Macbeth simplified

Synopsis

The strange tale of Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth is set in Scotland around 1040 AD.  It was the time of the reign of King Duncan, a time, we’re told, of violence, assassinations, and witches. We’re told the play was first performed in 1603 to honor James VI of Scotland; Scotland’s king who was now England’s King James I.  How this violent Scotland-based fable could have been presented as an honor to this man of Scotland, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, remains a mystery, but there you go. James I succeeded Elizabeth I, a Shakespeare benefactor.

Soon after the play opens, three mysterious witches, also known as the Weird Sisters, tell Macbeth and Banquo, two military heroes, that good fortune lies in front of them.  They cry out to Macbeth, the thane of Glamis, saying “Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!” and “that shalt be king hereafter.”  Being ignored by the witches, Banquo says to them “if you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak, then, to me.” One of the witches answers him saying “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!”  The witches then vanish. The prophesies of the witches are central to the play.  Shakespeare throws in so many supernatural happenings as the play moves along that this play could be considered sort of a sixteenth-century-told fairy tale. 

Early in the play we learn that a military captain addresses King Duncan, reporting that in a recent battle against the Norwegians Macbeth and Banquo were magnificent and valiant officers.  We also learn that during the battle the thane of Cawdor was disloyal. King Duncan has the thane of Cawdor executed and as a reward transfers his title to Macbeth, placing him in line to be king.  When Macbeth and Banquo learn that the king has given Macbeth a second title, the thane of Cawdor, they come to believe the witches’ prophesies.  However, King Duncan soon names his older son Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland, a title that makes him the first-in-line heir to the Scottish throne.

In a letter to his wife, Macbeth tells her of the witches’ prophesies; that he is now the thane of Cawdor and that it now seems that the witches knew what they were talking about. He wants her to think about how he might go about becoming king, now that Malcolm has the inside track, now being the Prince of Cumberland.  She does think about it. 

King Duncan travels to the Macbeths’ Inverness Castle for an overnight stay. He is to be hosted by the Macbeths.  He is joined by his sons (Malcolm and Donalbain), by Banquo, and by the young Scottish nobleman Macduff. Those accompanying King Duncan have major roles in the play.  Ruthlessly ambitious for her husband, Lady Macbeth convinces her husband that if he is ever to be king he must seize the moment, so to speak; he must murder King Duncan, using this opportunity handed to them. The Macbeths commit to a plan.

Lady Macbeth spends the evening schmoozing with the king’s guards, sharing stories, all the while making sure the wine flows freely.  The guards fall asleep.  She leaves the guards, leaving the next step in the plan up to her husband.

An insecure and frightened Macbeth, taking his first steps in his role in this demented scheme, a plan mostly concocted by his wife, happens to run into Banquo on his way to kill the king, Banquo, up and about late, having remembered that he has a jewel that King Duncan had asked him to give to Lady Macbeth.  Banquo says “This diamond he greets your wife withal, by the name of most kind hostess.”  As Banquo and a servant exit, Macbeth, spooked as he is, heading for the king’s chambers, famously says to himself “Is this a dagger I see before me?”  But, perhaps intimidated by his wife, Macbeth does his best to carry through with his part of their plan.  He murders the king.  But, to his wife’s chagrin, he is so shaken by his actions that he returns to their chambers holding the bloody daggers.

At about this time, Lady Macbeth, speaking of the guards, waiting for her husband’s return, tells us “that which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.  What hath quenched them hath given me fire.”  Macbeth enters telling his wife “I have done the deed.  Didst thou not hear a noise?”  She looks at the daggers and says “This is a sorry sight.”  However, not being able to kill the guards as they had planned, he says to his wife “They did wake each other” and “I could not say ‘Amen’ when they did say ‘God bless us.” She says “Consider it not so deeply.”  He says “Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more’.”  She says “What do you mean?”  He says the voice cried “Macbeth shall sleep no more.”  She says “Go get some water and wash this filthy witness from your hand.” He says “I’ll go no more.”  She says “Infirm of purpose. Give me the daggers.” She exits with the daggers and kills the guards, leaving on purpose the bloody daggers on the guards’ pillows.  She returns to her husband saying “I hear a knocking at the south entry.  Retire we to our chamber.  A little water clears us of this deed.”

The knocking comes from Macduff, the Scottish nobleman, and his aide Lennox who have arrived very early in the morning to waken King Duncan.  Macbeth comes to the door.  Macduff asks him “Is the king stirring worthy thane?”  Macbeth responds “Not yet. I’ll bring you to him.”  Macduff soon enters the king’s chambers saying “I’ll make so bold a call,” but then quickly exits the chambers crying “Murder and treason! Banquo and Donalbain, Malcolm, awake! Shake off this downy sleep and look on death itself.  Ring the bell.”  Lady Macbeth enters, saying “What’s the business?”  Banquo enters saying “Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself and say it is not so.”  Donalbain enters saying “What is amiss?”  Macduff says “Your royal father’s murdered.”  Malcolm asks “By whom?”  Lennox says “Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ‘t.  Their unwiped daggers we found upon their pillows.”  To protect his wife, Macbeth cries out “O, yet I do repent me of my fury, that I did kill them.”  Macduff asks “Wherefore did you so?”  Macbeth responds “Here lay Duncan, his silver skin laced with blood; there the murderers, their daggers unmannerly breeched with gore.  Who could refrain that had a heart of love.” 

All but Duncan’s sons exit.  Suspicious of events and fearing for their safety, Malcolm says to his brother “What will you do?  I’ll to England.”  Donalbain responds “To Ireland I.”  Malcolm says “This murderous shaft that’s shot hath not yet lighted, and our safest way is to avoid the aim.  Therefore to horse; let us shift away.”  They exit. But in their hasty exit they become suspects in the murder of their father.  With Malcolm now nowhere to be found, Macduff announces that Macbeth is to be crowned king at Scone, while he, dismayed by events, lets us know that he plans to stay behind at his castle at Fife. 

