History of Literature

William Shakespeare



William Shakespeare - Biography





Théodore Chassériau. Macbeth seeing the Ghost of Banquo, 1854



Type of Work: Drama
Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Type of plot: Romantic tragedy
Time of plot: Eleventh century
Locale: Scotland
First presented: 1606


This shortest of Shakespeare's four major tragedies was written to be performed for King James I and was designed to appeal to the monarch's fascination with witchcraft and supernatural phenomena. The play explores the nature of ambition and the complexities of moral responsibility through the story of a nobleman driven to murder at the instigation of his power-hungry wife. Macbeth's doom is fixed at this first evil act, after which he descends deeper and deeper into degradation in an attempt to conceal the crime and guarantee the invulnerability of his new position of power


Principal Characters

Macbeth (mak-beth'), thane of Glamis, later thane of Cawdor and king of Scotland. A brave and successful military leader, potentially a good and great man, he wins general admiration as well as the particular gratitude of King Duncan, whose kinsman he is. Meeting the three weird sisters, he succumbs to their tempting prophecies; but he also needs the urging of his wife to become a traitor, a murderer, and a usurper. He is gifted, or cursed, with a powerful and vivid imagination and with fiery, poetic language. Gaining power, he grows more and more ruthless, until finally he loses even the vestiges of humanity. He dies desperately, cheated by the ambiguous prophecies, in full realization of the worthlessness of the fruits of his ambition.
Lady Macbeth, the strong-willed, persuasive, and charming wife of Macbeth. Ambitious for her husband's glory, she finds herself unable to kill King Duncan in his sleep, because he resembles her father. As Macbeth becomes more inhuman, she becomes remorseful and breaks under the strain. In her sleepwalking, she relives the events of the night of the king's murder and tries to wash her hands clean of imaginary bloodstains.
Banquo (ban'kwo, bang'ko), Macbeth's fellow commander. A man of noble character, seemingly unmoved by the prophecy of the three weird sisters that he will beget kings, he is not completely innocent; he does not disclose his suspicions of Macbeth, and he accepts a place in Macbeth's court. After being murdered by Macbeth's assassins, Banquo appears at a ceremonial banquet. His blood-spattered ghost, visible only to Macbeth, unnerves the king completely. In the final vision shown Macbeth by the three weird sisters, Banquo and his line of kings appear.
The Three Weird Sisters, the three witches, sinister hags who seem more closely allied to the Norns or Fates than to conventional witches. To Macbeth they make prophetic statements which are true but deceptive. Their prophecy of his becoming thane of Cawdor is immediately fulfilled, tempting him to take direct action to carry out the second prophecy, that he shall be king. They lull him into false security by telling him that he has nothing to fear until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane, and that he cannot be killed by any man born of woman.
Macduff (mk-duf), thane of Fife. He and Lennox arrive at Macbeth's castle just after the murder of King Duncan, and Macduff discovers the body. A brave but prudent man, he flees Scotland and offers his help to Malcolm. Underestimating the villainy of Macbeth's character, he is thunderstruck at hearing of the atrocious murder of his wife and children. He becomes a steel-hearted avenger. Before killing Macbeth, he deprives him of his last symbol of security, for as a Cesarean child he was not actually born of woman. He presents Macbeth's head to Malcolm and proclaims the young prince king of Scotland.
Duncan (dung'kan), king of Scotland. Gentle and trusting, he shows great kindness to Macbeth. His murder by Macbeth is therefore almost incredibly fiendish.
Malcolm (ml'kam), King Duncan's eldest son. Far more cautious and shrewd than his father, he leaves for England to escape possible assassination. He is reluctant to give his trust to Macduff but finally, realizing his loyalty, accepts his aid in taking the throne of Scotland.
Donalbain (don'sl-ban), King Duncan's younger son. After consulting with Malcolm, he agrees to take a separate path, going to Ireland so that the potential heirs to the throne would not be accessible to a common assassination.
Fleance (fle'sns), the son of Banquo. He escapes the murderers who kill his father and lives to haunt Macbeth with the three weird sisters' prophecy that kings will spring from Banquo's line.
Ross, a nobleman of Scotland. He is Duncan's messenger to Macbeth, bringing him word of his new title, Thane of Cawdor. He also bears news to his kinswoman, Lady Macduff, of her husband's departure from Scotland. His third and most terrible office as messenger is to carry word to Macduff of the destruction of his entire family. He fights in Malcolm's army against Macbeth.
Lennox, a nobleman of Scotland. He is Macduff's companion when the latter brings the message to King Duncan at Macbeth's castle. He also deserts Macbeth and joins forces with Malcolm.
Lady Macduff, a victim of Macbeth's most horrible atrocity. She is human and pathetic.
A Boy, the son of Macduff, a brave and precocious child. He faces Macbeth's hired murderers without flinching and dies calling to his mother to save herself.
Siward (se'wsrd, se'srd), earl of Northumberland, the general of the English forces supporting Malcolm. He is the type of the noble father accepting stoically the death of a heroic son.
Young Siward, the general's courageous son. He dies fighting Macbeth hand to hand.
A Scottish Doctor. Called in to minister to Lady Macbeth, he is witness of her sleepwalking in which she relives the night of the murder.
A Gentlewoman, an attendant to Lady Macbeth. She is with the Doctor and observes Lady Macbeth during the sleepwalking scene.
A Sergeant (also called Captain in the Folio text), a wounded survivor of the battle at the beginning of the play. He reports to King Duncan the heroism of Macbeth and Banquo.
A Porter, a comical drunkard. Roused by the knocking on the castle door, he pretends to be the gatekeeper of Hell and imagines various candidates clamoring for admission. The audience, knowing of Duncan's murder, can realize how ironically near the truth is the idea of the castle as Hell.
Hecate (heVg-te, hek'st), patroness of the Witches. It is generally accepted among Shakespearean scholars that Hecate is an addition to the play by another author, perhaps Thomas Middleton, author of "The Witch."
A Messenger. He brings word that Birnam Wood is apparently moving. His message destroys one of Macbeth's illusions of safety.
Seyton, an officer attending Macbeth. He brings word of Lady Macbeth's death.
Menteith, Angus, and Caithness, Scottish noblemen who join Malcolm against Macbeth.


The Story

On a lonely heath in Scotland, three witches sang their riddling runes and said that soon they would meet Macbeth.
Macbeth was the noble thane of Glamis, recently victorious in a great battle against Vikings and Scottish rebels. For his brave deeds, King Duncan intended to confer upon him the lands of the rebellious thane of Cawdor. But before Macbeth saw the king, he and his friend Ban-quo met the three weird witches upon the dark moor. The wild and frightful women greeted Macbeth by first calling him thane of Glamis, then thane of Cawdor, and finally, King of Scotland. Too, they prophesied that Ban-quo's heirs would reign in Scotland in years to come.
When Macbeth tried to question the three hags, they vanished. Macbeth thought very little about the strange prophecy until he met one of Duncan's messengers, who told him that he was now thane of Cawdor. This piece of news stunned Macbeth, and he turned to Banquo to confirm the witches' prophecy. But Banquo, unduped by the witches, thought them evil enough to betray Macbeth by whetting his ambition and tricking him into fulfilling the prophecy. Macbeth did not heed Banquo's warning; the words of the witches as they called him king had gone deep into his soul. He pondered over the possibility of becoming a monarch and set his whole heart on the attainment of this goal. If he could be thane of Cawdor, perhaps he could rule all of Scotland as well. But as it was now, Duncan was king, with two sons to rule after him. The problem was great. Macbeth shook off his ambitious dreams to go with Banquo to greet Duncan.
A perfect ruler, Duncan was kind, majestic, gentle, strong; Macbeth was fond of him. But when Duncan mentioned that his son Malcolm would succeed him on the throne, Macbeth saw the boy as an obstacle in his own path, and he hardly dared admit to himself how this impediment disturbed him.
On a royal procession, Duncan announced that he would spend one night at Macbeth's castle. Lady Macbeth, who knew of the witches' prophecy, was even more ambitious than her husband, and she saw Duncan's visit as a perfect opportunity for Macbeth to become king. She determined that he should murder Duncan and usurp the throne.
That night there was much feasting in the castle. After everyone was asleep, Lady Macbeth told her husband of her plan for the king's murder. Horrified at first, Macbeth refused to do the deed. But on being accused of cowardice by his wife, and having bright prospects of his future dangled before his eyes, Macbeth finally succumbed to her demands. He stole into the sleeping king's chamber and plunged a knife into his heart.
The murder was blamed on two grooms whom Lady Macbeth had smeared with Duncan's blood while they were asleep. But the deed was hardly without suspicion in the castle, and when the murder was revealed, the dead king's sons fled, Malcolm to England, Donalbain to Ireland. Macbeth was proclaimed king. But Macduff, a nobleman who had been Duncan's close friend, also carefully noted the murder, and when Macbeth was crowned king, Macduff suspected him of the bloody killing.
Macbeth began to have horrible dreams; his mind was never free from fear. Often he thought of the witches' second prophecy, that Banquo's heirs would hold the throne, and the prediction tormented him. Macbeth was so determined that Banquo would never share in his own hard-earned glory that he resolved to murder Banquo and his son, Fleance.
Lady Macbeth and her husband gave a great banquet for the noble thanes of Scotland. At the same time, Macbeth sent murderers to waylay Banquo and his son before they could reach the palace. Banquo was slain in the scuffle, but Fleance escaped. Meanwhile in the large banquet hall Macbeth pretended great sorrow that Ban-quo was not present. But Banquo was present in spirit, and his ghost majestically appeared in Macbeth's own seat. The startled king was so frightened that he almost betrayed his guilt when he alone saw the apparition. Lady Macbeth quickly led him away and dismissed the guests.
More frightened than ever, thinking of Banquo's ghost which had returned to haunt him, and of Fleance who had escaped but might one day claim the throne, Macbeth was so troubled that he determined to seek solace from the witches on the dismal heath. They assured Macbeth that he would not be overcome by man born of woman, nor until the forest of Birnam came to Dunsinane Hill. They warned him to beware of Macduff. When Macbeth asked if Banquo's children would reign over the kingdom, the witches disappeared. The news they gave him brought him cheer. Macbeth felt he need fear no man, since all were born of women, and certainly the great Birnam forest could not be moved by human power.
Then Macbeth heard that Macduff was gathering a hostile army in England, an army to be led by Malcolm, Duncan's son, who was determined to avenge his father's murder. So terrified was Macbeth that he resolved to murder Macduff's wife and children in order to bring the rebel to submission. After this slaughter, however, Macbeth was more than ever tormented by fear; his twisted mind had almost reached the breaking point, and he longed for death to release him from his nightmarish existence.
Before long Lady Macbeth's strong will broke. Dark dreams of murder and violence drove her to madness. The horror of her crimes and the agony of being hated and feared by all of Macbeth's subjects made her so ill that her death seemed imminent.
On the eve of Macduff's attack on Macbeth's castle, Lady Macbeth died, depriving her husband of all courage she had given him in the past. Rallying, Macbeth summoned strength to meet his enemy. Meanwhile, Birnam Wood had moved, for Malcolm's soldiers were hidden behind cut green boughs, which from a distance appeared to be a moving forest. Macduff, enraged by the slaughter of his innocent family, was determined to meet Macbeth in hand-to-hand conflict.
Macbeth went to battle filled with the false courage given him by the witches' prophecy that no man born of woman would overthrow him. Meeting Macduff, Macbeth began to fight him, taunting him at the same time about his having been born of woman. But Macduff had been ripped alive from his mother's womb. The prophecy was fulfilled. Macbeth fought with waning strength, all hope of victory gone, and Macduff, with a flourish, severed the head of the bloody King of Scotland.


