What is the significance of this quote from Macbeth?

"Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."

I am having trouble explaining the significance and interpreting the quote. Can anybody help?

Thanks.

11 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is Lady Macbeth in her sleep-walking bloody hands scene after Duncan is killed, right? She is hallucinating, believing she is seeing blood on her hands. This is when we begin to see the guilt of Lady Macbeth. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot scrub away this blood that she envisions after the murder. She cannot undo what has been done and remove this guilt that is now eating away at her, driving her to madness. Lady Macbeth is now suffering and vulnerable after we see her as cruel, willing to do whatever it takes.

    Famous perfumes and spices come from Arabia & the area. She says that even these won't get ride of the terrible stench of blood she imagines on her hands in her hallucination. Very guilty.

    Hope this helps!

  • 1 decade ago

    It's Lady Macbeth realizing that nothing, even the smell of perfumes from Arabia can get rid of the smell of blood and remorse she feels for all the murders Macbeth has committed. It foreshadows her own guilt in a way because i am pretty sure she commits suicide after that

  • 1 decade ago

    The quote is trying to say that Macbeth feels so guilty about murdering Duncan that all of the perfume in the world could not help cover the smell of the blood on his hands. (unless this is Lady Macbeth, I can't remember)

    Source(s): studied macbeth in school
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    MacBeth is tormenting himself over what he's done. He is saying that while he is keeping the murder a secret, he is wishing he also didn't know about it. He also says in the second and third sentences that he wishes Duncan were alive and could be woken by the noise of the knocking.

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  • Corp
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Well, earlier in the play, Macbeth is greatly anguished by the blood on his hands from his killing of the King. He feels tremendous guilt over having commited the murder. Lady Macbeth tells him that "little water clears us of this deed"; she means literally to wash away the signs of blood. However, later in the play when she obsessively washes her hands she realises the guilt that the blood symbolises needs more than water to be cleansed away.

  • Elsie
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    No matter what she does, she will always know there is blood on her hands.

    It's been a really long time since I've read the play, but if I remember correctly, she goes nuts by the end because she constantly sees the blood of the man she murdered on her hands, even though there is no physical evidence that anyone else can see.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It basically means the speaker's hand is stained with blood (probably from committing murder, but not literally covered in blood) and that they cannot ever rid themselves of the guilt of doing it. the thing about perfume means nothing will ever sweeten the act.

  • 1 decade ago

    The hand committed murder by stabbing King Duncan to death. The hand has his blood on it. Nothing will take away the smell of his blood.

    It's the same as when Lady Macbeth washes her hands. "Out! Out, damned spot!"

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe that's when Lady Macbeth goes mad.

    Her guilt drove her to madness so she's saying that no matter what she does she'll always have blood on her hands. Nothing can mask what she did.

  • 1 decade ago

    this is lady macbeth right? I read it this year and I believe that it means that she will never be able to rid herself of the knowledge that she killed. It might be guilt but lady macbeth is a crazy ***** so she probably isn't feeling guilty about it just acknowledging the fact that she has murdered. it would be helpful if you added the sentences around it to help me figure out when she said that

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