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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 one that 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. 

Macbeth was first published in 1623 and was set in Scotland and England. It is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy and is widely considered to be 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 be sure to also check out our collection of The Fault in Our Stars quotes for living a meaningful life.

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

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

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If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of ambition quotes to set your sights sky high.

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

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

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

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

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

Also, check out these Othello quotes and lines from the famous William Shakespeare play.

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

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

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

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If you’re enjoying this article, be sure to also check out our collection of Animal Farm quotes to teach you the power of too much power.

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  

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

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  

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

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

Don’t forget to also check out our collection of A Course in Miracles quotes from the iconic book.

More Macbeth quotes and lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 to accomplish things that you might not be able to 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 that you use your ambition and power in a good way 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.

Stephanie Kirby
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