Critical Evaluation

Not only is Macbeth by far the shortest of William Shakespeare's great tragedies but also it is anomalous in several structural respects. Like Othello, and very few other Shakespearean plays, Macbeth is without the complications of a subplot. Consequently, the action moves forward in a swift and inexorable rush. More significantly, the climax, the murder of Duncan, takes place very early in the play. The result is that attention is focused on the manifold consequences of the crime rather than on the ambiguities or moral dilemmas which precede or occasion it.
Thus, the play is not like Othello, where the hero commits murder only after long plotting by the villain, nor is it like Hamlet, where the hero spends most of the play in moral indecision. It is more like King Lear, where destructive action flows from the central premise of the division of the kingdom. But Macbeth is much different from King Lear in that it does not raise monumental, cosmic questions of good and evil in nature; instead it explores the moral and psychological effects of evil in the life of one man. For all the power and prominence of Lady Macbeth, the drama remains essentially the story of the lord, who commits regicide and thereby enmeshes himself in a complex web of consequences.
When Macbeth first enters, he is far from the villain whose experiences the play subsequently describes. He has just returned from a military success that has covered him with glory in defense of the crown. He is rewarded by the grateful Duncan, with preferment as thane of Caw-dor. This excellence and honor, which initially qualify him for the role of hero, ironically intensify the horror of the murder Macbeth soon commits.
His fall is rapid, and his crime is more clearly a sin than is usually the case in tragedy. It is not mitigated by mixed motives or insufficient knowledge. Moreover, the sin is regicide, an action viewed by the Renaissance audience as exceptionally foul since it struck at God's representative on earth. The sin is so boldly offensive that many have tried to find extenuation in the impetus given Macbeth by the witches. However, the witches do not control behavior in the play. They are symbolic of evil and prescient of crimes which are to come, but they neither encourage nor facilitate Macbeth's actions. They are merely a reminder of the ambition which is already within Macbeth. Indeed, when he discusses the witches' prophecy with Lady Macbeth, it is clear that the possibility has been discussed before.
Nor can we shift responsibility to Lady Macbeth, despite her goading of her husband. In one, perhaps amoral, way, she is merely acting out the role of the good wife, encouraging her husband to do what she believes is in his best interests. In any case, she is rather a catalyst and supporter; she does not make the grim decision for Macbeth, and he never tries to lay the blame on her.
When Macbeth proceeds on his bloody course, there is little extenuation in his brief failure of nerve. He is an ambitious man, overpowered by his high aspirations. Nevertheless, we view Macbeth with much sympathy. Despite the clearcut evil of his actions, we never feel the distaste we deserve for villains such as Iago or Cornwall, perhaps because Macbeth is not evil incarnate, but a human being who has sinned, no matter how serious the transgression. In addition, we are as much affected by what Macbeth says about his actions as by the deeds themselves. Both substance and setting emphasize the great evil, but Macbeth does not go about his foul business easily. He knows what he is doing, but his agonizing reflections show a man increasingly out of control of his own moral destiny.
Although Lady Macbeth demonstrated greater courage and resolution at the time of the murder of Duncan, it is she who falls victim to the physical manifestations of remorse and literally dies of guilt. Macbeth, who starts more tentatively, becomes stronger, or perhaps more inured, as he faces the consequences of his initial crime. The play examines the effects of evil on Macbeth's character and on his subsequent moral behaviour. The later murders flow naturally out of the first. Evil breeds evil in that, to protect himself and consolidate his position, Macbeth is almost forced to murder again. Successively, he kills Banquo, attempts to murder Fleance, and brutally exterminates Macduff's family. As his crimes increase, Macbeth's freedom seems to decrease, but his moral responsibility does not. His actions become more coldblooded as his options disappear. His growing resolution and steadfastness in a precarious predicament are admirable, but his specific actions are repugnant.
Shakespeare does not allow Macbeth any convenient moral excuses. The dramatist is aware of the notion, from contemporary faculty psychology, of the dominant inclination. The idea is that any action performed makes it more likely that the person will perform other such actions. The operation of this phenomenon is apparent as, in the face of complications, Macbeth finds it increasingly easier to rise to the gruesome occasion. However, the dominant inclination never becomes a total determinant of behavior, so Macbeth is left without the excuse of loss of free will. But it does become ever more difficult to break the chain of events which are rushing him toward moral and physical destruction.
As he degenerates, he becomes more deluded about his invulnerability and more emboldened. What he gains in will and confidence is counterbalanced and eventually toppled by the iniquitous weight of the events he set in motion and felt he had to perpetuate. When he dies, he seems almost to be released from the imprisonment of his own evil.





Dramatis Personae

  DUNCAN, King of Scotland
  MACBETH, Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, a general in the King's
  LADY MACBETH, his wife
  MACDUFF, Thane of Fife, a nobleman of Scotland
  LADY MACDUFF, his wife
  MALCOLM, elder son of Duncan
  DONALBAIN, younger son of Duncan
  BANQUO, Thane of Lochaber, a general in the King's army
  FLEANCE, his son
  LENNOX, nobleman of Scotland
  ROSS, nobleman of Scotland
  MENTEITH nobleman of Scotland
  ANGUS, nobleman of Scotland
  CAITHNESS, nobleman of Scotland
  SIWARD, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces
  YOUNG SIWARD, his son
  SEYTON, attendant to Macbeth
  HECATE, Queen of the Witches
  The Three Witches
  Boy, Son of Macduff
  Gentlewoman attending on Lady Macbeth
  An English Doctor
  A Scottish Doctor
  A Sergeant
  A Porter
  An Old Man
  The Ghost of Banquo and other Apparitions
  Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murtherers, Attendants,
     and Messengers

SCENE: Scotland and England



SCENE I. A desert place. Thunder and lightning.

Enter three Witches.

  FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again?
    In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
  SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly's done,
    When the battle's lost and won.
  THIRD WITCH. That will be ere the set of sun.
  FIRST WITCH. Where the place?
  SECOND WITCH. Upon the heath.
  THIRD WITCH. There to meet with Macbeth.
  FIRST WITCH. I come, Graymalkin.
  ALL. Paddock calls. Anon!
    Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
    Hover through the fog and filthy air. Exeunt.

SCENE II. A camp near Forres. Alarum within.

Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant.

  DUNCAN. What bloody man is that? He can report,
    As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
    The newest state.
  MALCOLM. This is the sergeant
    Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
    'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
    Say to the King the knowledge of the broil
    As thou didst leave it.
  SERGEANT. Doubtful it stood,
    As two spent swimmers that do cling together
    And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald-
    Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
    The multiplying villainies of nature
    Do swarm upon him -from the Western Isles
    Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
    And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
    Show'd like a rebel's whore. But all's too weak;
    For brave Macbeth -well he deserves that name-
    Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like Valor's minion carved out his passage
    Till he faced the slave,
    Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
    And fix'd his head upon our battlements.
  DUNCAN. O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!
  SERGEANT. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
    Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
    So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come
    Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark.
    No sooner justice had, with valor arm'd,
    Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
    But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
    With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men,
    Began a fresh assault.
  DUNCAN. Dismay'd not this
    Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo.?
    As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
    If I say sooth, I must report they were
    As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
    So they
    Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
    Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
    Or memorize another Golgotha,
    I cannot tell-
    But I am faint; my gashes cry for help.
  DUNCAN. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
    They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.
                                        Exit Sergeant, attended.
    Who comes here?

Enter Ross.

  MALCOLM The worthy Thane of Ross.
  LENNOX. What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
    That seems to speak things strange.
  ROSS. God save the King!
  DUNCAN. Whence camest thou, worthy Thane?
  ROSS. From Fife, great King,
    Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
    And fan our people cold.
    Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
    Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
    The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
    Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof,
    Confronted him with self-comparisons,
    Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm,
    Curbing his lavish spirit; and, to conclude,
    The victory fell on us.
  DUNCAN. Great happiness!
  ROSS. That now
    Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
    Nor would we deign him burial of his men
    Till he disbursed, at Saint Colme's Inch,
    Ten thousand dollars to our general use.
  DUNCAN. No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
    Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,
    And with his former title greet Macbeth.
  ROSS. I'll see it done.
  DUNCAN. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.

SCENE III. A heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.

  FIRST WITCH. Where hast thou been, sister?
  SECOND WITCH. Killing swine.
  THIRD WITCH. Sister, where thou?
  FIRST WITCH. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
    And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd. "Give me," quoth I.
    "Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed ronyon cries.
    Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master the Tiger;
    But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
    And, like a rat without a tail,
    I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
  SECOND WITCH. I'll give thee a wind.
  FIRST WITCH. Thou'rt kind.
  THIRD WITCH. And I another.
  FIRST WITCH. I myself have all the other,
    And the very ports they blow,
    All the quarters that they know
    I' the shipman's card.
    I will drain him dry as hay:
    Sleep shall neither night nor day
    Hang upon his penthouse lid;
    He shall live a man forbid.
    Weary se'nnights nine times nine
    Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine;
    Though his bark cannot be lost,
    Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd.
    Look what I have.
  SECOND WITCH. Show me, show me.
  FIRST WITCH. Here I have a pilot's thumb,
    Wreck'd as homeward he did come. Drum within.
  THIRD WITCH. A drum, a drum!
    Macbeth doth come.
  ALL. The weird sisters, hand in hand,
    Posters of the sea and land,
    Thus do go about, about,
    Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
    And thrice again, to make up nine.
    Peace! The charm's wound up.

Enter Macbeth and Banquo.

  MACBETH. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
  BANQUO. How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these
    So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
    That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
    And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
    That man may question? You seem to understand me,
    By each at once her choppy finger laying
    Upon her skinny lips. You should be women,
    And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
    That you are so.
  MACBETH. Speak, if you can. What are you?
  FIRST WITCH. All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
  SECOND WITCH. All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
  THIRD WITCH. All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!
  BANQUO. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear
    Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
    Are ye fantastical or that indeed
    Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
    You greet with present grace and great prediction
    Of noble having and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.
    If you can look into the seeds of time,
    And say which grain will grow and which will not,
    Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
    Your favors nor your hate.
  FIRST WITCH. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
  SECOND WITCH. Not so happy, yet much happier.
  THIRD WITCH. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.
    So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
  FIRST WITCH. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
  MACBETH. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.
    By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis;
    But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives,
    A prosperous gentleman; and to be King
    Stands not within the prospect of belief,
    No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence, or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.
                                                 Witches vanish.
  BANQUO. The earth hath bubbles as the water has,
    And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?
  MACBETH. Into the air, and what seem'd corporal melted
    As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!
  BANQUO. Were such things here as we do speak about?
    Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?
  MACBETH. Your children shall be kings.
  BANQUO. You shall be King.
  MACBETH. And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?
  BANQUO. To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?

Enter Ross and Angus.

