I just finished reading Macbeth again for the first time since high school. Shakespeare sets the mood of this tight, short tragedy by having the witches announce in Act 1, Scene 2 that Fair is foul, and foul is fair. In other words, nothing is as it seems in Scotland.
The valiant but murderous Macbeth gets it in the end from Macduff, who was not of woman born, but only after Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane, the castle where Macbeth holes up after the death of his scheming wife, she of the Vaulting ambition, which o'leaps itself. Act 1 Scene 7 line 27. She set the course where Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles. Act 5 Scene 1 line 80. As the Doctor notes, More needs she the divine than the physician. Act 5 Scene 1 line 82.
The play is chock-full of little thought-provoking aphorisms.
Dealing with adversity:
Come what may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 3 line 147.
For the faint of heart:
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour. Macbeth, Act 3 Scene 3 line 36.
Death puts life in proper perspective:
Out, out brief candle! 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, Act 5 Scene 5 lines 23-28.
But perhaps the life cut short was worthy and someone dear to you:
Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth, for then it hath no end. Ross, Act 5 Scene 9 lines 44-45.
God’s benison go with you, and with those that would make good of bad, and friends of foes. Old Man, Act 2 Scene 4 line 40.
Have you ever been anxious to get the hell out of somewhere?
Therefore to horse, and let us not be dainty of leave taking. Malcolm, Act 2 Scene 3 line 150.
Did you ever tell a white lie?
False face must hide what the false heart doth know. Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 7 line 82.
Does love have you down?
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank as love. Duncan, Act 1 Scene 6 line 11.
How about the immutability of life:
Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done. Lady Macbeth, Act 3 Scene 2 line 11.
Don't you just love Shakespeare?