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Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary: If it were done when 'tis done... (1.7.1-29)

If it were done...quickly (1-2)

i.e., If I could guarantee no further complications arise from the murder, and the whole matter would be neatly concluded, then it would be best to kill Duncan and kill him quickly: "If it were done [finished] when 'tis done." Note the foreshadowing in these lines. Wrestling with the consequences of Duncan's murder will be Macbeth's downfall.

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How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Macbeth Soliloquy Glossary. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2008. < http://shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth/soliloquies/donequickly.html >.




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'If I had three ears I'd hear thee.' Macbeth. From a Henry Irving production, 1897


Notes on Macbeth

"[Lady Macbeth] charges him with cowardice, the bitterest possible charge for a soldier to endure from the woman he loves. She appeals to him to keep the vow he has sworn, and declares that she would have stopped at no crime if she had taken such an oath. Finally seeing that the chief, perhaps the only, cause that holds Macbeth back from the deed is a fear, not only of failure in the attempt, but of the consequences in case of its accomplishment, she points out a plan by which the murder may be safely committed and the consequences shifted upon the shoulders of others." Thomas Marc Parrott. More critical notes...

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 Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
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