  ROSS. The King hath happily received, Macbeth,
    The news of thy success; and when he reads
    Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
    His wonders and his praises do contend
    Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that,
    In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day,
    He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
    Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
    Strange images of death. As thick as hail
    Came post with post, and every one did bear
    Thy praises in his kingdom's great defense,
    And pour'd them down before him.
  ANGUS. We are sent
    To give thee, from our royal master, thanks;
    Only to herald thee into his sight,
    Not pay thee.
  ROSS. And for an earnest of a greater honor,
    He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor.
    In which addition, hail, most worthy Thane,
    For it is thine.
  BANQUO. What, can the devil speak true?
  MACBETH. The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me
    In borrow'd robes?
  ANGUS. Who was the Thane lives yet,
    But under heavy judgement bears that life
    Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined
    With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
    With hidden help and vantage, or that with both
    He labor'd in his country's wreck, I know not;
    But treasons capital, confess'd and proved,
    Have overthrown him.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor!
    The greatest is behind. [To Ross and Angus] Thanks for your
    [Aside to Banquo] Do you not hope your children shall be
    When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me
    Promised no less to them?
  BANQUO. [Aside to Macbeth.] That, trusted home,
    Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
    Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange;
    And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
    The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
    Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
    In deepest consequence-
    Cousins, a word, I pray you.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] Two truths are told,
    As happy prologues to the swelling act
    Of the imperial theme-I thank you, gentlemen.
    [Aside.] This supernatural soliciting
    Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,
    Why hath it given me earnest of success,
    Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
    If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
    Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
    And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
    Against the use of nature? Present fears
    Are less than horrible imaginings:
    My thought, whose murther yet is but fantastical,
    Shakes so my single state of man that function
    Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
    But what is not.
  BANQUO. Look, how our partner's rapt.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] If chance will have me King, why, chance may
      crown me
    Without my stir.
  BANQUO. New honors come upon him,
    Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
    But with the aid of use.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] Come what come may,
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
  BANQUO. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
  MACBETH. Give me your favor; my dull brain was wrought
    With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
    Are register'd where every day I turn
    The leaf to read them. Let us toward the King.
    Think upon what hath chanced, and at more time,
    The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak
    Our free hearts each to other.
  BANQUO. Very gladly.
  MACBETH. Till then, enough. Come, friends. Exeunt.

SCENE IV. Forres. The palace.

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, and

  DUNCAN. Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
    Those in commission yet return'd?
  MALCOLM. My liege,
    They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
    With one that saw him die, who did report
    That very frankly he confess'd his treasons,
    Implored your Highness' pardon, and set forth
    A deep repentance. Nothing in his life
    Became him like the leaving it; he died
    As one that had been studied in his death,
    To throw away the dearest thing he owed
    As 'twere a careless trifle.
  DUNCAN. There's no art
    To find the mind's construction in the face:
    He was a gentleman on whom I built
    An absolute trust.

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus.

    O worthiest cousin!
    The sin of my ingratitude even now
    Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before,
    That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
    To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
    That the proportion both of thanks and payment
    Might have been mine! Only I have left to say,
    More is thy due than more than all can pay.
  MACBETH. The service and the loyalty lowe,
    In doing it, pays itself. Your Highness' part
    Is to receive our duties, and our duties
    Are to your throne and state, children and servants,
    Which do but what they should, by doing everything
    Safe toward your love and honor.
  DUNCAN. Welcome hither.
    I have begun to plant thee, and will labor
    To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,
    That hast no less deserved, nor must be known
    No less to have done so; let me infold thee
    And hold thee to my heart.
  BANQUO. There if I grow,
    The harvest is your own.
  DUNCAN. My plenteous joys,
    Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves
    In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
    And you whose places are the nearest, know
    We will establish our estate upon
    Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
    The Prince of Cumberland; which honor must
    Not unaccompanied invest him only,
    But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
    On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
    And bind us further to you.
  MACBETH. The rest is labor, which is not used for you.
    I'll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful
    The hearing of my wife with your approach;
    So humbly take my leave.
  DUNCAN. My worthy Cawdor!
  MACBETH. [Aside.] The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
    On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
    For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
    Let not light see my black and deep desires.
    The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. Exit.
  DUNCAN. True, worthy Banquo! He is full so valiant,
    And in his commendations I am fed;
    It is a banquet to me. Let's after him,
    Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome.
    It is a peerless kinsman. Flourish. Exeunt.

SCENE V. Inverness. Macbeth's castle.

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter.

  LADY MACBETH. "They met me in the day of success, and I have
    learned by the perfectest report they have more in them than
    mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them
    further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished.
    Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from
    King, who all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor'; by which title,
    before, these weird sisters saluted me and referred me to the
    coming on of time with 'Hail, King that shalt be!' This have
    thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of
    that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
    ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy
    and farewell."

    Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be
    What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature.
    It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
    To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great;
    Art not without ambition, but without
    The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,
    That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
    And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
    That which cries, "Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
    And that which rather thou dost fear to do
    Than wishest should be undone." Hie thee hither,
    That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
    And chastise with the valor of my tongue
    All that impedes thee from the golden round,
    Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
    To have thee crown'd withal.

Enter a Messenger.

    What is your tidings?
  MESSENGER. The King comes here tonight.
  LADY MACBETH. Thou'rt mad to say it!
    Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,
    Would have inform'd for preparation.
  MESSENGER. So please you, it is true; our Thane is coming.
    One of my fellows had the speed of him,
    Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
    Than would make up his message.
  LADY MACBETH. Give him tending;
    He brings great news. Exit Messenger.
    The raven himself is hoarse
    That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
    Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood,
    Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature
    Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between
    The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, your murthering ministers,
    Wherever in your sightless substances
    You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes
    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
    To cry, "Hold, hold!"

Enter Macbeth.

    Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor!
    Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
    Thy letters have transported me beyond
    This ignorant present, and I feel now
    The future in the instant.
  MACBETH. My dearest love,
    Duncan comes here tonight.
  LADY MACBETH. And when goes hence?
  MACBETH. Tomorrow, as he purposes.
  LADY MACBETH. O, never
    Shall sun that morrow see!
    Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men
    May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
    Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
    Your hand, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,
    But be the serpent under it. He that's coming
    Must be provided for; and you shall put
    This night's great business into my dispatch,
    Which shall to all our nights and days to come
    Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
  MACBETH. We will speak further.
  LADY MACBETH. Only look up clear;
    To alter favor ever is to fear.
    Leave all the rest to me. Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Before Macbeth's castle. Hautboys and torches.

Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and Attendants.

  DUNCAN. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
    Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
    Unto our gentle senses.
  BANQUO. This guest of summer,
    The temple-haunting martlet, does approve
    By his loved mansionry that the heaven's breath
    Smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle;
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed
    The air is delicate.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

  DUNCAN. See, see, our honor'd hostess!
    The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
    Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
    How you shall bid God 'ield us for your pains,
    And thank us for your trouble.
  LADY MACBETH. All our service
    In every point twice done, and then done double,
    Were poor and single business to contend
    Against those honors deep and broad wherewith
    Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old,
    And the late dignities heap'd up to them,
    We rest your hermits.
  DUNCAN. Where's the Thane of Cawdor?
    We coursed him at the heels and had a purpose
    To be his purveyor; but he rides well,
    And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him
    To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,
    We are your guest tonight.
  LADY MACBETH. Your servants ever
    Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt,
    To make their audit at your Highness' pleasure,
    Still to return your own.
  DUNCAN. Give me your hand;
    Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly,
    And shall continue our graces towards him.
    By your leave, hostess. Exeunt.

SCENE VII Macbeth's castle. Hautboys and torches.

Enter a Sewer and divers Servants with dishes and service, who pass over the stage. Then enter Macbeth.

  MACBETH. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly. If the assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
    With his surcease, success; that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all -here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
    We still have judgement here, that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which being taught return
    To plague the inventor. This even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
    To our own lips. He's here in double trust:
    First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
    Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
    Who should against his murtherer shut the door,
    Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off,
    And pity, like a naked new-born babe
    Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed
    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
    That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
    To prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
    And falls on the other.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

    How now, what news?
  LADY MACBETH. He has almost supp'd. Why have you left the
  MACBETH. Hath he ask'd for me?
  LADY MACBETH. Know you not he has?
  MACBETH. We will proceed no further in this business:
    He hath honor'd me of late, and I have bought
    Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
    Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
    Not cast aside so soon.
  LADY MACBETH. Was the hope drunk
    Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept since?
    And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
    At what it did so freely? From this time
    Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
    To be the same in thine own act and valor
    As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
    Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life
    And live a coward in thine own esteem,
    Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would"
    Like the poor cat i' the adage?
  MACBETH. Prithee, peace!
    I dare do all that may become a man;
    Who dares do more is none.
  LADY MACBETH. What beast wast then
    That made you break this enterprise to me?
    When you durst do it, then you were a man,
    And, to be more than what you were, you would
    Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
    Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.
    They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
    Does unmake you. I have given suck and know
    How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me-
    I would, while it was smiling in my face,
    Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums
    And dash'd the brains out had I so sworn as you
    Have done to this.
  MACBETH. If we should fail?
  LADY MACBETH. We fail?
    But screw your courage to the sticking-place
    And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep-
    Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey
    Soundly invite him- his two chamberlains
    Will I with wine and wassail so convince
    That memory, the warder of the brain,
    Shall be a fume and the receipt of reason
    A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep
    Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
    What cannot you and I perform upon
    The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon
    His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
    Of our great quell?
  MACBETH. Bring forth men-children only,
    For thy undaunted mettle should compose
    Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
    When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
    Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
    That they have done't?
  LADY MACBETH. Who dares receive it other,
    As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar
    Upon his death?
  MACBETH. I am settled and bend up
    Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
    Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
    False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Macbeth and Banquo with the Witches by Henry Fuseli.



SCENE I. Inverness. Court of Macbeth's castle.

Enter Banquo and Fleance, bearing a torch before him.

  BANQUO. How goes the night, boy?
  FLEANCE. The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
  BANQUO. And she goes down at twelve.
  FLEANCE. I take't 'tis later, sir.
  BANQUO. Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven,
    Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
    A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
    And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,
    Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
    Gives way to in repose!

Enter Macbeth and a Servant with a torch.

    Give me my sword.
    Who's there?
  MACBETH. A friend.
  BANQUO. What, sir, not yet at rest? The King's abed.
    He hath been in unusual pleasure and
    Sent forth great largess to your offices.
    This diamond he greets your wife withal,
    By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up
    In measureless content.
  MACBETH. Being unprepared,
    Our will became the servant to defect,
    Which else should free have wrought.
  BANQUO. All's well.
    I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
    To you they have show'd some truth.
  MACBETH. I think not of them;
    Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
    We would spend it in some words upon that business,
    If you would grant the time.
  BANQUO. At your kind'st leisure.
  MACBETH. If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis,
    It shall make honor for you.
  BANQUO. So I lose none
    In seeking to augment it, but still keep
    My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
    I shall be counsel'd.
  MACBETH. Good repose the while.
  BANQUO. Thanks, sir, the like to you.
                                     Exeunt Banquo. and Fleance.
  MACBETH. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
    She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. Exit Servant.
    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
    I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
    To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
    A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
    I see thee yet, in form as palpable
    As this which now I draw.
    Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going,
    And such an instrument I was to use.
    Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
    Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
    And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
    Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
    It is the bloody business which informs
    Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half-world
    Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
    The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
    Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd Murther,
    Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
    Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
    With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
    Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
    Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
    Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
    And take the present horror from the time,
    Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives;
    Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
                                                   A bell rings.
    I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
    Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
    That summons thee to heaven, or to hell. Exit.