King Macbeth now fears that his buddy Banquo represents a threat, knowing as much as he knows. Macbeth hires two killers and helps them make plans to murder Banquo and his son Fleance.  The killers plan to ambush Banquo and his son at night along a roadside. Macbeth and his wife make plans for a state dinner, all the while Macbeth being consumed with fear. There’s a knock at the door, just as the banquet is about to begin.  It’s one of the murderers.  Macbeth goes to the door, greets the murdering saying “There’s blood upon thy face.”  The murderer responds “’Tis Banquo’s then.  His throat is cut.”  But he says, “Fleance is ‘scaped.”  Macbeth says “Get thee gone.  Tomorrow we’ll hear ourselves again.”  But, while Macbeth was at the door, the Ghost of Banquo had entered and decided to sit at Macbeth’s place at the table.  As Macbeth re-enters the banquet room he says “The table’s full.  Which of you have done this?”  A lord asks “What, my good lord?”  Macbeth turns to the Ghost and says “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me.”  Lady Macbeth says “Sit, worthy friends.”  She takes her husband aside saying “Are you a man? This is the very painting of your fear.  This is the air-drawn dagger which you said led you to Duncan.  Why do you make such faces?”  The Ghost exits.  Things settle down.  As the unseen-by-Macbeth Ghost reenters, Macbeth offers a toast to Banquo, saying “I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.”  As Macbeth turns and sees the Ghost he says, “Quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.”  To her husband Lady Macbeth says “You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting with most admired disorder.”  A lord says “What sights, my lord?”  Lady Macbeth interrupts, saying “I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse. At once good night.”  As the lords exit, a lord says “Good night, and better health attend his Majesty.”  Macbeth notes that “Macduff denies his person at our great bidding.  I will tomorrow to the Weird Sisters.  More shall they speak.  Strange things I have in my head.”  Lady Macbeth ends the scene saying “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.”

The next morning Macbeth does revisit the witches.  The witches’ apparitions (the witches’ masters) tell him he should “beware of Macduff,” but that he has nothing to fear from “any man of woman born” or until “Birnam Wood goes to Dunsinane.”  Macbeth listens intently.  Hecate, the apparitions’ supervisor lectures the ladies, telling them their contact with Macbeth has been inappropriate.  Seriously, this is how it goes.

Macbeth learns from Lennox, the aide to Macduff, that Macduff has left for England, leaving his wife and children unattended and vulnerable at their Fife castle there in Scotland.  Murderers (hired by Macbeth) enter and kill Macduff’s family. 

Later, Macduff, unaware of the slaughter of his family at Fife, meets with Malcolm in England, but Malcolm, the would-be-heir to Scotland’s crown, is suspect of Macduff’s motives, fearing he is Macbeth’s agent, Macbeth having tried to trick him in the past. Malcolm puts Macduff to a most interesting loyalty test. Macduff passes the test, and in an inspired moment, Malcolm suggests to Macduff that he lead a collective effort against King Macbeth. The king of England has offered Malcolm access to ten thousand English forces with Siward as their commander, Siward being Malcolm’s uncle.  Macduff then learns that his wife and children have been murdered at Fife.  Speaking of Macbeth he says “He has no children. What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?”  Malcolm says “dispute it like a man.”  Macduff responds “I shall do so, but I must also feel it as a man.  Heaven rest them now.”  Malcolm says “Let grief convert to anger.  Blunt not they heart; enrage it.”  Macduff says “Front to front bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.”  Malcolm ends the scene with “Come, go we to the king. Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth is ripe for shaking.  The night is long that never finds the day.” 

Meanwhile at Dunsinane, Lady Macbeth takes to walking and talking in her sleep.  She appears seriously ill to those around her.

Macduff, Malcolm, Siward and the English forces assemble outside Dunsinane in Birnam Wood.  Macbeth is warned by a servant of an impending assault by the English forces, but Macbeth dismisses the warnings on the basis of the apparitions’ admonitions.

The Doctor warns Macbeth that Lady Macbeth is not well, saying “As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies that keep her from her rest.”  Macbeth scolds him, saying “Cure her of that. Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, raze out the written troubles of the brain?”  The Doctor responds “Therein the patient must minister to herself.” Sensing his own time is short, Macbeth gamely moves on.  Macbeth soon learns from an aide that “The queen, my lord, is dead.”  Macbeth responds “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. Out, out brief candle! Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” 

Using tree branches from Birnam Wood as camouflage and shields, soldiers attack Macbeth’s castle at Dunsinane. Macbeth kills Siward’s son.  Macbeth learns that Macduff’s mother died just before he was born. Macduff slays Macbeth.  Macduff proclaims Malcolm the new king of Scotland. 

Principal Characters

Macbeth.   Macbeth is a Scottish nobleman who through success on the battlefield and for other unknown reasons endears himself to King Duncan.  However, an insecure Macbeth is undone through an over-the-top ambitious wife.  Macbeth kills King Duncan (his wife killing the king’s guards), is elevated to king, has Banquo assassinated, has Macduff’s family killed and then proceeds to live a tormented life.  He dies at his castle at Dunsinane, at the hands of Macduff, his nemesis, having been as Shakespeare says “but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” 

Lady Macbeth.  Lady Macbeth is the ambitious and confident wife who encourages her husband to kill King Duncan.  She protects and shields her husband beautifully, but in the doing loses her mind and dies late in the play, having lived out a childless, depressing life, as did her husband.    

Banquo.  Like Macbeth, Banquo is a Scottish nobleman with battlefield successes.  But critically, Macbeth receives the better promotion from the king, dooming Banquo, Macbeth being who he was.  The witches tell Macbeth that he will be king and that Banquo will be the father of kings.  Soon after being named king, Macbeth has Banquo killed, fearing Banquo knows too much, but Banquo’s Ghost comes back to haunt him. 

Malcolm.  Malcolm is the older of King Duncan’s two sons and is the natural heir to the Scottish throne.  Malcolm and his brother, Donalbain, flee Scotland right after the murder of their father, fearing that they will be charged with his murder.  Malcolm secures support from the English king.  His uncle Siward is the commander of England’s troops.  Macduff, Malcolm and Siward align their efforts and defeat Macbeth, at which point Malcolm is named king by Macduff.

Weird Sisters.  The Weird Sisters, known as the three witches, are fortune tellers, telling Macbeth and Banquo early in the play that Macbeth will be king and that Banquo will be the father of kings.  Later, the witches’ leaders tell Macbeth that he must beware of Macduff, but that he has nothing to fear from any man born of a woman or until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.  Without them, the play wouldn’t be the powerful play it is.

