what does "we have scorched the snake, not killed it" mean in Macbeth?
I know it's referring to Banquo, but what is macbeth saying?
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Macbeth is probably one of the most studied of Shakespeare's plays. Here are a few resources that will help you with your work with it. Additionally, more than 7000 questions have been asked about Macbeth here on Yahoo Answers, so do a search for it here, and you will get more help.
- Ms. SpongebobLv 41 decade ago
Macbeth thinks of Banquo in this way because of the witches' prophecy that he will produce kings but not be one himself. MacBeth unjustifiably refers to Banquo like this because he has identified Banquo as a threat that could, as a snake can, lurk in the underbrush and strike him when he least expects it. It is an ironic use of the image, since it is MacBeth who really is the "snake."
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Macbeth comes along, and Lady Macbeth tells him to look more chipper and not dwell on dark thoughts, as "what’s done is done." Macbeth points out they’ve merely scorched the snake, not killed it.
He means they have not vanquished their enemies.
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- 1 decade ago
He is referring to the fact that although they have killed Banquo, Fleance is still alive to spoil their devious plans against the king.