SCENE II. The same.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

  LADY MACBETH. That which hath made them drunk hath made me
    What hath quench'd them hath given me fire. Hark! Peace!
    It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
    Which gives the stern'st good night. He is about it:
    The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms
    Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugg'd their
    That death and nature do contend about them,
    Whether they live or die.
  MACBETH. [Within.] Who's there' what, ho!
  LADY MACBETH. Alack, I am afraid they have awaked
    And 'tis not done. The attempt and not the deed
    Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
    He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
    My father as he slept, I had done't.

Enter Macbeth,

    My husband!
  MACBETH. I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?
  LADY MACBETH. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
    Did not you speak?
  MACBETH. When?
  MACBETH. As I descended?
  MACBETH. Hark!
    Who lies i' the second chamber?
  LADY MACBETH. Donalbain.
  MACBETH. This is a sorry sight. [Looks on his hands.
  LADY MACBETH. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
  MACBETH. There's one did laugh in 's sleep, and one cried,
    That they did wake each other. I stood and heard them,
    But they did say their prayers and address'd them
    Again to sleep.
  LADY MACBETH. There are two lodged together.
  MACBETH. One cried, "God bless us!" and "Amen" the other,
    As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
    Listening their fear, I could not say "Amen,"
    When they did say, "God bless us!"
  LADY MACBETH. Consider it not so deeply.
  MACBETH. But wherefore could not I pronounce "Amen"?
    I had most need of blessing, and "Amen"
    Stuck in my throat.
  LADY MACBETH. These deeds must not be thought
    After these ways; so, it will make us mad.
  MACBETH. I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more!
    Macbeth does murther sleep" -the innocent sleep,
    Sleep that knits up the ravel'd sleave of care,
    The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
    Chief nourisher in life's feast-
  LADY MACBETH. What do you mean?
  MACBETH. Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house;
    "Glamis hath murther'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor
    Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more."
  LADY MACBETH. Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy Thane,
    You do unbend your noble strength, to think
    So brainsickly of things. Go, get some water
    And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
    Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
    They must lie there. Go carry them, and smear
    The sleepy grooms with blood.
  MACBETH. I'll go no more.
    I am afraid to think what I have done;
    Look on't again I dare not.
  LADY MACBETH. Infirm of purpose!
    Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead
    Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood
    That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
    I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
    For it must seem their guilt. Exit. Knocking within.
  MACBETH. Whence is that knocking?
    How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
    What hands are here? Ha, they pluck out mine eyes!
    Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
    Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
    The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
    Making the green one red.

Re-enter Lady Macbeth.

  LADY MACBETH. My hands are of your color, but I shame
    To wear a heart so white. [Knocking within.] I hear knocking
    At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.
    A little water clears us of this deed.
    How easy is it then! Your constancy
    Hath left you unattended. [Knocking within.] Hark, more
    Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
    And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
    So poorly in your thoughts.
  MACBETH. To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.
                                                Knocking within.
    Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!

SCENE III. The same.

Enter a Porter. Knocking within.

  PORTER. Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of Hell
    Gate, he should have old turning the key. [Knocking within.]
    Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of Belzebub?
    a farmer that hanged himself on th' expectation of plenty.
    in time! Have napkins enow about you; here you'll sweat fort.
    [Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who's there, in th' other
    devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear
    both the scales against either scale, who committed treason
    enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O,
    come in, equivocator. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock!
    Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come hither, for
    stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor; here you may
    roast your goose. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Never at
    quiet! What are you? But this place is too cold for hell.
    devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some
    all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting
    bonfire. [Knocking within.] Anon, anon! I pray you, remember
                                                 Opens the gate.

Enter Macduff and Lennox.

  MACDUFF. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
    That you do lie so late?
  PORTER. Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock; and
    drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.
  MACDUFF. What three things does drink especially provoke?
  PORTER. Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery,
    it provokes and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it
    away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be
    equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it
    him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him and
    him; makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion,
    equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the lie, leaves
  MACDUFF. I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.
  PORTER. That it did, sir, i' the very throat on me; but
    him for his lie, and, I think, being too strong for him,
    he took up my legs sometime, yet I made shift to cast him.
  MACDUFF. Is thy master stirring?

Enter Macbeth.

    Our knocking has awaked him; here he comes.
  LENNOX. Good morrow, noble sir.
  MACBETH. morrow, both.
  MACDUFF. Is the King stirring, worthy Thane?
  MACBETH. Not yet.
  MACDUFF. He did command me to call timely on him;
    I have almost slipp'd the hour.
  MACBETH. I'll bring you to him.
  MACDUFF. I know this is a joyful trouble to you,
    But yet 'tis one.
  MACBETH. The labor we delight in physics pain.
    This is the door.
  MACDUFF I'll make so bold to call,
    For 'tis my limited service. Exit.
  LENNOX. Goes the King hence today?
  MACBETH. He does; he did appoint so.
  LENNOX. The night has been unruly. Where we lay,
    Our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say,
    Lamentings heard i' the air, strange screams of death,
    And prophesying with accents terrible
    Of dire combustion and confused events
    New hatch'd to the woeful time. The obscure bird
    Clamor'd the livelong night. Some say the earth
    Was feverous and did shake.
  MACBETH. 'Twas a rough fight.
  LENNOX. My young remembrance cannot parallel
    A fellow to it.

Re-enter Macduff.

  MACDUFF. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
    Cannot conceive nor name thee.
  MACBETH. LENNOX. What's the matter?
  MACDUFF. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.
    Most sacrilegious murther hath broke ope
    The Lord's anointed temple and stole thence
    The life o' the building.
  MACBETH. What is't you say? the life?
  LENNOX. Mean you his Majesty?
  MACDUFF. Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
    With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak;
    See, and then speak yourselves.
                                      Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox.
    Awake, awake!
    Ring the alarum bell. Murther and treason!
    Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm, awake!
    Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
    And look on death itself! Up, up, and see
    The great doom's image! Malcolm! Banquo!
    As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites
    To countenance this horror! Ring the bell. Bell rings.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

  LADY MACBETH. What's the business,
    That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
    The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!
  MACDUFF. O gentle lady,
    'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
    The repetition in a woman's ear
    Would murther as it fell.

Enter Banquo.

    O Banquo, Banquo!
    Our royal master's murther'd.
  LADY MACBETH. Woe, alas!
    What, in our house?
  BANQUO. Too cruel anywhere.
    Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
    And say it is not so.

Re-enter Macbeth and Lennox, with Ross.

  MACBETH. Had I but died an hour before this chance,
    I had lived a blessed time, for from this instant
    There's nothing serious in mortality.
    All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,
    The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
    Is left this vault to brag of.

Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.

  DONALBAIN. What is amiss?
  MACBETH. You are, and do not know't.
    The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
    Is stopped, the very source of it is stopp'd.
  MACDUFF. Your royal father's murther'd.
   MALCOLM. O, by whom?
  LENNOX. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done't.
    Their hands and faces were all badged with blood;
    So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
    Upon their pillows.
    They stared, and were distracted; no man's life
    Was to be trusted with them.
  MACBETH. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
    That I did kill them.
  MACDUFF. Wherefore did you so?
  MACBETH. Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
    The expedition of my violent love
    Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan,
    His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
    And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature
    For ruin's wasteful entrance; there, the murtherers,
    Steep'd in the colors of their trade, their daggers
    Unmannerly breech'd with gore. Who could refrain,
    That had a heart to love, and in that heart
    Courage to make 's love known?
  LADY MACBETH. Help me hence, ho!
  MACDUFF. Look to the lady.
  MALCOLM. [Aside to Donalbain.] Why do we hold our tongues,
    That most may claim this argument for ours?
  DONALBAIN. [Aside to Malcolm.] What should be spoken here,
      our fate,
    Hid in an auger hole, may rush and seize us?
    Let's away,
    Our tears are not yet brew'd.
  MALCOLM. [Aside to Donalbain.] Nor our strong sorrow
    Upon the foot of motion.
  BANQUO. Look to the lady.
                                    Lady Macbeth is carried out.
    And when we have our naked frailties hid,
    That suffer in exposure, let us meet
    And question this most bloody piece of work
    To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us.
    In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
    Against the undivulged pretense I fight
    Of treasonous malice.
  MACDUFF. And so do I.
  ALL. So all.
  MACBETH. Let's briefly put on manly readiness
    And meet i' the hall together.
  ALL. Well contented.
                           Exeunt all but Malcolm and Donalbain.
  MALCOLM. What will you do? Let's not consort with them.
    To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
    Which the false man does easy. I'll to England.
  DONALBAIN. To Ireland, I; our separated fortune
    Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are
    There's daggers in men's smiles; the near in blood,
    The nearer bloody.
  MALCOLM. This murtherous shaft that's shot
    Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
    Is to avoid the aim. Therefore to horse;
    And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
    But shift away. There's warrant in that theft
    Which steals itself when there's no mercy left.

SCENE IV. Outside Macbeth's castle.

Enter Ross with an Old Man.

  OLD MAN. Threescore and ten I can remember well,
    Within the volume of which time I have seen
    Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night
    Hath trifled former knowings.
  ROSS. Ah, good father,
    Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
    Threaten his bloody stage. By the clock 'tis day,
    And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp.
    Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,
    That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
    When living light should kiss it?
  OLD MAN. 'Tis unnatural,
    Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last
    A falcon towering in her pride of place
    Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.
  ROSS. And Duncan's horses-a thing most strange and certain-
    Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
    Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,
    Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
    War with mankind.
  OLD MAN. 'Tis said they eat each other.
  ROSS. They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes
    That look'd upon't.

Enter Macduff.

    Here comes the good Macduff.
    How goes the world, sir, now?
  MACDUFF. Why, see you not?
  ROSS. Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?
  MACDUFF. Those that Macbeth hath slain.
  ROSS. Alas, the day!
    What good could they pretend?
  MACDUFF. They were suborn'd:
    Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's two sons,
    Are stol'n away and fled, which puts upon them
    Suspicion of the deed.
  ROSS. 'Gainst nature still!
    Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
    Thine own life's means! Then 'tis most like
    The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
  MACDUFF. He is already named, and gone to Scone
    To be invested.
  ROSS. Where is Duncan's body?
  MACDUFF. Carried to Colmekill,
    The sacred storehouse of his predecessors
    And guardian of their bones.
  ROSS. Will you to Scone?
  MACDUFF. No, cousin, I'll to Fife.
  ROSS. Well, I will thither.
  MACDUFF. Well, may you see things well done there.
    Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!
  ROSS. Farewell, father.
  OLD MAN. God's benison go with you and with those
    That would make good of bad and friends of foes!

"Macbeth and Banquo meeting the witches on the heath" 1855, by Théodore Chassériau


 SCENE I. Forres. The palace.

Enter Banquo.

  BANQUO. Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
    As the weird women promised, and I fear
    Thou play'dst most foully for't; yet it was said
    It should not stand in thy posterity,
    But that myself should be the root and father
    Of many kings. If there come truth from them
    (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine)
    Why, by the verities on thee made good,
    May they not be my oracles as well
    And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.

      Sennet sounds. Enter Macbeth as King, Lady Macbeth
    as Queen, Lennox, Ross, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants.