Macduff.  Macduff is another Scottish nobleman, closely allied to King Duncan. When the king is murdered, Macduff suspects Macbeth, and he retreats to his castle in Scotland.  King Macbeth, justifiably fearing Macduff, has Macduff’s wife and children killed, Macduff having unfortunately left Scotland for England.  Macduff joins forces with Malcolm and Siward, ending up the survivor in a one-on-one duel at Dunsinane with Macbeth.

The Play


  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • In the middle of a frightening thunder storm, deep in the woods, deep into Scotland, three witches enter.
  • FIRST WITCH
  • When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? Where the place?
  • SECOND WITCH
  • Upon the heath.
  • THIRD WITCH
  • There to meet with Macbeth.
  • ALL THREE
  • Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • A bleeding captain enters, with King Duncan, his son, Malcolm, and others present.
  • DUNCAN
  • What bloody man is that?
  • MALCOLM
  • This is the sergeant who fought against my captivity. Say to the king the knowledge of the broil as thou didst leave it.
  • CAPTAIN
  • Brave Macbeth, disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel unseamed the enemy from the nave to th’ chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements. Then the Norweyan lord began a fresh assault.
  • DUNCAN
  • Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
  • CAPTAIN
  • Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. But I am faint.
  • DUNCAN
  • Go get him surgeons.
  • The captain is led off. Ross and Angus, nobles, enter.
  • DUNCAN
  • Who comes here?
  • MALCOLM
  • The worthy Thane of Ross.
  • DUNCAN
  • Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane?
  • ROSS
  • From Fife, great king, where the Norweyan banners flout the sky. Norway, himself, was assisted by that most disloyal traitor, the Thane of Cawdor. And to conclude, the victory fell on us.
  • DUNCAN
  • No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive our bosom interest. Go, pronounce his present death, and with his formal title greet Macbeth. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Separately, the three witches are talking among themselves when Macbeth and Banquo enter.
  • MACBETH
  • Speak if you can. What are you?
  • WITCH ONE
  • Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, though shalt be king hereafter!
  • BANQUO
  • 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.
  • WITCH THREE
  • Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo.
  • The witches vanish.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to Banquo
  •  
  • By my father’s death I know I am Thane
  • Of Glamis, but how of Cawdor, the bane
  • Of all who would be king, a prosperous
  • Gentleman, who lives? Say from whence they owe
  • This most strange intelligence; why give us
  • Such prophetic greeting? Where did they go,
  • As breath into the wind? If this be ill,
  • Why do I feel success? If good, why fill
  • I my head with present fears that unfix
  • My hair and make my seated heart knock at
  • My ribs? My fearful thought of murder sticks
  • As to smother and shake my state, as that
  • Of one who functions not. But if I were
  • To be king, chance may crown me without stir.
  • 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 th’ selfsame tune and words. Who’s there?
  • Ross and Angus enter.
  • ROSS
  • The king hath happily received, Macbeth, the news of thy success.
  • ANGUS
  • We are sent to give thee from our royal master thanks.
  • ROSS
  • He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor, most worthy thane, for it is thine.
  • MACBETH
  • The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?
  • ANGUS
  • Who was the Thane live yet, but under heavy judgment bears that life which he deserves to lose. Reasons capital, confessed and proved, have overthrown him.
  • MACBETH ASIDE TO BANQUO
  • Do you not hope your children shall be kings when those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me promised no less to them?
  • BANQUO
  • But ‘tis strange. And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
  • MACBETH
  • Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten. Let us toward the king. Come, friends.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • King Duncan and his sons and others enter.
  • DUNCAN
  • Is execution done on Cawdor?
  • MALCOLM
  • My liege, I have spoke with one who saw him die, who did report that very frankly he confessed his treasons and set forth a deep repentance. Nothing in his life became him like leaving it.
  • Macbeth, Banquo, Ross and Angus enter.
  • DUNCAN TO MACBETH
  • O worthiest cousin, only I have left to say, more is thy due than more than all can pay.
  • MACBETH
  • The service and the loyalty I owe in doing it pays itself.
  • DUNCAN
  • Noble Banquo, that hast no less deserved nor must be known no less to have done so.
  • BANQUO
  • There, if I grow, the harvest is your own.
  • DUNCAN
  • Sons, kinsmen, thanes 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. From hence to Inverness and bind us further to you.
  • MACBETH
  • I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful the hearing of my wife with your approach.
  • 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. Let not light see my black and deep desires.
  • Macbeth and Banquo exits.
  • DUNCAN
  • True, worthy Banquo. He is full so valiant. It is a peerless kinsman.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 5
  • Macbeth writes a letter to his wife, Lady Macbeth, telling her of the encounter with the witches; how they called him Thane of Cawdor and told him he would be king. Lady Macbeth reads the letter. A messenger enters.
  • 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 informed for preparation?
  • MESSENGER
  • So please you, it is true. Our thane is coming.
  • He exits. Lady Macbeth talks to herself.
  •  
  •  
  • Lady Macbeth to herself, No. 1
  •  
  • Thou shalt be what thou are promised, yet do
  • I fear thy lack cruelness; that thou art too
  • Full o’ th’ milk of human kindness to
  • Take this dire need. Glamis, thou wouldst be
  • Great, art not without ambition, but do
  • Lack the illness should attend it. What thee
  • Fear more to do than wishest should be
  • Undone. Bear fair welcome; let him not see
  • What’s inside your book. Let not your face call
  • Your mind. Look the flower of innocence
  • But be the serpent under’t. Leave all
  • The rest to me. With the fatal entrance
  • Of Duncan, here ‘neath my battlements be,
  • Never shall he the sun that morrow see.
  • Macbeth enters.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor, greater than both by the all-hail hereafter. The 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. We will speak further.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • To alter favor ever is to fear. Leave all the rest to me.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 6
  • King Duncan and entourage arrive at Inverness.
  • DUNCAN
  • This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses.
  • Lady Macbeth enters.
  • DUNCAN
  • See, see our honored hostess!
  • LADY MACBETH
  • All our service were poor and single business to contend against those honors deep and broad wherewith your Majesty loads our house.
  • DUNCAN
  • Where’s the Thane of Cawdor? Fair and noble hostess, we are your guest tonight. Give me your hand. We love him highly and shall continue our graces towards him.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 7
  • Along on the stage, Macbeth thinks through what his wife has planned for him.
