Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth

by

Susan King

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A large province in Scotland overseen first by Gilcomgan and later by Macbeth and Gruadh.

Moray Quotes in Lady Macbeth

The Lady Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Moray or refer to Moray. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers Press edition of Lady Macbeth published in 2008.
Chapter 7  Quotes

“The truth is in what Moray offers,” [Bodhe] said. “Every mormaer of that region has an ancient right tot be called Rí a Moreb, king of Moray. His wife can be called ban-rí, queen. Just now, Gilcomgan and King Malcolm support one another. But if the Rí a Moreb ever summoned men to revolt, the strength of that army would be such that the mormaer of Moray could himself be king over all Scotland.”

“And marriage to me could ensure that for Gilcomgan. Or for our son,” I added. […] He looked hard at me. “Even carrying the blood of Celtic kings, you cannot rule alone. You need a strong and ambitious husband.
“Our blood needs one,” I corrected bitterly.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe (speaker), Gilcomgan , Thorfin Sigurdsson, King Malcolm
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9  Quotes

In the afternoon I looked up toward the ridge of a hill and saw a stand of tall pikes thrusting up like slender trees. The point of each carried a decapitated head, black and gruesome, pitch-soaked to preserve them a long while, until they decayed to skulls […] Aella gasped, near to retching, and hid her eyes with her hand. Bethoc looked away. But I stared, horrified and transfixed, even when Ruari and Conn drew their horses alongside to urge us onward. I remembered that my guard and my only brother had been beheaded but […] never piked.

I would not shrink form the grim display Someday I might have to show toughness for such things, even if I quailed within. As wife to Scotland’s most powerful mormaer, it was in my interest to understand the ways of men and warfare. My own life might turn on that knowledge one day.

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13  Quotes

Together they had conspired to kill Gilcomgan and wrest Moray from him. Macbeth had overtaken my future, and my child’s, out of his own ambition and desire for revenge. My fingers let go the clutched yarn, red strands unraveling like blood to pool on the floor. I turned to leave, to suppress my anger, as Bodhe might have done. But I was not my father.

Swords sparked bright against the wall, where a few of them leaned, unused. One of them was my own. I snatched it up and turned back to face the men. “Upon this sword, which Bodhe gave to me,” I said, “I swear to protect my child from all your cold scheming. Listen to me,” I said through my teeth when Macbeth stepped forward. “No more of Bodhe’s blood shall suffer for your ambitions!”

They stood still, king, husband, and housecarls. An oath made on a blade was a fierce thing and never taken lightly. I wanted them to understand that I was not helpless, no pawn to stand by while their plans destroyed by father’s proud line. Wild Celtic blood ran strong in me, a legacy of warriors, warrior queens, and sword oaths. It was not the wisest thing I have done; it was something foolish, something brave.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), King Malcolm (speaker), Bodhe , Gilcomgan , Finlach , Farquhar mac Bodhe
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Peace and acceptance were not pretty threads in my wool basket that winter. I realized that I was alone in my resentment and anger. Others readily accepted Macbeth as the new mormaer, soon calling him Moray when they addressed him. […]

One day Maeve pulled me aside. “Find some peace for yourself,” she said. “This grief and torment will poison your babe.”

That night I sought out Elgin’s little wooden chapel, intending to pray for serenity and forgiveness. When I pushed open the door, I saw that Macbeth was already there, on his knees before the alter. He wore only a simple long shirt and trews, and for a moment I did not know him. His head was bowed, glinting dark gold in the light of candles. I saw him cover his face, and then he prostrated himself on the worn planks of the floor like a suffering pilgrim.
Faith is a private thing to my thinking, and here I witnessed an intimate side of the man. He appeared contrite, even tormented. I guessed at his sin, the murder of his first cousin Gilcomgan. By the teaching of the Church, it could blacken his soul and affect him for all eternity come judgment Day, if not expunged.

Backing away, I closed the door. I felt a stir of sympathy for a man who felt such clear anguish within himself. When I wanted to hate him most, I could not. By inches and breaths, my resentments faded, much as I strived to stoke them.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Gilcomgan
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17  Quotes

Yet I had to master my temper, as he had done, and stay. Obligation to my kin group demanded that I remain with Moray’s new mormaer, who had no equal among other warlords. Fate had set me in this situation, after all.
I frowned, for he left something unsaid. “What purpose do you see in this union?”

One hand on the door, he turned back. “Together we can tap the power of your legacy and mine,” he said quietly, “and take Scotland under our rule.”

There. He said outright what I, and others, suspected. I straightened my shoulders. This, then, was what Bodhe wanted, and what generations of my kin deserved in their honor. “A thing like that turns on loyalty,” I said, “or falters for lack of it.”

He nodded. “It does.”