  MACBETH. Here's our chief guest.
  LADY MACBETH. If he had been forgotten,
    It had been as a gap in our great feast
    And all thing unbecoming.
  MACBETH. Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,
    And I'll request your presence.
  BANQUO. Let your Highness
    Command upon me, to the which my duties
    Are with a most indissoluble tie
    Forever knit.
  MACBETH. Ride you this afternoon?
  BANQUO. Ay, my good lord.
  MACBETH. We should have else desired your good advice,
    Which still hath been both grave and prosperous
    In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow.
    Is't far you ride'!
  BANQUO. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
    'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,
    I must become a borrower of the night
    For a dark hour or twain.
  MACBETH. Fail not our feast.
  BANQUO. My lord, I will not.
  MACBETH. We hear our bloody cousins are bestow'd
    In England and in Ireland, not confessing
    Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
    With strange invention. But of that tomorrow,
    When therewithal we shall have cause of state
    Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse; adieu,
    Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
  BANQUO. Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon 's.
  MACBETH. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,
    And so I do commend you to their backs.
    Farewell. Exit Banquo.
    Let every man be master of his time
    Till seven at night; to make society
    The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
    Till supper time alone. While then, God be with you!
                        Exeunt all but Macbeth and an Attendant.
    Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
    Our pleasure?
  ATTENDANT. They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
  MACBETH. Bring them before us. Exit Attendant.
    To be thus is nothing,
    But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo.
    Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
    Reigns that which would be fear'd. 'Tis much he dares,
    And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
    He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor
    To act in safety. There is none but he
    Whose being I do fear; and under him
    My genius is rebuked, as it is said
    Mark Antony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
    When first they put the name of King upon me
    And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like
    They hail'd him father to a line of kings.
    Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
    And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
    Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
    No son of mine succeeding. If't be so,
    For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind,
    For them the gracious Duncan have I murther'd,
    Put rancors in the vessel of my peace
    Only for them, and mine eternal jewel
    Given to the common enemy of man,
    To make them kings -the seed of Banquo kings!
    Rather than so, come, Fate, into the list,
    And champion me to the utterance! Who's there?

Re-enter Attendant, with two Murtherers.

    Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.
                                                 Exit Attendant.
    Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
  FIRST MURTHERER. It was, so please your Highness.
  MACBETH. Well then, now
    Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know
    That it was he in the times past which held you
    So under fortune, which you thought had been
    Our innocent self? This I made good to you
    In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you:
    How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the instruments,
    Who wrought with them, and all things else that might
    To half a soul and to a notion crazed
    Say, "Thus did Banquo."
  FIRST MURTHERER. You made it known to us.
  MACBETH. I did so, and went further, which is now
    Our point of second meeting. Do you find
    Your patience so predominant in your nature,
    That you can let this go? Are you so gospel'd,
    To pray for this good man and for his issue,
    Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave
    And beggar'd yours forever?
  FIRST MURTHERER. We are men, my liege.
  MACBETH. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,
    As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
    Shoughs, waterrugs, and demi-wolves are clept
    All by the name of dogs. The valued file
    Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
    The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
    According to the gift which bounteous nature
    Hath in him closed, whereby he does receive
    Particular addition, from the bill
    That writes them all alike; and so of men.
    Now if you have a station in the file,
    Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say it,
    And I will put that business in your bosoms
    Whose execution takes your enemy off,
    Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
    Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
    Which in his death were perfect.
  SECOND MURTHERER. I am one, my liege,
    Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
    Have so incensed that I am reckless what
    I do to spite the world.
  FIRST MURTHERER. And I another
    So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
    That I would set my life on any chance,
    To mend it or be rid on't.
  MACBETH. Both of you
    Know Banquo was your enemy.
  BOTH MURTHERERS. True, my lord.
  MACBETH. So is he mine, and in such bloody distance
    That every minute of his being thrusts
    Against my near'st of life; and though I could
    With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
    And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
    For certain friends that are both his and mine,
    Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
    Who I myself struck down. And thence it is
    That I to your assistance do make love,
    Masking the business from the common eye
    For sundry weighty reasons.
  SECOND MURTHERER. We shall, my lord,
    Perform what you command us.
  FIRST MURTHERER. Though our lives-
  MACBETH. Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at
    I will advise you where to plant yourselves,
    Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time,
    The moment on't; fort must be done tonight
    And something from the palace (always thought
    That I require a clearness); and with him-
    To leave no rubs nor botches in the work-
    Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
    Whose absence is no less material to me
    Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
    Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart;
    I'll come to you anon.
  BOTH MURTHERERS. We are resolved, my lord.
  MACBETH. I'll call upon you straight. Abide within.
                                              Exeunt Murtherers.
    It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul's flight,
    If it find heaven, must find it out tonight. Exit.

SCENE II. The palace.

Enter Lady Macbeth and a Servant.

  LADY MACBETH. Is Banquo gone from court?
  SERVANT. Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.
  LADY MACBETH. Say to the King I would attend his leisure
    For a few words.
  SERVANT. Madam, I will. Exit.
  LADY MACBETH. Nought's had, all's spent,
    Where our desire is got without content.
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
    Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

Enter Macbeth.

    How now, my lord? Why do you keep alone,
    Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
    Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
    With them they think on? Things without all remedy
    Should be without regard. What's done is done.
  MACBETH. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it.
    She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
    Remains in danger of her former tooth.
    But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
    Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
    In the affliction of these terrible dreams
    That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
    Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
    Than on the torture of the mind to lie
    In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
    After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.
    Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
    Can touch him further.
  LADY MACBETH. Come on,
    Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks;
    Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.
  MACBETH. So shall I, love, and so, I pray, be you.
    Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
    Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
    Unsafe the while, that we
    Must lave our honors in these flattering streams,
    And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
    Disguising what they are.
  LADY MACBETH. You must leave this.
  MACBETH. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
    Thou know'st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.
  LADY MACBETH. But in them nature's copy's not eterne.
  MACBETH. There's comfort yet; they are assailable.
    Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown
    His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons
    The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
  LADY MACBETH. What's to be done?
  MACBETH. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
    Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
    Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
    And with thy bloody and invisible hand
    Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
    Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow
    Makes wing to the rooky wood;
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
    Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
    Thou marvel'st at my words, but hold thee still:
    Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
    So, prithee, go with me. Exeunt.

SCENE III. A park near the palace.

Enter three Murtherers.

  FIRST MURTHERER. But who did bid thee join with us?
  SECOND MURTHERER. He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers
    Our offices and what we have to do
    To the direction just.
  FIRST MURTHERER. Then stand with us.
    The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day;
    Now spurs the lated traveler apace
    To gain the timely inn, and near approaches
    The subject of our watch.
  THIRD MURTHERER. Hark! I hear horses.
  BANQUO. [Within.] Give us a light there, ho!
  SECOND MURTHERER. Then 'tis he; the rest
    That are within the note of expectation
    Already are i' the court.
  FIRST MURTHERER. His horses go about.
  THIRD MURTHERER. Almost a mile, but he does usually-
    So all men do -from hence to the palace gate
    Make it their walk.
  SECOND MURTHERER. A light, a light!

Enter Banquo, and Fleance with a torch.

  FIRST MURTHERER. Stand to't.
  BANQUO. It will be rain tonight.
  FIRST MURTHERER. Let it come down.
                                           They set upon Banquo.
  BANQUO. O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
    Thou mayst revenge. O slave! Dies. Fleance escapes.
  THIRD MURTHERER. Who did strike out the light?
  FIRST MURTHERER. Wast not the way?
  THIRD MURTHERER. There's but one down; the son is fled.
  SECOND MURTHERER. We have lost
    Best half of our affair.
  FIRST MURTHERER. Well, let's away and say how much is done.

SCENE IV. A Hall in the palace. A banquet prepared.

Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.

  MACBETH. You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
    And last the hearty welcome.
  LORDS. Thanks to your Majesty.
  MACBETH. Ourself will mingle with society
    And play the humble host.
    Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
    We will require her welcome.
  LADY MACBETH. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
    For my heart speaks they are welcome.

Enter first Murtherer to the door.

  MACBETH. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
    Both sides are even; here I'll sit i' the midst.
    Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure
    The table round. [Approaches the door.] There's blood upon
  MURTHERER. 'Tis Banquo's then.
  MACBETH. 'Tis better thee without than he within.
    Is he dispatch'd?
  MURTHERER. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.
  MACBETH. Thou art the best o' the cut-throats! Yet he's good
    That did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it,
    Thou art the nonpareil.
  MURTHERER. Most royal sir,
    Fleance is 'scaped.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] Then comes my fit again. I had else been
    Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
    As broad and general as the casing air;
    But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in
    To saucy doubts and fears -But Banquo's safe?
  MURTHERER. Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
    With twenty trenched gashes on his head,
    The least a death to nature.
  MACBETH. Thanks for that.
    There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
    Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
    No teeth for the present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
    We'll hear ourselves again.
                                                 Exit Murtherer.
  LADY MACBETH. My royal lord,
    You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
    That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis amaking,
    'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
    From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
    Meeting were bare without it.
  MACBETH. Sweet remembrancer!
    Now good digestion wait on appetite,
    And health on both!
  LENNOX. May't please your Highness sit.

The Ghost of Banquo enters and sits in Macbeth's place.

  MACBETH. Here had we now our country's honor roof'd,
    Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
    Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
    Than pity for mischance!
  ROSS. His absence, sir,
    Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your Highness
    To grace us with your royal company?
  MACBETH. The table's full.
  LENNOX. Here is a place reserved, sir.
  MACBETH. Where?
  LENNOX. Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your Highness?
  MACBETH. Which of you have done this?
  LORDS. What, my good lord?
  MACBETH. Thou canst not say I did it; never shake
    Thy gory locks at me.
  ROSS. Gentlemen, rise; his Highness is well.
  LADY MACBETH. Sit, worthy friends; my lord is often thus,
    And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
    The fit is momentary; upon a thought
    He will again be well. If much you note him,
    You shall offend him and extend his passion.
    Feed, and regard him not-Are you a man?
  MACBETH. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
    Which might appal the devil.
  LADY MACBETH. O proper stuff!
    This is the very painting of your fear;
    This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
    Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
    Impostors to true fear, would well become
    A woman's story at a winter's fire,
    Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
    Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
    You look but on a stool.
  MACBETH. Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?
    Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
    If charnel houses and our graves must send
    Those that we bury back, our monuments
    Shall be the maws of kites. Exit Ghost.
  LADY MACBETH. What, quite unmann'd in folly?
  MACBETH. If I stand here, I saw him.
  LADY MACBETH. Fie, for shame!
  MACBETH. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
    Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
    Ay, and since too, murthers have been perform'd
    Too terrible for the ear. The time has been,
    That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
    And there an end; but now they rise again,
    With twenty mortal murthers on their crowns,
    And push us from our stools. This is more strange
    Than such a murther is.
  LADY MACBETH. My worthy lord,
    Your noble friends do lack you.
  MACBETH. I do forget.
    Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
    I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
    To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;
    Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine, fill full.
    I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
    And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
    Would he were here! To all and him we thirst,
    And all to all.
  LORDS. Our duties and the pledge.

Re-enter Ghost.