  • MACBETH
  • If it were done when ‘tis done, then, ‘twere well it were done quickly.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to himself, No. 1
  •  
  • If we know th’ assassination might
  • Be the be-all and end-all here this night,
  • In this brief shoal of time, we’d jump the life
  • To come. Teaching a bloody lesson can
  • Return to plague th’ teacher, being rife
  • With risk. He’s here in double trust: kinsman
  • I, his subject and his host. O, what’s more
  • I should ‘gainst his murderer shut the door,
  • Not bear the knife! Duncan hath borne his skill
  • So meek and hath been in his office so
  • Clear. Rushing tears from this horrid deed will
  • Drown the wind; trumpet-tongued angels will crow
  • His virtues. Vaulting ambition may be
  • Here my intent, but could ball back on me.
  • MACBETH
  • I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition.
  • Lady Macbeth enters.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • He hath almost supped. Why have you left the chamber?
  • MACBETH
  • Hath he asked for me?
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Know you not he has?
  • MACBETH
  • We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored 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 to Macbeth
  •  
  • Was the hope drunk when ambition did flow,
  • Waking now green and pale having dreamed so
  • Freely? Art thou afeard to be the same
  • In valor as thou art in desire? Would
  • Thou havest that ornament or in shame
  • Live a coward in thine own esteem? Could
  • You break this enterprise to me? When you
  • Durst do it, you were a man; and to do
  • More than what you planned, you’d be so much more
  • The man. Time and place have now made themselves;
  • Why their fitness unmake you when before
  • They not adhere? The prophecy foretells.
  • Never would I default had I doth rail
  • And swear to this as you. We shall not fail.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep, his two chamberlains will I with wine and wassail so convince that memory shall be a fume. When in swinish sleep their drenched natures lies as in a death, what cannot you and I perform upon th’ unguarded Duncan? What not put upon his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell?
  • MACBETH
  • Will it not be received, when we have marked 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.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Banquo and his son Fleance are on stage.
  • 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.
  • Macbeth and a servant enter.
  • BANQUO
  • Give me my sword. Who goes there?
  • MACBETH
  • A friend.
  • BANQUO
  • What, sir, not yet at rest? The king’s abed. This diamond he greets your wife withal, by the name of most kind hostess.
  • He gives Macbeth a diamond.
  • BANQUO
  • I dreamt last night of the three Weird Sisters.
  • 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.
  • BANQUO
  • At your kind’st leisure.
  • Banquo and Fleance exit.
  • MCBETH TO HIS SERVANT
  • Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, she strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
  • Servant exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to himself, No. 2
  •  
  • Is this a dagger I see before me,
  • The handle to my hand? Let me clutch thee.
  • I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
  • Art thou not, or art thou an imagined
  • Dagger, as palpable as this I will
  • Now draw. Thou marshall’st me as I planned
  • To go, with such a tool I plan to use.
  • And now blood on the blade! Is this a ruse
  • To mine eye or a sign of the bloody
  • Business ahead? Hear not my sure steps; one
  • Loose stone tells of me. The bell invites me
  • To this horror. I go and it is done.
  • Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
  • That summons thee to heaven or to hell.
  • Macbeth exits.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Lady Macbeth is on the stage alone, waiting for Macbeth’s return.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • That which hath made them drunk bath made me bold. What hath quenched them hath given me fire. He is about it. Alack, I am afraid they have awaked, and ‘tis not done. I laid their daggers ready; he could not miss ‘em. Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done ‘t.
  • Macbeth enters with bloody daggers.
  • MACBETH
  • I have done the deed. Didst thou not her a noise?
  • LADY MACBETH
  • I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
  • MACBETH
  • This is a sorry sight.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
  • MACBETH
  • There’s one did laugh in ‘s sleep, and one cried “Murder!” That they did wake each other. I stood and heard them. But they did say their prayers and addressed them again to sleep. One cried “God bless us” and “Amen” the other. I could not say “Amen” when they did say “God bless us.”
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Consider it not so deeply.
  • MACBETH
  • Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”-----the innocent sleep, sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve 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 murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Why, worthy thane, you do unbend your noble strength to think so brainsickly of things. Go get some water.
  • MACBETH
  • I’ll go no more. I am afraid to think what I have done.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead are but pictures. If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt.
  • She exits. There is a knock within.
  • MACBETH
  • Whence is that knocking? How is ‘t with me when every noise appalls me? Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?
  • Lady Macbeth enters. There is another knock.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Retire we to our chamber. A little water clears us of this deed.
  • There is another knock.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Hark, more knocking. Be not lost so poorly in your thoughts.
  • MACBETH
  • To know my deed ‘twere best not know myself.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • A porter opens the door to Macduff and Lennox.
  • MACDUFF
  • Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed?
  • PORTER
  • Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock, and drink, sir.
  • MACDUFF
  • Is thy master stirring?
  • Macbeth enters.
  • MACDUFF
  • Is the king stirring, worthy thane?
  • MACBETH
  • Not yet.
  • MACDUFF
  • He did command me to call timely on him. I have almost slipped the hour.
  • Macduff exits.
  • LENNOX
  • The night has been unruly. Where we lay, lamentings heard i’ th’ air, strange screams of death and prophesying.
  • MACBETH
  • ‘Twas a rough night.
  • Macduff enters.
  • MACDUFF
  • Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope the Lord’s anointed temple and stole thence the life o’ th’ building.
  • MACBETH
  • What is ‘t you say? The life?
  • LENNOX
  • Mean you his Majesty?
  • MACDUFF
  • Do not bid me speak. See and then speak yourselves.
  • Macbeth and Lennox exit.
  • MACDUFF
  • Awake, awake! Murder and treason! Banquo and Donalbain, Malcolm, awake! Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit, and look on death itself. Ring the bell.
  • A bell rings. Lady Macbeth enters.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • What’s the business, that such a hideous trumpet calls to parley the sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!
  • MACDUFF
  • ‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.
  • Banquo enters.
  • BANQUO
