stars

10. “For mine own good All causes shall give way. I am in blood Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Being Guilty

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11. “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” – Macbeth

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Macbeth Quotes About Life

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12. “Either thou, Macbeth, Or else my sword, with an unbattered edge, I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be; By this great clatter, one of greatest note Seems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune, And more I beg not.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Battle

Macbeth quotes about power

13. “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs Against the use of nature?” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Being Good

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14. “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!… Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Being The Future King

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15. “My plenteous joys, Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves In drops of sorrow.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Joy

16. “And though I could With barefaced power sweep him from my sight And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not, For certain friends that are both his and mine, Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall.” – Macbeth  

Macbeth Quotes About Power

17. “Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Duncan

18. “Knock, knock! Who’s there, in th’ other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.” – Macbeth  

Macbeth Quotes About Treason

19. “The son of Duncan Lives in the English court and is received Of the most pious Edward with such grace That the malevolence of fortune nothing Takes from his high respect.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Son of Duncan

20. “’Tis call’d the evil: A most miraculous work in this good king, Which often, since my here-remain in England I have seen him do.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Evil

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More Macbeth quotes and lines

21. “I dare do all that may become a man, who dares more is none…” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Daring

22. “It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Blood

23. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Something Wicked

24. “I must become a borrower of the night.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Night

25. “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.” – Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes About Bad Things

26. “Which shall to all our nights and days to come Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.” – Macbeth

27. “The near in blood,
The nearer bloody.” – Macbeth

28. “Our tears are not yet brewed.” – Macbeth

29. “Tis safer to be that which we destroy Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.” – Macbeth

30. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair Hover through the fog and filthy air. Fair” – Macbeth

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Memorable Macbeth quotes

31. “Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!” — Macbeth

32. “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” — Macbeth

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33. “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” — Macbeth

34. “What’s done cannot be undone.” — Macbeth

35. “…Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make love known?” — Macbeth

36. “False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” — Macbeth

37. “Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, when the battle ‘s lost and won.” — Macbeth

38. “Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.” — Macbeth

39. “Come what come may, time and the hour run through the roughest day.” — Macbeth

40. “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.” — Macbeth

Memorable Macbeth Quotes

41. “I am afraid to think what I have done; look on’t again I dare not.” ― Macbeth

42. “What thou wouldst highly, that woulds thou holily; wouldst not play false, and yet wouldst wrongly win.” ― Macbeth

43. “They have tied me to a stake. I cannot fly, But, bear-like, I must fight the course.” ― Macbeth 

44. “It will have blood they say; blood must have blood.” ― Macbeth

45. “I bear a charmed life.” ― Macbeth

46. “Thou canst not say I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me.” ― Macbeth

47. “He loves us not, he wants the natural touch.” ― Macbeth

48. “A little water clears us of this deed.” ― Macbeth

49. “Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up thine own life’s means!” ― Macbeth

50. “Had I but lived an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time.” ― Macbeth

More Macbeth Quotes 

51. “And nothing is, but what is not.” — Macbeth

52. “My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten” —Macbeth

53. “Too nice, and yet too true!” — Macbeth

54. “Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep.” — Macbeth

55. “Lesser than Macbeth and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.” — Macbeth

56. “Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack! At least we’ll die with harness on our back.” ― William Shakespeare

57. “My hands are of your color, but I shame To wear a heart so white.” —Macbeth

58. “The Weird Sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go, about, about, Thrice to thine, thrice to mine, And thrice again to make up nine. Peace, the charm’s wound up.” —Macbeth

58.“Turn hell-hound, turn.” —Macbeth

59. “Be not lost So poorly in your thoughts.” — Macbeth

60. “I will not be afraid of death and bane Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.” — Macbeth

Macbeth Quotes From Act 1 

61. “Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts”— Macbeth

62. “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me” — Macbeth

63. “There’s no art” — Macbeth

64. “The Prince of Cumberland!” — Macbeth

65. “Stars, hide your fires!” — Macbeth

66. “Let not light see my black and deep desires.” — Macbeth

67. “Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.” ― William Shakespeare

68. “New honors come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold But with the aid of use.” ― William Shakespeare

69. “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking‐place, And we’ll not fail.” — Macbeth

70. “All is the fear, and nothing is the love, as little is the wisdom, where the flight so runs against all reason.” — Macbeth

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Macbeth Quotes That Resonate Through the Ages

71. “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” ― Macbeth

72. “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” ― Macbeth

73. “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” ― Macbeth

74. “I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” ― Macbeth

75. “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.” ― Macbeth

76. “The cry is still, ‘They come!'” ― Macbeth

77. “Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.” ― Macbeth

78. “Macduff was from his mother’s womb. Untimely ripped.” ― Macbeth

79. “Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” ― Macbeth

80. “Out, damned spot! out, I say!” ― Macbeth

Exploring the Profound Themes of Macbeth Quotes

81. “When our actions do not, Our fears do make us traitors.” ― Macbeth

82. “I’ll make assurance double sure, And take a bond of fate.” ― Macbeth

83. “A deed without a name.” ― Macbeth

84. “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!” ― Macbeth

85. “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.” ― Macbeth

86. “Stand not upon the order of your going, But go at once.” ― Macbeth

87. “Now, good digestion wait on appetite, And health on both!” ― Macbeth

88. “Leave no rubs nor botches in the work.” ― Macbeth

89. “Infirm of purpose!” ― Macbeth

90. “The attempt and not the deed. Confounds us.” ― Macbeth

91. “She came leaping towards me, like Lady Macbeth coming to get first-hand news from the guest-room.” ― P.G. Wodehouse

92. “Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content.” ― William Shakespeare

93. “His silver skin laced with his golden blood.” ― William Shakespeare

94. “I knew this was a jewel of a day that would glow bright for my whole life, brighter than any ruby in Macbeth’s crown.” ― Jackie French

95. “life’s but a walking shadow ,a poor player who struts and frets his life upon the stage , and then is heard no more.” ― Shakspear

96. “The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love.” ― William Shakespeare

97. “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.” ― William Shakespeare

What did you learn from these Macbeth quotes?

Ambition and power are typically words that we associate with positive outcomes.

It takes ambition to get ahead and achieve your dreams in life.

Having power can help you accomplish things you might not be able to do otherwise. 

But if you don’t keep your drive for power in control, these Macbeth quotes show how wrong it can really go.

Macbeth ultimately lost his family and then his own life as well.

Finding the balance and making sure you use your ambition and power well is key.

You don’t have to be afraid to seek something more.

Just make sure you aren’t doing it at the cost of others. 

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Macbeth quotes and lines?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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