  MACBETH. Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
    Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
    Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
    Which thou dost glare with.
  LADY MACBETH. Think of this, good peers,
    But as a thing of custom. 'Tis no other,
    Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
  MACBETH. What man dare, I dare.
    Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
    The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
    Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
    Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,
    And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
    If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
    The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
    Unreal mockery, hence! Exit Ghost.
    Why, so, being gone,
    I am a man again. Pray you sit still.
  LADY MACBETH. You have displaced the mirth, broke the good
    With most admired disorder.
  MACBETH. Can such things be,
    And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
    Without our special wonder? You make me strange
    Even to the disposition that I owe
    When now I think you can behold such sights
    And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
    When mine is blanch'd with fear.
  ROSS. What sights, my lord?
  LADY MACBETH. I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
    Question enrages him. At once, good night.
    Stand not upon the order of your going,
    But go at once.
  LENNOX. Good night, and better health
    Attend his Majesty!
  LADY MACBETH. A kind good night to all!
                        Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
  MACBETH. will have blood; they say blood will have blood.
    Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
    Augures and understood relations have
    By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?
  LADY MACBETH. Almost at odds with morning, which is which.
  MACBETH. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person
    At our great bidding?
  LADY MACBETH. Did you send to him, sir?
  MACBETH. I hear it by the way, but I will send.
    There's not a one of them but in his house
    I keep a servant feed. I will tomorrow,
    And betimes I will, to the weird sisters.
    More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
    By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good
    All causes shall give way. I am in blood
    Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
    Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
    Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
    Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.
  LADY MACBETH. You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
  MACBETH. Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
    Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
    We are yet but young in deed. Exeunt.

SCENE V. A heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate.

  FIRST WITCH. Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.
  HECATE. Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
    Saucy and overbold? How did you dare
    To trade and traffic with Macbeth
    In riddles and affairs of death,
    And I, the mistress of your charms,
    The close contriver of all harms,
    Was never call'd to bear my part,
    Or show the glory of our art?
    And, which is worse, all you have done
    Hath been but for a wayward son,
    Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
    Loves for his own ends, not for you.
    But make amends now. Get you gone,
    And at the pit of Acheron
    Meet me i' the morning. Thither he
    Will come to know his destiny.
    Your vessels and your spells provide,
    Your charms and everything beside.
    I am for the air; this night I'll spend
    Unto a dismal and a fatal end.
    Great business must be wrought ere noon:
    Upon the corner of the moon
    There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
    I'll catch it ere it come to ground.
    And that distill'd by magic sleights
    Shall raise such artificial sprites
    As by the strength of their illusion
    Shall draw him on to his confusion.
    He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
    His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear.
    And you all know security
    Is mortals' chiefest enemy.
                                        Music and a song within,
                                         "Come away, come away."
    Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
    Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me. Exit.
  FIRST WITCH. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.

SCENE VI. Forres. The palace.

Enter Lennox and another Lord.

  LENNOX. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
    Which can interpret farther; only I say
    Thing's have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan
    Was pitied of Macbeth; marry, he was dead.
    And the right valiant Banquo walk'd too late,
    Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd,
    For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.
    Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous
    It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain
    To kill their gracious father? Damned fact!
    How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight,
    In pious rage, the two delinquents tear
    That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
    Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too,
    For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive
    To hear the men deny't. So that, I say,
    He has borne all things well; and I do think
    That, had he Duncan's sons under his key-
    As, an't please heaven, he shall not -they should find
    What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.
    But, peace! For from broad words, and 'cause he fail'd
    His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,
    Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell
    Where he bestows himself?
  LORD. The son of Duncan,
    From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth,
    Lives in the English court and is received
    Of the most pious Edward with such grace
    That the malevolence of fortune nothing
    Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff
    Is gone to pray the holy King, upon his aid
    To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward;
    That by the help of these, with Him above
    To ratify the work, we may again
    Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
    Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
    Do faithful homage, and receive free honors-
    All which we pine for now. And this report
    Hath so exasperate the King that he
    Prepares for some attempt of war.
  LENNOX. Sent he to Macduff?
  LORD. He did, and with an absolute "Sir, not I,"
    The cloudy messenger turns me his back,
    And hums, as who should say, "You'll rue the time
    That clogs me with this answer."
  LENNOX. And that well might
    Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance
    His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel
    Fly to the court of England and unfold
    His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
    May soon return to this our suffering country
    Under a hand accursed!
  LORD. I'll send my prayers with him.

Scene from Macbeth, depicting the witches' conjuring of an apparition in Act IV,
Scene I. Painting by William Rimmer


SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.
  FIRST WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
  SECOND WITCH. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
  THIRD WITCH. Harpier cries, "'Tis time, 'tis time."
  FIRST WITCH. Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison'd entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
  ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  SECOND WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the cauldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
  ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  THIRD WITCH. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
    Witch's mummy, maw and gulf
    Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
    Liver of blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat and slips of yew
    Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse,
    Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab.
    Add thereto a tiger's chawdron,
    For the ingredients of our cawdron.
  ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  SECOND WITCH. Cool it with a baboon's blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good.

Enter Hecate to the other three Witches.

  HECATE. O, well done! I commend your pains,
    And everyone shall share i' the gains.
    And now about the cauldron sing,
    Like elves and fairies in a ring,
    Enchanting all that you put in.
                              Music and a song, "Black spirits."
                                                 Hecate retires.
  SECOND WITCH. By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes.
    Open, locks,
    Whoever knocks!

Enter Macbeth.

  MACBETH. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?
    What is't you do?
  ALL. A deed without a name.
  MACBETH. I conjure you, by that which you profess
    (Howeer you come to know it) answer me:
    Though you untie the winds and let them fight
    Against the churches, though the yesty waves
    Confound and swallow navigation up,
    Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,
    Though castles topple on their warders' heads,
    Though palaces and pyramids do slope
    Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure
    Of nature's germaines tumble all together
    Even till destruction sicken, answer me
    To what I ask you.
  THIRD WITCH. We'll answer.
  FIRST WITCH. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
    Or from our masters'?
  MACBETH. Call 'em, let me see 'em.
  FIRST WITCH. Pour in sow's blood that hath eaten
    Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
    From the murtherer's gibbet throw
    Into the flame.
  ALL. Come, high or low;
    Thyself and office deftly show!

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head.

  MACBETH. Tell me, thou unknown power-
  FIRST WITCH. He knows thy thought:
    Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
  FIRST APPARITION. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff,
    Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
  MACBETH. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
    Thou hast harp'd my fear aright. But one word more-
  FIRST WITCH. He will not be commanded. Here's another,
    More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: a bloody Child.

  SECOND APPARITION. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
  MACBETH. Had I three ears, I'd hear thee.
  SECOND APPARITION. Be bloody, bold, and resolute: laugh to
    The power of man, for none of woman born
    Shall harm Macbeth. Descends.
  MACBETH. Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?
    But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
    And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live,
    That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
    And sleep in spite of thunder.

       Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned,
               with a tree in his hand.

    What is this,
    That rises like the issue of a king,
    And wears upon his baby brow the round
    And top of sovereignty?
  ALL. Listen, but speak not to't.
  THIRD APPARITION. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
    Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.
    Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
    Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
    Shall come against him. Descends.
  MACBETH. That will never be.
    Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
    Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements, good!
    Rebellion's head, rise never till the Wood
    Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
    Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
    To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
    Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
    Can tell so much, shall Banquo's issue ever
    Reign in this kingdom?
  ALL. Seek to know no more.
  MACBETH. I will be satisfied! Deny me this,
    And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
    Why sinks that cauldron, and what noise is this?
  ALL. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
    Come like shadows, so depart!

    A show of eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand;
                   Banquo's Ghost following.

  MACBETH. Thou are too like the spirit of Banquo Down!
    Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs. And thy hair,
    Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
    A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
    Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
    What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
    Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more!
    And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
    Which shows me many more; and some I see
    That twofold balls and treble sceptres carry.
    Horrible sight! Now I see 'tis true;
    For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me,
    And points at them for his. What, is this so?
  FIRST WITCH. Ay, sir, all this is so. But why
    Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
    Come,sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
    And show the best of our delights.
    I'll charm the air to give a sound,
    While you perform your antic round,
    That this great King may kindly say
    Our duties did his welcome pay.
                                    Music. The Witches dance and
                                        then vanish with Hecate.
  MACBETH. are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
    Stand ay accursed in the calendar!
    Come in, without there!

Enter Lennox.

  LENNOX. What's your Grace's will?
  MACBETH. Saw you the weird sisters?
  LENNOX. No, my lord.
  MACBETH. Came they not by you?
  LENNOX. No indeed, my lord.
  MACBETH. Infected be the 'air whereon they ride,
    And damn'd all those that trust them! I did hear
    The galloping of horse. Who wast came by?
  LENNOX. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word
    Macduff is fled to England.
  MACBETH. Fled to England?
  LENNOX. Ay, my good lord.
  MACBETH. [Aside.] Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits.
    The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
    Unless the deed go with it. From this moment
    The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
    To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
    The castle of Macduff I will surprise,
    Seize upon Fife, give to the edge o' the sword
    His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
    That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
    This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
    But no more sights! -Where are these gentlemen?
    Come, bring me where they are. Exeunt.

SCENE II. Fife. Macduff's castle.

Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Ross.

  LADY MACDUFF. What had he done, to make him fly the land?
  ROSS. You must have patience, madam.
  LADY MACDUFF. He had none;
    His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
    Our fears do make us traitors.
  ROSS. You know not
    Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
  LADY MACDUFF. Wisdom? To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
    His mansion, and his titles, in a place
    From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
    He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
    The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
    Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
    All is the fear and nothing is the love;
    As little is the wisdom, where the flight
    So runs against all reason.
  ROSS. My dearest coz,
    I pray you, school yourself. But for your husband,
    He is noble, wise, Judicious, and best knows
    The fits o' the season. I dare not speak much further;
    But cruel are the times when we are traitors
    And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor
    From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
    But float upon a wild and violent sea
    Each way and move. I take my leave of you;
    Shall not be long but I'll be here again.
    Things at the worst will cease or else climb upward
    To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
    Blessing upon you!
  LADY MACDUFF. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
  ROSS. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,
    It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
    I take my leave at once. Exit.
  LADY MACDUFF. Sirrah, your father's dead.
    And what will you do now? How will you live?
  SON. As birds do, Mother.
  LADY MACDUFF. What, with worms and flies?
  SON. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
  LADY MACDUFF. Poor bird! Thou'ldst never fear the net nor lime,
    The pitfall nor the gin.
  SON. Why should I, Mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
    My father is not dead, for all your saying.
  LADY MACDUFF. Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for father?
  SON. Nay, how will you do for a husband?
  LADY MACDUFF. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
  SON. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
  LADY MACDUFF. Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, i'
    With wit enough for thee.
  SON. Was my father a traitor, Mother?
  LADY MACDUFF. Ay, that he was.
  SON. What is a traitor?
  LADY MACDUFF. Why one that swears and lies.
  SON. And be all traitors that do so?
  LADY MACDUFF. Everyone that does so is a traitor and must be
  SON. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
  LADY MACDUFF. Everyone.
  SON. Who must hang them?
  LADY MACDUFF. Why, the honest men.
  SON. Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars
    swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.
  LADY MACDUFF. Now, God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt
thou do
    for a father?
  SON. If he were dead, you'ld weep for him; if you would not, it
    were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.
  LADY MACDUFF. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

Enter a Messenger.