  • Too cruel anywhere. Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself and say it is not so.
  • Macbeth, Lennox and Ross enter.
  • MACBETH
  • Renown and grace is dead. The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees is left this vault to brag of.
  • Malcolm and Donalbain enter.
  • DONALBAIN
  • What is amiss?
  • MACDUFF
  • Your royal father’s murdered.
  • MALCOLM
  • O, by whom?
  • LENNOX
  • Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ‘t. Their hands and faces were all badged with blood. So were their daggers, which unwiped we found upon their pillows.
  • MACBETH
  • O, yet I do repent me of my fury, that I did kill them.
  • MACDUFF
  • Wherefore did you so?
  • MACBETH
  • Here lay Duncan, his silver skin laced with his golden blood; there the murderers, steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers unmannerly breeched with gore.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Help me hence, ho!
  • MACDUFF
  • Look to the lady.
  • DONALBAIN ASIDE TO MALCOLM
  • What should be spoken here, where our fate, may rush and seize us? Let’s away. Our tears are not yet brewed.
  • Lady Macbeth is assisted off the stage.
  • BANQUO
  • When we have our naked frailties hid, let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work to know it further. I fight of treasonous malice.
  • MACDUFF
  • And so do I.
  • MACBETH
  • Let’s briefly put on manly readiness and meet i’ th’ hall together.
  • All but Malcolm and Donalbain exit.
  • MALCOLM
  • What will you do? Let’s not consort with them. I’ll to England.
  • DONALBAIN
  • To Ireland I. Where we are, there’s daggers in men’s smiles.
  • MALCOLM
  • This murderous shaft that’s shot hath not yet lighted, and our safest way is to avoid the aim.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • Ross is on stage with an old man.
  • OLD MAN
  • Threescore and ten I can remember well, but this sore night hath trifled former knowings. ‘Tis unnatural, even like the deed that’s done.
  • Macduff enters.
  • 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 secretly bribed. Malcolm and Donalbain are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them suspicion of the deed.
  • ROSS
  • Then ‘tis most like the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.
  • MACDUFF
  • He is already named and gone to Scone to be invested.
  • ROSS
  • Will you to Scone?
  • MACDUFF
  • No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.
  • ROSS
  • Well, I will to Scone.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • Banquo is alone on the stage.
  • BANQUO
  • Thou hast it now------King, Cawdor, Glamis, all as the Weird Women promised, and I fear thou played’st most foully for ‘t. Yet it was said that myself should be the root and father of many kings. Why, may they not be my oracles as well. But hush, no more.
  • Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox and other nobles enter.
  • MACBETH
  • Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir, and I’ll request your presence.
  • BANQUO
  • My duties are with a most indissoluble tie.
  • MACBETH
  • Ride you this afternoon?
  • BANQUO
  • Ay, my good lord.
  • MACBETH
  • Is ‘t far you ride?
  • BANQUO
  • I must become a borrower of the night, for a dark hour or twain.
  • MACBETH
  • We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed in England and in Ireland, not confessing their cruel parricide, filling their hearers with strange invention. But of that tomorrow. Goes Fleance with you?
  • BANQUO
  • Ay, my good lord.
  • Banquo exits.
  • MACBETH
  • Let every man be master of his time till seven at night.
  • All but Macbeth and a servant exit.
  • MACBETH
  • Attend those men our pleasure?
  • SERVANT
  • They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
  • MACBETH
  • Bring them before us.
  • Servant exits.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to himself, No. 3
  •  
  • To be king, must be safely thus. A king
  • Would be feared, yet fear of Banquo doth sting
  • Us deep. ‘Tis much he dares and hath a mind
  • That doth guide him in safety. He chide the
  • Sisters who hailed his issue kings. I find
  • Him the being I do fear. They placed a
  • Barren scepter in my grip and fruitless
  • Crown on my head to be wrenched, leaving us
  • No son to succeed. Have I defiled my
  • Mind with this murder for Banquo’s issue?
  • Have I here exchanged peace for rancor by
  • This for them? As not to give my soul to
  • The devil, all men’s foe, in vain, I’ll bring
  • In fate to deny seeds of Banquo king.
  • Servant and two murderers enter. The servant exits.
  • MACBETH
  • Was it not yesterday we spoke together.
  • MURDERERS
  • It was, so please your Highness.
  • MACBETH
  • Know that it was he, in the times past, which held you so under fortune, which you thought had been our innocent self.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • You made it known to us.
  • SECOND MURDERER
  • I am one, my liege, whom the vile blows and buffets of the world hath so incensed that I am reckless what I do to spite the world.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • And I another so weary with disasters, tugged 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.
  • MURDERERS
  • True, my lord.
  • MACBETH
  • So is he mine. Thence it is that I ask your assistance, masking the business from the common eye for sundry weighty reasons.
  • SECOND MURDERER
  • We shall, my lord, perform what you command us.
  • MACBETH
  • Your spirits shine through you. It must be done tonight and something from the palace. And with him Fleance, his son, that keeps him company, whose absence is no less material to me than his father’s, must embrace the fate of that dark hour.
  • MURDERERS
  • We are resolved, my lord.
  • They exit separately.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Lady Macbeth and a servant are on stage.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Say to the king I would attend his leisure for a few words.
  • SERVANT
  • Madam, I will.
  • The servant exits.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Naught’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.
  • Macbeth enters.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • How now, my lord, why do you keep alone? Things without all remedy should be without regard. What’s done is done.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to Lady Macbeth
  •  
  • We have scorched the snake, not killed it. I fear
  • She’ll heal whilst our poor malice remains here
  • In danger. We eat our meal in fear; sleep
  • In the affliction of dreams that shake us
  • Nightly; better we be with the dead. Weep
  • We for those at peace, while we in restless
  • Agony seek to gain peace. Help me, my
  • Love, be jovial and bright for guests by
  • Tonight, and I’ll aid you. Duncan sleeps so
  • After life’s fitful fever; nothing more
  • Can touch him. Extend the plan to Banquo
  • With great honors with our eye and tongue, for
  • We must make our altered faces look far
  • Distant from our hearts, cloaking what we are.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • You must leave this.
  • MACBETH
  • O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo and Fleance lives. Soon there shall be done a deed of dreadful note.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • What’s to be done?
  • MACBETH
  • Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest one, till thou applaud the deed. Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. So prithee go with me.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • The murderers are stationed to intercept Banquo and Fleance.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • But who did bid thee join with us?
