MacBeth quote

I was hoping someone can help be find a quote from Shakespeare’s MacBeth. In it he (MacBeth) is saying that he’s gone so far that to turn around and go back would be just as difficult as seeing the thing through to the end. I seem to remember the notion of a river of blood, but all my searches on the various MacBeth sites haven’t returned the quote I’m looking for.

Thanks for your help!

This is probably what you want:

“By the worst means the worst. For mine own good
All causes shall give way. I am in blood
Steeped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (Macbeth 3.4.136-139)

From memory: “I am in blood stepped [sometimes stepp’d] so far that, should I walk no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

Looking it up: Yeah, that’s pretty close. Act III, Scene 4. I got the word “walk” wrong – it’s actually “wade no more.”

You might be conflating this with Act II, Scene 2, in which Macbeth asks whether or not the whole ocean is enough to wash away his blood, and says he’ll make the sea red, in order to get your “river of blood” reference.

Darn simulpost while I was checking the links.

Incidentally, the difference between “stepp’d” and “steeped” and “stepped” is editorial preference. I don’t remember what the original Folio text says.

That’s the one!! Thank you very much!


You spoke the name of The Scottish Play!

Now you must go outside and turn around three times, widdershins.
Our theatre professor actually made me and another professor do this last semester. We humored him.

One might argue, Dr. Rieux, that the OP was not naming the play, but the character, since the line in question was, indeed, spoken by MacBeth, rather than one of the other characters. So far as I know, it’s perfectly allowable to name the character.

You must not say the name of this play in a theatre! You must call the lead characters Lord M and Lady M.
Outside of the theatre you may be safe, but I am not sure.
So to be on the safe side please do go out the door and turn around three times and SPIT!
Please don’t let this happen again or you risk the rath of all theatre Gods.

Remember rule number 2 of theatre - Don’t play with the props.
Especially Lord M’s sword!