  MESSENGER. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
    Though in your state of honor I am perfect.
    I doubt some danger does approach you nearly.
    If you will take a homely man's advice,
    Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
    To fright you thus, methinks I am too savage;
    To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
    Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
    I dare abide no longer. Exit.
  LADY MACDUFF. Whither should I fly?
    I have done no harm. But I remember now
    I am in this earthly world, where to do harm
    Is often laudable, to do good sometime
    Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,
    Do I put up that womanly defense,
    To say I have done no harm -What are these faces?

Enter Murtherers.

  FIRST MURTHERER. Where is your husband?
  LADY MACDUFF. I hope, in no place so unsanctified
    Where such as thou mayst find him.
  FIRST MURTHERER. He's a traitor.
  SON. Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain!
  FIRST MURTHERER. What, you egg!
                                                      Stabs him.
    Young fry of treachery!
  SON. He has kill'd me, Mother.
    Run away, I pray you! Dies.
                            Exit Lady Macduff, crying "Murther!"
                               Exeunt Murtherers, following her.

SCENE III. England. Before the King's palace.

Enter Malcolm and Macduff.

  MALCOLM. Let us seek out some desolate shade and there
    Weep our sad bosoms empty.
  MACDUFF. Let us rather
    Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men
    Bestride our downfall'n birthdom. Each new morn
    New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
    Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
    As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out
    Like syllable of dolor.
  MALCOLM. What I believe, I'll wall;
    What know, believe; and what I can redress,
    As I shall find the time to friend, I will.
    What you have spoke, it may be so perchance.
    This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
    Was once thought honest. You have loved him well;
    He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young, but something
    You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
    To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb
    To appease an angry god.
  MACDUFF. I am not treacherous.
  MALCOLM. But Macbeth is.
    A good and virtuous nature may recoil
    In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;
    That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose.
    Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.
    Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
    Yet grace must still look so.
  MACDUFF. I have lost my hopes.
  MALCOLM. Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.
    Why in that rawness left you wife and child,
    Those precious motives, those strong knots of love,
    Without leave-taking? I pray you,
    Let not my jealousies be your dishonors,
    But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
    Whatever I shall think.
  MACDUFF. Bleed, bleed, poor country!
    Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,
    For goodness dare not check thee. Wear thou thy wrongs;
    The title is affeer'd. Fare thee well, lord.
    I would not be the villain that thou think'st
    For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp
    And the rich East to boot.
  MALCOLM. Be not offended;
    I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
    I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
    It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash
    Is added to her wounds. I think withal
    There would be hands uplifted in my right;
    And here from gracious England have I offer
    Of goodly thousands. But for all this,
    When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head,
    Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
    Shall have more vices than it had before,
    More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
    By him that shall succeed.
  MACDUFF. What should he be?
  MALCOLM. It is myself I mean, in whom I know
    All the particulars of vice so grafted
    That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
    Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
    Esteem him as a lamb, being compared
    With my confineless harms.
  MACDUFF. Not in the legions
    Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
    In evils to top Macbeth.
  MALCOLM. I grant him bloody,
    Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
    Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
    That has a name. But there's no bottom, none,
    In my voluptuousness. Your wives, your daughters,
    Your matrons, and your maids could not fill up
    The cestern of my lust, and my desire
    All continent impediments would o'erbear
    That did oppose my will. Better Macbeth
    Than such an one to reign.
  MACDUFF. Boundless intemperance
    In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
    The untimely emptying of the happy throne,
    And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
    To take upon you what is yours. You may
    Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty
    And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
    We have willing dames enough; there cannot be
    That vulture in you to devour so many
    As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
    Finding it so inclined.
  MALCOLM. With this there grows
    In my most ill-composed affection such
    A stanchless avarice that, were I King,
    I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
    Desire his jewels and this other's house,
    And my more-having would be as a sauce
    To make me hunger more, that I should forge
    Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
    Destroying them for wealth.
  MACDUFF. This avarice
    Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
    Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
    The sword of our slain kings. Yet do not fear;
    Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will
    Of your mere own. All these are portable,
    With other graces weigh'd.
  MALCOLM. But I have none. The king-becoming graces,
    As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
    Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
    Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,
    I have no relish of them, but abound
    In the division of each several crime,
    Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
    Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
    Uproar the universal peace, confound
    All unity on earth.
  MACDUFF. O Scotland, Scotland!
  MALCOLM. If such a one be fit to govern, speak.
    I am as I have spoken.
  MACDUFF. Fit to govern?
    No, not to live. O nation miserable!
    With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
    When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
    Since that the truest issue of thy throne
    By his own interdiction stands accursed
    And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
    Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,
    Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
    Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
    These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself
    Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast,
    Thy hope ends here!
  MALCOLM. Macduff, this noble passion,
    Child of integrity, hath from my soul
    Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts
    To thy good truth and honor. Devilish Macbeth
    By many of these trains hath sought to win me
    Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
    From over-credulous haste. But God above
    Deal between thee and me! For even now
    I put myself to thy direction and
    Unspeak mine own detraction; here abjure
    The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
    For strangers to my nature. I am yet
    Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,
    Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
    At no time broke my faith, would not betray
    The devil to his fellow, and delight
    No less in truth than life. My first false speaking
    Was this upon myself. What I am truly
    Is thine and my poor country's to command.
    Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
    Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men
    Already at a point, was setting forth.
    Now we'll together, and the chance of goodness
    Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
  MACDUFF. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
    'Tis hard to reconcile.

Enter a Doctor.

  MALCOLM. Well, more anon. Comes the King forth, I pray you?
  DOCTOR. Ay, sir, there are a crew of wretched souls
    That stay his cure. Their malady convinces
    The great assay of art, but at his touch,
    Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,
    They presently amend.
  MALCOLM. I thank you, Doctor. Exit Doctor.
  MACDUFF. What's the disease he means?
  MALCOLM. 'Tis call'd the evil:
    A most miraculous work in this good King,
    Which often, since my here-remain in England,
    I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
    Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people,
    All swol'n and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
    The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
    Hanging a golden stamp about their necks
    Put on with holy prayers; and 'tis spoken,
    To the succeeding royalty he leaves
    The healing benediction. With this strange virtue
    He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
    And sundry blessings hang about his throne
    That speak him full of grace.

Enter Ross.

  MACDUFF. See, who comes here?
  MALCOLM. My countryman, but yet I know him not.
  MACDUFF. My ever gentle cousin, welcome hither.
  MALCOLM. I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
    The means that makes us strangers!
  ROSS. Sir, amen.
  MACDUFF. Stands Scotland where it did?
  ROSS. Alas, poor country,
    Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
    Be call'd our mother, but our grave. Where nothing,
    But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
    Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air,
    Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
    A modern ecstasy. The dead man's knell
    Is there scarce ask'd for who, and good men's lives
    Expire before the flowers in their caps,
    Dying or ere they sicken.
  MACDUFF. O, relation
    Too nice, and yet too true!
  MALCOLM. What's the newest grief?
  ROSS. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker;
    Each minute teems a new one.
  MACDUFF. How does my wife?
  ROSS. Why, well.
  MACDUFF. And all my children?
  ROSS. Well too.
  MACDUFF. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace?
  ROSS. No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
  MACDUFF. Be not a niggard of your speech. How goest?
  ROSS. When I came hither to transport the tidings,
    Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor
    Of many worthy fellows that were out,
    Which was to my belief witness'd the rather,
    For that I saw the tyrant's power afoot.
    Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland
    Would create soldiers, make our women fight,
    To doff their dire distresses.
  MALCOLM. Be't their comfort
    We are coming thither. Gracious England hath
    Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
    An older and a better soldier none
    That Christendom gives out.
  ROSS. Would I could answer
    This comfort with the like! But I have words
    That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
    Where hearing should not latch them.
  MACDUFF. What concern they?
    The general cause? Or is it a fee-grief
    Due to some single breast?
  ROSS. No mind that's honest
    But in it shares some woe, though the main part
    Pertains to you alone.
  MACDUFF. If it be mine,
    Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it.
  ROSS. Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,
    Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound
    That ever yet they heard.
  MACDUFF. Humh! I guess at it.
  ROSS. Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
    Savagely slaughter'd. To relate the manner
    Were, on the quarry of these murther'd deer,
    To add the death of you.
  MALCOLM. Merciful heaven!
    What, man! Neer pull your hat upon your brows;
    Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
    Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break.
  MACDUFF. My children too?
  ROSS. Wife, children, servants, all
    That could be found.
  MACDUFF. And I must be from thence!
    My wife kill'd too?
  ROSS. I have said.
  MALCOLM. Be comforted.
    Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
    To cure this deadly grief.
  MACDUFF. He has no children. All my pretty ones?
    Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
    What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
    At one fell swoop?
  MALCOLM. Dispute it like a man.
  MACDUFF. I shall do so,
    But I must also feel it as a man.
    I cannot but remember such things were
    That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
    And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
    They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,
    Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
    Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
  MALCOLM. Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief
    Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
  MACDUFF. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
    And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,
    Cut short all intermission; front to front
    Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
    Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
    Heaven forgive him too!
  MALCOLM. This tune goes manly.
    Come, go we to the King; our power is ready,
    Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth
    Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
    Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may,
    The night is long that never finds the day. Exeunt.


Lady Macbeth sleepwalking by Henry Fuseli.



SCENE I. Dunsinane. Anteroom in the castle.

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman.

  DOCTOR. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no
    truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
  GENTLEWOMAN. Since his Majesty went into the field, have seen
    rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her
    closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it,
    afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this
    in a most fast sleep.
  DOCTOR. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the
    benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching! In this
    agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances,
    what, at any time, have you heard her say?
  GENTLEWOMAN. That, sir, which I will not report after her.
  DOCTOR. You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should.
  GENTLEWOMAN. Neither to you nor anyone, having no witness to
    confirm my speech.

Enter Lady Macbeth with a taper.

    Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise, and, upon my
    life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
  DOCTOR. How came she by that light?
  GENTLEWOMAN. Why, it stood by her. She has light by her
     continually; 'tis her command.
  DOCTOR. You see, her eyes are open.
  GENTLEWOMAN. Ay, but their sense is shut.
  DOCTOR. What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.
  GENTLEWOMAN. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
    washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a
quarter of
    an hour.
  LADY MACBETH. Yet here's a spot.
  DOCTOR. Hark, she speaks! I will set down what comes from her,
    satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
  LADY MACBETH. Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One- two -why then
    time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier,
    afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call
    power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to
    had so much blood in him?
  DOCTOR. Do you mark that?
  LADY MACBETH. The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?
    will these hands neer be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no
    o' that. You mar all with this starting.
  DOCTOR. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.
  GENTLEWOMAN. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of
    Heaven knows what she has known.
  LADY MACBETH. Here's the smell of the blood still. All the
    of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
  DOCTOR. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
  GENTLEWOMAN. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
    dignity of the whole body.
  DOCTOR. Well, well, well-
  GENTLEWOMAN. Pray God it be, sir.
  DOCTOR. This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have known
    which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in
  LADY MACBETH. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not
    pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he cannot come
    on's grave.
  DOCTOR. Even so?
  LADY MACBETH. To bed, to bed; there's knocking at the gate.
    come, come, come, give me your hand.What's done cannot be
    To bed, to bed, to bed.
  DOCTOR. Will she go now to bed?
  GENTLEWOMAN. Directly.
  DOCTOR. Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
    Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
    To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
    More needs she the divine than the physician.
    God, God, forgive us all! Look after her;
    Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
    And still keep eyes upon her. So good night.
    My mind she has mated and amazed my sight.
    I think, but dare not speak.
  GENTLEWOMAN. Good night, good doctor.