  • THIRD MURDERER
  • Macbeth.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • Then stand with us. The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day.
  • THIRD MURDERER
  • Hark, I hear horses.
  • SECOND MURDERER
  • Then ‘tis he. The rest that are within the note of expectation already are i’ th’ court.
  • Enter Banquo and Fleance with a torch.
  • BANQUO
  • It will be rain tonight.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • Let it come down!
  • The three murderers attack.
  • BANQUO
  • O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly!
  • He dies. Fleance exits.
  • THIRD MURDERER
  • There’s but one down. The son is fled.
  • SECOND MURDERER
  • We have lost best half of our affair.
  • FIRST MURDERER
  • Well, let’s away and say how much is done.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 4
  • The Banquet is prepared. Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox and others enter.
  • MACBETH
  • You know your own degrees; sit down. At first and last, the hearty welcome.
  • They sit.
  • LORDS
  • Thanks to your Majesty.
  • The first murderer arrives at the door. Macbeth leaves the table and opens the door.
  • MACBETH
  • There’s blood upon thy face.
  • MURDERER
  • ‘Tis Banquo’s then.
  • MACBETH
  • ‘Tis better thee without than he within. Is he dispatched?
  • MURDERER
  • My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.
  • MACBETH
  • Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.
  • MURDERER
  • Most royal sir, Fleance is ‘scaped.
  • MACBETH
  • But Banquo’s safe?
  • MURDERER
  • Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides.
  • MACBETH
  • Thanks for that. Get thee gone. Tomorrow we’ll hear ourselves again.
  • Murderer exits.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • My royal lord, you do not give the cheer. To feed were best at home; from thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony.
  • The ghost of Banquo enters and sits in Macbeth’s place.
  • LENNOX
  • May ‘t please your Highness sit.
  • MACBETH
  • Here had we now our country’s honor roofed, were the graced person of our Banquo present.
  • 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. Which of you have done this?
  • LORDS
  • What, my good lord?
  • MACBETH TO THE GHOST
  • Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake thy gory locks at me.
  • ROSS
  • Gentlemen, rise. His Highness is not well.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Sit, worthy friends. Pray you, keep seat. The fit is momentary; upon a thought he will again be well.
  • She draws Macbeth aside.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • This is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which you said led you to Duncan. Why do you make such faces?
  • MACBETH
  • Behold, look!
  • The ghost exits.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • What, quite unmanned in folly?
  • MACBETH
  • This is more strange than such a murder is.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • My worthy lord, your noble friends do lack you.
  • MACBETH
  • I do forget. I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing to those that know me. Come, love and health to all. Then I’ll sit down.
  • The ghost enters.
  • MACBETH
  • I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
  • They raise their drinking cups.
  • MACBETH TO THE GHOST
  • Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee. 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 TO THE GHOST
  • Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, the armed rhinoceros, or th’ Hyrcan tiger; take any shape but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble.
  • The ghost exits.
  • MACBETH
  • Why so, being gone, I am a man again. Pray you sit still.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting with most admired disorder.
  • MACBETH
  • You make me strange, when now I think you can behold such sights and keep the natural ruby of your cheeks when mine is blanched with fear.
  • ROSS
  • What sights, my lord?
  • LADY MACBETH
  • I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse. At once, good night.
  • LENNOX
  • Good night, and better health attend his Majesty.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • A kind good night to all.
  • All but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exit.
  • MACBETH
  • How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person at our great bidding?
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Did you send to him, sir?
  • MACBETH
  • I will tomorrow to the Weird Sisters. More shall they speak. Strange things I have in my head.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
  • MACBETH
  • Come, we’ll to sleep.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 5
  • In the midst of another thunder storm, the witches meet with Hecate, the “mistress of their charms.” Hecate is upset that they have excluded her when they were with Macbeth and Banquo.
  • FIRST WITCH
  • Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.
  •  
  •  
  • Hecate to the witches
  •  
  • How dare you so saucy and bold to trade
  • And traffic in riddles of death here laid
  • Bare for Macbeth when I, the mistress of
  • Your charms, was never called to bear my
  • Part for this one, who, as others, has love
  • For his own ends, not for you. And worse, why
  • This been done for a wayward son who tends
  • To be full of spite and wrath? Make amends
  • Now. Soon he’ll come to know his destiny.
  • I’ll catch that vap’rous drop on the moon late
  • Tonight, that, when mixed with magic, will be
  • A confusing illusion; he’ll spurn fate
  • And bear hopes above wisdom and grace. We
  • Know safety is mortals’ chief enemy.
  • Hecate exits.
  • FIRST WITCH
  • Come, let’s make haste. She’ll soon be back again.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 6
  • Lennox and another lord are on stage.
  • LENNOX
  • I say things have been strangely borne. Duncan was pitied by Macbeth and he was dead. Banquo walked too late and was killed. How monstrous it was for Malcolm and Donalbain to kill their gracious father. Macbeth in pious rage against delinquent guards, slaves of drink and thralls of sleep. Was that not nobly done and wisely, too? ‘Cause he failed 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 lives in the English court and is received of the pious Edward with grace. Thither Macduff is gone to seek aid from the holy king, Northumberland and warlike Siward. 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 if to say “You’ll rue the time that clogs me with this answer.”
  • LENNOX
  • 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.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • The witches are on stage and Macbeth enters.
  • MACBETH
  • How, now, you secret hags? What is ‘t you do?
  • ALL
  • A deed without a name.
  • MACBETH
  • Answer me to what I ask you.
  • FIRST WITCH
  • Say if th’ hadst rather hear it from our mouths or from our masters’.
  • MACBETH
  • Call ‘em. Let me see ‘em.
  • The first apparition enters.
  • FIRST APPARITION
  • Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff! Beware the Thane of Fife! Enough.
  • He descends.
  • MACBETH
  • Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.
  • The second apparition enters.
  • SECOND APPARITION
  • Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.
  • He 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.
  • The third apparition enters.