“Well enough,” I said, watching him. An agreement of sorts.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Catriona of Kinlossie
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19  Quotes

“Your weapons practice and your desire for vengeance,” Maeve told me one day, “are hardening you, dulling the bed of your womb. How can you expect to conceive a child when you feed yourself on spite and anger? Those are poisons for the body.”

She made me think, I admit, and she made me wonder. But I did not stop, not then. […]

“Your wish for vengeance is sinful,” [Father Osgar] told me one day after confession, when we walked a little. “But it is understandable. Let prayer and faith heal you.”
“I cannot give it up,” I said. “I am not yet done with this.”

“Give it up or keep it close,” he answered, “but know that until you find some peace in your heart, I will pray on your behalf. Grief is sometimes like a sharp-toothed demon that gets hold of our hearts. But its grip weakens with time, and one day you will be free of it.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20  Quotes

“If we were to gain rod and crown,” I said low, so that none should hear but he, “we could satisfy our heritage and avenge our two fathers, all at once.”

“Just so.” He cast me a look that was sharp and clear.

I felt a chill. “You led me deliberately to share your plan, from the first.”

“In part,” he admitted, “for I knew the worth in your blood, and saw the worth of your nature. But I could never have planed as well as fate has done. It has twinned our motives now. Your father and mine are gone, and they deserve this. Our branches, Gabhran and Lorne, deserve this.”

“And the ancient Celtic blood of the whole of Scotland—it, too, needs this.”

“It does.” He smiled, and we rode on in silence.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Finlach
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22  Quotes

Although I had a place on his war council, lately he had not included me, claiming I needed rest. I did not. I needed something more to do, for my household was smoothly run, and my son was finding his way in the world more and more without his mother. With no other little ones to fill my arms, as I should have had by then, I lacked enough to do. […] I watched carefully as I could over Macbeth’s Moray in his absence, and the responsibly was no chore. Later I realized that in small and large ways, I had begun to prepare myself for what might come. Queenship in its many aspects was not a teachable thing, yet instinctively I tutored myself with charitable works and sword training. Inch by ell, I became the small queen of Moray in more than name alone.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Aella , Bethoc
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26  Quotes

“I made a sword vow years ago to protect my own, and I will keep it. I have a home and a son to protect, and I have a husband to support as best I can. All my life I have lived a female among Celtic warriors. My sword arm is trained, my bow and arrow are swift, and I have already bloodied the blade. Know this—my determination is in place. I will go with you.”

Macbeth took my horse’s bridle. “Each one who rides with me contributes to the whole. Your skill I will not argue, but your fortitude is little tested. You would require guards to protect you, and that detracts from the whole.”

“Have you not made it your purpose to uphold the old ways, the ancient ways, of the Gaels and the Celts?” The horse shifted under me, and I pulled the reins. Macbeth still held the bridle. “Celtic women have always fought beside their men.”

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
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Moray Term Timeline in Lady Macbeth

