This week’s quote of the week comes from Act I, Scene VII of Macbeth.
I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”
To help us better understand this quote, let’s first put it into some context. In this scene of the play, we find Macbeth and Lay Macbeth discussing the murder of King Duncan. Specifically, Lady Macbeth is trying to reassure Macbeth that nobody will suspect them of the murder.
Now we’ve got the context, let’s look more closely at Macbeth’s words. When he talks about being “settled,” for instance, he means that he has come to a decision, like when your mind is settled on doing something particular. So we see that Macbeth has decided that he will go ahead with the murder.
As for the second part of this quote, it’s a little bit trickier because of the language used. The “corporal agent,” for example, refers to the muscles of the body. (Note: “corporal” comes from the Latin word corpus which means “body”).
And what about “terrible feat?” What could Macbeth be referring to? That’s right, he’s talking about the murder of Duncan. By using the word “terrible,” Macbeth shows us that he knows that committing murder is wrong – why else would he call it a “terrible feat?” The problem is that Macbeth is so ambitious that he cannot walk away from the chance of being king.
If we put these ideas together, Macbeth is basically saying that he has decided to kill Duncan and, more importantly, he will use every muscle in his body to ensure that the murder takes place.
This quote, therefore, not only provides strong evidence of Macbeth’s ambition but also of his determination to be king.
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