SCENE II. The country near Dunsinane. Drum and colors.

Enter Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, and Soldiers.

  MENTEITH. The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
    His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.
    Revenges burn in them, for their dear causes
    Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
    Excite the mortified man.
  ANGUS. Near Birnam Wood
    Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.
  CAITHNESS. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
  LENNOX. For certain, sir, he is not; I have a file
    Of all the gentry. There is Seward's son
    And many unrough youths that even now
    Protest their first of manhood.
  MENTEITH. What does the tyrant?
  CAITHNESS. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.
    Some say he's mad; others, that lesser hate him,
    Do call it valiant fury; but, for certain,
    He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
    Within the belt of rule.
  ANGUS. Now does he feel
    His secret murthers sticking on his hands,
    Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
    Those he commands move only in command,
    Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title
    Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
    Upon a dwarfish thief.
  MENTEITH. Who then shall blame
    His pester'd senses to recoil and start,
    When all that is within him does condemn
    Itself for being there?
  CAITHNESS. Well, march we on
    To give obedience where 'tis truly owed.
    Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,
    And with him pour we, in our country's purge,
    Each drop of us.
  LENNOX. Or so much as it needs
    To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
    Make we our march towards Birnam. Exeunt marching.

SCENE III. Dunsinane. A room in the castle.

Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants.

  MACBETH. Bring me no more reports; let them fly all!
    Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane
    I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
    Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
    All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:
    "Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of woman
    Shall e'er have power upon thee." Then fly, false Thanes,
    And mingle with the English epicures!
    The mind I sway by and the heart I bear
    Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.

Enter a Servant.

    The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
    Where got'st thou that goose look?
  SERVANT. There is ten thousand-
  MACBETH. Geese, villain?
  SERVANT. Soldiers, sir.
  MACBETH. Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear,
    Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
    Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thine
    Are counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
  SERVANT. The English force, so please you.
  MACBETH. Take thy face hence. Exit Servant.
    Seyton-I am sick at heart,
    When I behold- Seyton, I say!- This push
    Will cheer me ever or disseat me now.
    I have lived long enough. My way of life
    Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
    And that which should accompany old age,
    As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,
    I must not look to have; but in their stead,
    Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath,
    Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.

Enter Seyton.

  SEYTON. What's your gracious pleasure?
  MACBETH. What news more?
  SEYTON. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported.
  MACBETH. I'll fight, 'til from my bones my flesh be hack'd.
    Give me my armor.
  SEYTON. 'Tis not needed yet.
  MACBETH. I'll put it on.
    Send out more horses, skirr the country round,
    Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor.
    How does your patient, doctor?
  DOCTOR. Not so sick, my lord,
    As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,
    That keep her from her rest.
  MACBETH. Cure her of that.
    Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
    Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
    Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
    And with some sweet oblivious antidote
    Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
    Which weighs upon the heart?
  DOCTOR. Therein the patient
    Must minister to himself.
  MACBETH. Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it.
    Come, put mine armor on; give me my staff.
    Seyton, send out. Doctor, the Thanes fly from me.
    Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
    The water of my land, find her disease
    And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
    I would applaud thee to the very echo,
    That should applaud again. Pull't off, I say.
    What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug
    Would scour these English hence? Hearst thou of them?
  DOCTOR. Ay, my good lord, your royal preparation
    Makes us hear something.
  MACBETH. Bring it after me.
    I will not be afraid of death and bane
    Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.
  DOCTOR. [Aside.] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
    Profit again should hardly draw me here. Exeunt.

SCENE IV. Country near Birnam Wood. Drum and colors.

Enter Malcolm, old Seward and his Son, Macduff, Menteith,
Angus, Lennox, Ross, and Soldiers, marching.

  MALCOLM. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
    That chambers will be safe.
  MENTEITH. We doubt it nothing.
  SIWARD. What wood is this before us?
  MENTEITH. The Wood of Birnam.
  MALCOLM. Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
    And bear't before him; thereby shall we shadow
    The numbers of our host, and make discovery
    Err in report of us.
  SOLDIERS. It shall be done.
  SIWARD. We learn no other but the confident tyrant
    Keeps still in Dunsinane and will endure
    Our setting down before't.
  MALCOLM. 'Tis his main hope;
    For where there is advantage to be given,
    Both more and less have given him the revolt,
    And none serve with him but constrained things
    Whose hearts are absent too.
  MACDUFF. Let our just censures
    Attend the true event, and put we on
    Industrious soldiership.
  SIWARD. The time approaches
    That will with due decision make us know
    What we shall say we have and what we owe.
    Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
    But certain issue strokes must arbitrate.
    Towards which advance the war.
                                                Exeunt Marching.

SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the castle.

Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, with drum and colors.

  MACBETH. Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
    The cry is still, "They come!" Our castle's strength
    Will laugh a siege to scorn. Here let them lie
    Till famine and the ague eat them up.
    Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
    We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
    And beat them backward home.
                                          A cry of women within.
    What is that noise?
  SEYTON. It is the cry of women, my good lord. Exit.
  MACBETH. I have almost forgot the taste of fears:
    The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
    To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
    Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
    As life were in't. I have supp'd full with horrors;
    Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
    Cannot once start me.

                  Re-enter Seyton.
     Wherefore was that cry?
  SEYTON. The Queen, my lord, is dead.
  MACBETH. She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger.

    Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
  MESSENGER. Gracious my lord,
    I should report that which I say I saw,
    But know not how to do it.
  MACBETH. Well, say, sir.
  MESSENGER. As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
    I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
    The Wood began to move.
  MACBETH. Liar and slave!
  MESSENGER. Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so.
    Within this three mile may you see it coming;
    I say, a moving grove.
  MACBETH. If thou speak'st false,
    Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
    Till famine cling thee; if thy speech be sooth,
    I care not if thou dost for me as much.
    I pull in resolution and begin
    To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
    That lies like truth. "Fear not, till Birnam Wood
    Do come to Dunsinane," and now a wood
    Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
    If this which he avouches does appear,
    There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
    I 'gin to be aweary of the sun
    And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
    Ring the alarum bell! Blow, wind! Come, wrack!
    At least we'll die with harness on our back. Exeunt.

SCENE VI. Dunsinane. Before the castle.

Enter Malcolm, old Siward, Macduff, and their Army, with boughs.
Drum and colors.

  MALCOLM. Now near enough; your leavy screens throw down,
    And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,
    Shall with my cousin, your right noble son,
    Lead our first battle. Worthy Macduff and we
    Shall take upon 's what else remains to do,
    According to our order.
  SIWARD. Fare you well.
    Do we but find the tyrant's power tonight,
    Let us be beaten if we cannot fight.
  MACDUFF. Make all our trumpets speak, give them all breath,
    Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

SCENE VII. Dunsinane. Before the castle. Alarums.

Enter Macbeth.

  MACBETH. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
    But bear-like I must fight the course. What's he
    That was not born of woman? Such a one
    Am I to fear, or none.

Enter young Siward.

  YOUNG SIWARD. What is thy name?
  MACBETH. Thou'lt be afraid to hear it.
  YOUNG SIWARD. No, though thou call'st thyself a hotter name
    Than any is in hell.
  MACBETH. My name's Macbeth.
  YOUNG SIWARD. The devil himself could not pronounce a title
    More hateful to mine ear.
  MACBETH. No, nor more fearful.
  YOUNG SIWARD O Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
    I'll prove the lie thou speak'st.
                          They fight, and young Seward is slain.
  MACBETH. Thou wast born of woman.
    But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
    Brandish'd by man that's of a woman born. Exit.

Alarums. Enter Macduff.

  MACDUFF. That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
    If thou best slain and with no stroke of mine,
    My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still.
    I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
    Are hired to bear their staves. Either thou, Macbeth,
    Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge,
    I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
    By this great clatter, one of greatest note
    Seems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune!
    And more I beg not. Exit. Alarums.

Enter Malcolm and old Siward.

  SIWARD. This way, my lord; the castle's gently render'd.
    The tyrant's people on both sides do fight,
    The noble Thanes do bravely in the war,
    The day almost itself professes yours,
    And little is to do.
  MALCOLM. We have met with foes
    That strike beside us.
  SIWARD. Enter, sir, the castle.
                                                 Exeunt. Alarum.

SCENE VIII. Another part of the field.

Enter Macbeth.

  MACBETH. Why should I play the Roman fool and die
    On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes
    Do better upon them.

Enter Macduff.

  MACDUFF. Turn, hell hound, turn!
  MACBETH. Of all men else I have avoided thee.
    But get thee back, my soul is too much charged
    With blood of thine already.
  MACDUFF. I have no words.
    My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain
    Than terms can give thee out! They fight.
  MACBETH. Thou losest labor.
    As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
    With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed.
    Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
    I bear a charmed life, which must not yield
    To one of woman born.
  MACDUFF. Despair thy charm,
    And let the angel whom thou still hast served
    Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
    Untimely ripp'd.
  MACBETH. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,
    For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
    And be these juggling fiends no more believed
    That patter with us in a double sense,
    That keep the word of promise to our ear
    And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee.
  MACDUFF. Then yield thee, coward,
    And live to be the show and gaze o' the time.
    We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
    Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,
    "Here may you see the tyrant."
  MACBETH. I will not yield,
    To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
    And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
    Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,
    And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
    Yet I will try the last. Before my body
    I throw my warlike shield! Lay on, Macduff,
    And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"
                                       Exeunt fighting. Alarums.


Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colors, Malcolm, old Siward, Ross, the other Thanes, and Soldiers.

  MALCOLM. I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.
  SIWARD. Some must go off, and yet, by these I see,
    So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
  MALCOLM. Macduff is missing, and your noble son.
  ROSS. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt.
    He only lived but till he was a man,
    The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
    In the unshrinking station where he fought,
    But like a man he died.
  SIWARD. Then he is dead?
  ROSS. Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow
    Must not be measured by his worth, for then
    It hath no end.
  SIWARD. Had he his hurts before?
  ROSS. Ay, on the front.
  SIWARD. Why then, God's soldier be he!
    Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
    I would not wish them to a fairer death.
    And so his knell is knoll'd.
  MALCOLM. He's worth more sorrow,
    And that I'll spend for him.
  SIWARD. He's worth no more:
    They say he parted well and paid his score,
    And so God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.

Re-enter Macduff, with Macbeth's head.

  MACDUFF. Hail, King, for so thou art. Behold where stands
    The usurper's cursed head. The time is free.
    I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl
    That speak my salutation in their minds,
    Whose voices I desire aloud with mine-
    Hail, King of Scotland!
  ALL. Hail, King of Scotland! Flourish.
  MALCOLM. We shall not spend a large expense of time
    Before we reckon with your several loves
    And make us even with you. My Thanes and kinsmen,
    Henceforth be Earls, the first that ever Scotland
    In such an honor named. What's more to do,
    Which would be planted newly with the time,
    As calling home our exiled friends abroad
    That fled the snares of watchful tyranny,
    Producing forth the cruel ministers
    Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,
    Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands
    Took off her life; this, and what needful else
    That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace
    We will perform in measure, time, and place.
    So thanks to all at once and to each one,
    Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone.
                                               Flourish. Exeunt.




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