The timeline below shows where the term Moray appears in Lady Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...The other is blue with silver stars, and belongs to Gilcomgan mac Malbríd, mormaer of Moray. Drostan explains that Gilcomgan became mormaer only after killing the previous mormaer, Finlach, the father... (full context)
Chapter 5 
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...accuse his cousins, Gilcomgan and Malcolm mac Malbríd, of killing his father, Finlach, mormaer of Moray. (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
King Malcolm allows Malcolm mac Malbríd to keep his new title as mormaer of Moray, but he will have to pay 150 cows or 33 ounces of gold to be... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...and a show of support for Macbeth’s rightful desire for revenge, and rightful claim of Moray. (full context)
Chapter 7 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...in the great hall, and the two of them discuss her future. He tells her Moray will be a good home for her, and that it is powerful enough that the... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Gruadh wonders why, if Macbeth has a better claim to Moray, she isn’t marrying him. Bodhe explains that Macbeth is married, and although he has a... (full context)
Chapter 8 
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...match is unwise, both for her and for Fife. She counters that joining Fife and Moray is a good decision, but he points out that this would only be true if... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...when Gilcomgan does not ride, and is angry when Macbeth appears in his place, representing Moray. Ruari, who is watching the ceremony from a hillside with Gruadh, insists it is simply... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...their game ends, Macbeth again cautions Gruadh to be careful when she is Lady of Moray. Once again, she ignores his warning. (full context)
Chapter 10 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...linen to sew into bedclothes, gowns, and undergarments for her new life as Lady of Moray. (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
The day before Gruadh leaves Abernathy for Moray, she goes to Luag, Bodhe’s bard. She asks him about Moray, and he tells her... (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
In the weeks and months after Gruadh and Gilcomgan arrive at his fortress in Moray, the couple begins to get along. She enjoys they time they spend together, and even... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
...sons of you […] not wounds.” Gruadh does not feel fully like the Lady of Moray, as Gilcomgan doesn’t like traveling, and therefore has not taken her to meet her subjects. (full context)
Chapter 11 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...few guards—he sees she did not heed his earlier warning to protect herself while in Moray. (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
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...in the fire. She asks him if he did this to become the mormaer of Moray, and Macbeth responds, “I was always Moray.” (full context)
Chapter 13 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Celtic way is better. Malcolm insists Macbeth pledge his loyalty, especially since he gave him Moray. Gruadh understands that the two conspired to kill Gilcomgan. (full context)
Chapter 15 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...wonders if Dermot mapped the stars and told Macbeth the best time to ride into Moray. Macbeth denies this. Gruadh then asks if Dermot has seen that Macbeth will be king.... (full context)
Chapter 16 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...with swords” she would understand the necessity of bloodshed. He continues that an alliance between Moray and the Orkney will be necessary if Duncan comes to power, because the people do... (full context)
Chapter 17 
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...continues to do her best to run her household. She observes Macbeth riding out into Moray and getting to know his tenants. She sees that the people of Moray love and... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Later that summer, Macbeth considers appointing a Catholic bishop in Moray. He asks Gruadh for her input and, impressed with her answer—that a Celtic man “who... (full context)
Chapter 19 
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Gruadh and Macbeth return to Moray in late August. Macbeth transfers his household from Elgin to Craig Phadraig in the northeast.... (full context)
Chapter 20 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...spring Macbeth, Gruadh, and an envoy of eighty men on horseback set out to survey Moray. Gruadh insists on brining Lulach so she can look after him, to prove to observers... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...Macbeth and Gruadh set out, he mentions Enya, Thorfin’s grandmother, who now lives in northern Moray. Macbeth has met with her, and can attest to her powerful magic, although he will... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...more power than could be attained by simply avenging his murdered father and taking over Moray, and when he began to aspire to be king. Macbeth said that from early childhood... (full context)
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Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
While staying with a mormaer whose territory, Ross, borders Moray, Gruadh listens to a bard tell the story of Deirdre and Naisi. Although Deirdre was... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
...Gruadh with a small dagger with which she can keep herself safe. They travel towards Moray’s border with Argyll, where Graudh’s mother, Ailsa, was born, and these men promise Macbeth three... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...promises to pray for Macbeth’s soul, but Macbeth “asked him to say the prayers for Moray, and all Scotland, instead.” (full context)
Chapter 21 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...been asked to serve as Duncan’s general. He puns drily that while the crown needs Moray, it is also true that “Moray needs the crown.” (full context)
Chapter 22 
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...community, Gruadh begins to prepare herself for queenship. In exchange for her goodwill, people in Moray begin to send gifts back to her, which she sees as an indication that in... (full context)
Chapter 23 
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...of men to warn Gruadh and Macbeth that Scottish warships have been sighted off the Moray coast. Duncan has asked Thorfin for tribute for his province of Caithness (which he owns... (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
...of women warriors, and marching by Macbeth’s side makes both of them seem strong, “for Moray, for Lulach. And Scotland.” Finn eventually agrees. (full context)
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...to Gruadh. In thanks, she tells Ketill to tell Thorfin she hopes for peace between Moray and Orkney. (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...her household and move somewhere safer. He tells her Thorfin wants to join together with Moray to defeat Duncan. Macbeth considered but refused. Now, he still supports Duncan, and will fight... (full context)
Chapter 24
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...home for an evening. He has been spending weeks and months fighting Thorfin at the Moray border and managing Duncan. At dinner, Dermot recounts a battle between Macbeth and Thorfin, where... (full context)
Chapter 25 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...to Dunsinane and complains that he failed because he did not have the support of Moray’s troops. Behind his back other mormaers have begun to meet and say that Macbeth is... (full context)
Chapter 26 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...inside, but Gruadh will not budge. She argues her presence will encourage the people of Moray to gather behind them. She also reminds him of the vow she made years before... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
...loyalty of her people and is inspired by them. They are unified in their cause—protecting Moray from invaders. (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
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...army crest a hill and see Duncan and his forces on the other side. The Moray army prepares for battle, saying chants and prayers. Before the two sides can clash, however,... (full context)
Chapter 29 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
The next morning, Gruadh stands on the cliffs of Moray backed by twelve hundred soldiers, with her son, Lulach, and her friends—Ruari, Angus, and others—by... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Gruadh recalls that in 1054 Lulach married Thorfin’s daughter, Ingebjorg, uniting Moray and Orkney. That spring, Mother Enya died, and in her last meeting with Gruadh told... (full context)
Epilogue
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...is happy to see her grandson, Nechtan, who is a toddler but already mormaer of Moray, and her granddaughter, Ailsa.  (full context)
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The family gathers inside. Gruadh is acting regent of Moray for young Nechtan, and he jokingly asks her “how his province fares.” Lulach asks Gruadh... (full context)