Final Motif Project
English 12
Bailey and Sidney


Theme of hands

In the first scene, the Sergeant tells Macbeth that he didn’t offer his hand of friendship to the rebel Macdonwald. (1.2 21-23)

The weird sisters dance and sing and hold each other’s hands. (1.3 32-34)

King Duncan says to him self something about the work the hand must do is not for the eye to see. But what the eye fears has got to be done! (1.4 50-53)

Lady Macbeth is giving advice to Macbeth and says that he should extend his hand in friendship before he kills him. (1.5 63-66)

In this scene Duncan walks hand in hand with Lady Macbeth and it is ironic because she has just planned how they are going to murder him but she is acting like they are friends. (1.6 28-31)

Macbeth is waiting for Lady Macbeth in this scene for the signal to go kill Duncan. While he is waiting he starts to hallucinate. He sees the dagger and he goes to grab it with his hands but he just gets the air. Then the dagger leads him to Duncan’s room where he murders him. (2.1 33-34)

After Macbeth kills Duncan, he looks at his hands and says “This is a sorry sight” (2.2 18). Then Macbeth talks about how the guards woke each other up and looked at him like he had executioner hands. (2.2 24-25). Then Lady Macbeth tells him that they will be fine they will simply wash their hands with water and be done with this mess (2.2 43-44). Macbeth is so scared after what he has done and doesn’t think he will ever be able to get this blood off of his hands. He says that he will be able to turn the whole sea red with how much blood he had on his hands (2.2 57-58). Lady Macbeth then proceeds to insult Macbeth saying “My hands are red too, but I would be ashamed to have a the heart of a coward too.” (2.2 61-62.

Lennox says that the guards were guilty because their hands and faces were all smeared with blood (2.3 102). Later Banquo says that he senses treachery by saying “in the great hand of God I stand; and thence / Against the undivulged pretence I fight / of treasonous malice” (2.3 130-132).

Macbeth in act 3 says that he feels like someone is trying to rip the scepter out of his hand so that he can’t be king anymore (3.1 60-62). In this same scene, Macbeth was talking to his hired assassins and telling them how they were “borne in hand,” (3.1 80) by Banquo. Which basically means that he was lying to them saying Banquo was the one that had wronged them. And then later asked them to forgive Banquo and lead him on to think that they were friends and then to kill them (3.1 89-90).

Then Macbeth goes to tell his wife how Banquo and Fleance are actually a threat and he would tell her more once the deed had been carried out. He says something about a bloody and invisible hand which to me means that he won’t physically get any blood on his hands but he does because he was the one that hired people to kill Banquo and Fleance (3.2 49-50).

After Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to England, he says something about a “hand accursed” which is his own hand (3.6 49).

Macduff is trying to convince Malcolm that he is on their side and says that people will lift their hands and swords to support him in saving Scotland. (4.3 42). Later in the same scene a doctor says that Lady Macbeth cannot be cured by doctors but “at his touch-- / Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand--/ they presently amend” (4.3 143-145).

In the scene that Lady Macbeth is sleep walking, she acts like she is washing her hands for long periods of time because she is feeling very guilty and cannot get rid of the blood on her hands. (5.1 31), (5.1 35-40). She gets confused later in the scene and starts talking like she did at the beginning of the play and tells “Macbeth” to wash his hands and put his nightgown on (5.1 62-64). Then she hears the knocking at the door again even though there really isn’t any knocking and says “give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!” (5.1 67-68).

The Scottish soldiers are getting ready to attack the palace, and someone asked if there was any news, then someone said something about Macbeth being out of control, and Angus commented “Now does he feel / his secret murders sticking on his hands” (5.2 16-17).

The last scene, Malcolm gave orders to punish the people that were on Macbeth’s side, then he mentioned Lady Macbeth, “Who, as ‘tis thought, by self and violent hands/ took off her life” (5.8 71-72).

Book Reference

Durband, Alan. Shakespeare Made Easy: Macbeth. New York: Durban, 1984. Print.

Online reference