  • THIRD APPARITION
  • Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.
  • He descends.
  • MACBETH
  • That will never be. Who can impress the forest, bid the tree unfix his earthbound root? Tell me, if your art can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever reign in this kingdom?
  • ALL
  • Seek to know no more.
  • The witches dance and vanish.
  • MACBETH
  • Where are they? Gone? Come in, without there.
  • Lennox enters.
  • LENNOX
  • What’s your Grace’s will?
  • MACBETH
  • Saw you the Weird Sisters?
  • LENNOX
  • No, indeed, my lord.
  • MACBETH
  • I did hear the galloping of horse.
  • LENNOX
  • ‘Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word Macduff is fled to England..
  • MACBETH TO HIMSELF
  • The flighty purpose never is o’ertook unless the deed go with it. The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line.
  • MACBETH
  • Where are these gentlemen? Come bring me where they are.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • At Fife Castle in Scotland, Macduff’s wife, her son and Ross are on stage.
  • LADY MACDUFF
  • What had he done to make him fly the land?
  • ROSS
  • You must have patience, madam. 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.
  • ROSS
  • My dearest coz, I pray you school yourself. I take my leave of you. Shall not be long but I’ll be here again.
  • Ross exits. A messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • 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! I dare abide no longer.
  • The messenger exits.
  • LADY MACDUFF
  • Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. Alas, why do I put up that womanly defense to say I have done no harm?
  • Murderers enter.
  • MURDERER
  • Where is your husband? He’s a traitor.
  • SON
  • Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain!
  • The murderer stabs the boy
  • SON
  • He has killed me, mother. Run away, I pray you.
  • Lady Macduff exits with the murderers following her.
  • Act 4, Scene 3
  • Malcolm and Macduff meet on stage.
  • MALCOLM
  • Let us seek out some desolate shade and there weep our sad bosoms empty.
  • MACDUFF
  • Let us like good men bestride our downfall’n birthdom. Each new morn new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face.
  •  
  •  
  • Malcolm to Macduff, No. 1
  •  
  • What you have spoke may be so. This once thought
  • Chaste tyrant hath touched you not, but I ought
  • Be cautious as an innocent lamb, for
  • You may please him through me to appease an
  • Angry god. Though things foul try to look more
  • Like grace, grace is always gracious. A man
  • Of doubtful honors leaves his wife and child
  • Unsecured. Your self may not be defiled,
  • Whatever I think. Be not offended.
  • I not all in fear of you. We need salve
  • Our country’s gashed wounds; England has offered
  • Goodly men. Him that shall succeed shall have
  • More vices, and more people will suffer
  • Harshly in more sundry ways than ever.
  • MACDUFF
  • I am not treacherous.
  • MALCOLM
  • But Macbeth is
  • MACDUFF
  • I have lost my hopes.
  • MALCOLM
  • I pray you, let not my jealousies be your dishonors, buy mine own safeties.
  • MACDUFF
  • 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.
  • MALCOLM
  • I think our country sinks beneath the yoke. Here from gracious England have I offer thousands. Yet my poor country shall suffer more 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 opened, black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow.
  • MACDUFF
  • Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth.
  • MALCOLM
  • I grant him bloody, sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin that has a name. Your wives, your daughters, and your maids could not fill up the cistern of my lust.
  • MACDUFF
  • Boundless intemperance in nature is a tyranny. It hath been th’ untimely emptying of the happy throne and fall of many kings. You may convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty and yet seem cold. We have willing dames enough.
  • MALCOLM
  • Were I king, I should cut off the nobles for their lands. I should forge quarrels unjust against the good and loyal, destroying them for wealth.
  • MACDUFF
  • This avarice hath been the sword of our slain kings. Yet do not fear. Scotland hath plentiful supplies to fill up your will of your mere own.
  • MALCOLM
  • I abound in the division of each crime, acting it many ways. I should 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? Fare thee well. These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself hath banished 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.
  •  
  •  
  • Malcolm to Macduff, No. 2
  •  
  • Macduff, from my soul thou hath settled my
  • Thoughts to thy good honor. Vile Macbeth by
  • Deceit hath sought to trick me, and modest
  • Wisdom plucks me from yielding to my
  • Haste. Here pledge I to thy command and wrest
  • My words as strangers to my nature. I
  • Am unknown to woman and never say
  • Falsely till now. Never would I betray
  • My faith nor forswear an oath; do delight
  • No less in truth than life. We are truly
  • Thine; Siward with ten thousand men is right
  • Behind. May God above deal between thee
  • And me; may the goodness in this moral
  • Moment serve us in our warranted quarrel.
  • MALCOLM
  • Why are you silent?
  • MACDUFF
  • Such welcome and unwelcome things at once ‘tis hard to reconcile.
  • Ross enters.
  • MACDUFF
  • My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither. Stands Scotland where it did?
  • ROSS
  • Alas, poor country, almost afraid to know itself. It cannot be called our mother, but our grave. Good men’s lives expire before the flowers in their caps, dying or ere they sicken.
  • MALCOLM
  • What’s the newest grief?
  • ROSS
  • Each minute teems a new one.
  • MACDUFF
  • How does my wife? And all my children?
  • ROSS
  • They were well at peace when I did leave ‘em.
  • MALCOLM
  • Be ‘t their comfort we are coming thither. Gracious England hath lent us good Siward and ten thousand men.
  • ROSS
  • Would I could answer this comfort with the like. But I have words that would be howled out in the desert air.
  • MACDUFF
  • If it be mine, keep it not from me. Quickly let me have it.
  • ROSS
  • Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes savagely slaughtered.
  • MALCOLM
  • Merciful heaven! Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.
  • MACDUFF
  • 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. Heaven rest them now.
  • MALCOLM
  • 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! Front to front bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.
  • MALCOLM
  • Come, go we to the king. Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth is ripe for shaking. Receive what cheer you may. The night is long that never finds the day.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • A doctor and Lady Macbeth’s gentlewoman are on stage.
  • DOCTOR
  • I have two nights watched with you but can perceive no truth in your report.
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Since his Majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.
  • DOCTOR
  • What at any time have you heard her say?
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Having no witness to confirm my speech, I will not report after her.
  • Lady Macbeth enters with a taper.
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise and, upon my life, fast asleep.
  • DOCTOR
  • You see her eyes are open.
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Ay, but their sense are shut. It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands.
  • LADY MACBETH
  • Yet here a spot.
  • DOCTOR
  • Hark, she speaks.
  •  
  •  
  • Lady Macbeth to herself, No 2
  •  
  • Out, damned spot, out I say! A soldier, yet
  • Frightened? My lord, you startled all who met
  • With your sudden fits. No more of that, for
  • What need we fear who knows it when none can
  • Call us to account? Neither Banquo nor
  • Macduff’s wife can leave their graves, yet blood ran
  • Fierce from the old man; the smell of blood still.
  • All the perfume of Arabia will
  • Not sweeten this hand that cannot undo
  • What has been done. Wash your hands. Change your thought.
  • Look not so pale. Hold my hand. I tell you
  • Yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot
  • Come out on ‘s grave. Ignore what’s been said.
  • What’s been done cannot be undone. To bed.
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.
  • DOCTOR
  • This disease is beyond my practice.
  • Lady Macbeth exits
  • DOCTOR
  • Will she go now to bed?
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Directly.
  • DOCTOR
  • Foul whisp’rings area abroad. Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles. More needs she the divine than the physician. God, God forgive us all. Look after her. I think but dare not speak.
  • GENTLEWOMAN
  • Good night, good doctor.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • A group of rebelling Scottish nobles are on stage, including Menteith, Caithness, Lennox and Angus.
  • MENTEITH
  • The English power is near, led on by Malcolm, his uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.
  • ANGUS
  • Near Birnam Wood shall we well meet them. That way are they coming.
  • 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.
  • ANGUS
  • 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.
  • CAITHNESS
  • Well, march we on to give obedience where ‘tis truly owed.
  • LENNOX
  • Make we our march towards Birnam
  • They exit
  • Act 5, Scene 3
  • Macbeth, the Doctor and attendants are on stage.
  • 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?
  • A servant enters.
  • SERVANT
  • There is ten thousand------
  • MACBETH
  • Guess, villain?
  • SERVANT
  • Soldiers, sir.
  • MACBETH
  • Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear, thou lily-livered boy. What soldiers, whey-face.
  • SERVANT
  • The English force, so please you.
  • The servant exits. Seyton, Macbeth’s aide, enters.
  • SEYTON
  • All is confirmed, my lord, which was reported.
  • MACBETH
  • I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked. Give me my armor. How does your patient, doctor?
  • DOCTOR
  • 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?
  • DOCTOR
  • Therein the patient must minister to himself.
  • MACBETH
  • If thou couldst, doctor, find her disease, and purge it to a sound and pristine health, I would applaud thee to the very echo that should applaud again.
  • DOCTOR
  • Ay, my good lord. Your royal preparation makes us hear something.
  • MACBETH
  • Bring it after me. I will not be afraid of death till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 4
  • The rebel Scottish forces have joined Malcolm.
  • 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.
  • 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. And none serve with him but constrained things whose hearts are absent too.
  • SIWARD
  • Advance the war.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 5
  • Macbeth, Seyton and soldiers are on stage.
  • MACBETH
  • 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.
  • There is a cry from women from within.
  • MACBETH
  • What is that noise?
  • SEYTON
  • It is the cry of women, my good lord.
  • Seyton exits. And then Seyton re-enters.
  • MACBETH
  • Wherefore was that cry?
  • SEYTON
  • The Queen, my lord, is dead.
  • MACBETH
  • She should have died hereafter.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to himself, No. 4
  •  
  • If not now, there would have been tomorrow.
  • For soon there’d be a day for such sorrow.
  • Days creep at a petty pace with scant relief
  • To time’s last syllable as yesterdays’
  • Light the way to dusty death. Out, out brief
  • Candle! Life’s but a thick shadow that weighs
  • On each player who struts on the stage for
  • His hour and then is heard no more.
  • Say Birnam Wood moves now to Dunsinane?
  • If what he avouches do appear, we’re
  • Lost. O, I grow aweary of the rain
  • And sun; wish the estate of the world here
  • Undone. Ring the alarm. Fight hard and cry
  • Fiercely. At least in our armor we’ll die.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 6
  • With Birnam Wood boughs before them, Malcolm, Siward, Macduff and the army move on Dunsinane Castle.
  • MALCOLM
  • Now near enough. Your leafy screens throw down and show like those you are.
  • 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.
  • They exit. Alarums continued.
  • Act 5, Scene 7
  • Macbeth is on the stage alone.
  • 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.
  • Young Siward enters.
  • YOUNG SIWARD
  • What is thy name?
  • MACBETH
  • My name’s Macbeth.
  • They fight and young Siward is slain. Macbeth exits. Macduff enters.
  • MACDUFF
  • Tyrant, show thy face! If thou beest slain, and with no stroke of mine, my wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still. Let me find him, Fortune, and more I beg not.
  • Macduff exits. Malcolm and Siward enter.
  • SIWARD
  • This way, my lord. The castle’s gently rendered. Little is to do.
  • MALCOLM
  • We have met with foes that strike beside us.
  • SIWARD
  • Enter, sir, the castle.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 8
  • Macbeth is alone on the stage.
  • MACBETH
  • Why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword?
  • Macduff enters
  • MACDUFF
  • I have no words; my voice is in my sword.
  • They fight.
  • MACBETH
  • I must not yield to one of woman born.
  • MACDUFF
  • Let the angel whom thou still hast served tell thee Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.
  •  
  •  
  • Macbeth to Macduff
  •  
  • As easy mayst thou wound air with thy
  • Keen sword as make me bleed. A charmed life I
  • Have borne, told not to fear one of woman
  • Born, yet despair hearing thou untimely
  • Ripped from your mother’s womb. Sisters that can
  • Juggle false words in a double sense be
  • Accursed. I’ll fight thee yet. I’m no coward;
  • To live to be the sideshow. Mark my word,
  • You’ll not post, “Here may you see the tyrant.”
  • I’ll not kiss the ground at Malcolm’s feet nor
  • Be baited with a mob’s curse. Nay, I can’t!
  • Though Birnam Wood be come and with thee war,
  • Yet I will try the last. Lay on, Macduff,
  • And damned be him that first cries “Hold! Enough!”
  • They fight and Macbeth is slain. Macduff exits with the body. Malcolm, Siward and others enter.
  • SIWARD
  • 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.
  • SIWARD
  • Then he is dead?
  • ROSS
  • Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth, for then it hath no end.
  • SIWARD
  • Why then, God’s soldier be he!
  • MALCOLM
  • He’s worth more sorrow, and that I’ll spend for him.
  • SIWARD
  • They say he parted well and paid his score, and so, God be with him.
  • Macduff enters with Macbeth’s head.
  • MACDUFF
  • Hail, king, for so thou art. Hail, King of Scotland.
  • MALCOLM
  • My thanes and kinsmen, henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland in such an honor named. 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 crowned at Scone.
  • They exit.

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