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About the Play

Skye Smith as Macbeth 2008

Written sometime between 1605-1606, Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest but most unremittingly gruesome tragedy.

The first recorded production of the play was at the Globe Theater in London, in 1611, but most scholars feel that it was presented earlier to James I, the new King of England, who hailed from Scotland; as the play celebrates both King James' rule which brought together England and Scotland, and memorialized James' ancestor, Banquo. 

Shakespeare also seemed to honor the crown by writing about the witches, or wyrd sisters, which was a fascination of James'.

Themes include:


Loyalty and guilt are also strong themes in Macbeth.


Act 1, sc. ii, repeats the theme in discussion of the traitor, Cawdor betraying the King.  He is executed and Macbeth - a loyal subject - receives his lands and titles. 

The theme of loyalty is also used as a dramatic device as the plot develops and Macbeth sheds his loyalty in favor of assassination of the King.

The audience is aware that he's already thought about killing Duncan, but for the moment Macbeth talks about the loyalty he owes the King (Act one, Scene four, Line 14) and his duties not only to the throne (Act one, Scene four, Line 24) but to Duncan, himself.

Shakespeare's genius is that he also allows Macbeth to be racked with guilt – he is unsure before he kills the king, then instantly regrets it.


Was Macbeth Historically Accurate?

Mario Xavier in Macbeth

Based loosely on Holinshed's Chronicles,  Shakespeare's version of the story of the 11th century Scottish King Macbeth, bears little resemblance to  historical fact. 


We know that Macbeth lived from 1005 to 1057. What records survive suggest his rise to the throne, while quite different to Shakespeare’s tragedy, was created through bloodshed. 


The real King Macbeth, or  was not as evil, or as terrible a leader as Shakespeare portrays in his play. His rule was relatively peaceful and lasted almost a decade. 


Historians agree that the play was probably composed at the request of King James I to celebrate a state visit to the English court.  In order to avoid controversy and to connect the story to King James' lineage, Shakespeare focused on Banquo and made Macbeth appear to be more of a tyrant. 

The play tells of the unification of Scotland with England in ancient times, which Shakespeare used as a device to cleverly parallel James' own ascension to the throne of both countries.  

Shakespeare's need to compress time in order to fit the action in about two hours on the stage allowed him more freedom to ignore the fact that the real Macbeth was considered a good ruler for over ten years before he was deposed. 


Why Does Macbeth Still Resonate?

Skye Smith and Marianne Eisenhart

For students, Macbeth is the ultimate horror show - starting with magic, prophesies, and battles, then moving briskly into assassinations, hauntings, and, of course, ending with the star of the play getting his head chopped off.  It out rivals anything that modern Hollywood could throw at the audience... and yet, speaks to us all of our humanity, gained and lost.   


Tucked in and around the spectacle, Macbeth addresses a few big questions regarding pre-destination, the nature of evil and the corruption of power, but leaves most unanswered.  Although the play is larded with political speeches designed to flatter King James, and is a treatise on the concept of equivocation, Shakespeare's tragedy has survived the centuries because the heart of it delves deeply into the human flaws of the protagonist. 

We watch in horror as Macbeth transforms from a hero to a despot - seemingly on the basis of a chance encounter with some witches on a moor. He makes dark decisions every time he is faced with a clear choice: good or evil? Right or wrong? Darkness or light?


We cannot look away from Macbeth's transformation from the King's most loyal subject to the traitor who commits regicide, consorts with the dark side, hires assassins, orders the slaughter of women and children and lays his country to waste.


His lack of humanity is revealed when he refuses accept his wife's descent into madness and seems unconcerned and inconvenienced by her ultimate suicide. Macbeth plays for the power that was promised by a trio of unearthly women on a lonely windswept moor. 

As the tale unfolds, we ask ourselves what we would do - with a promised crown dangled just beyond our outstretched hand.



By William Shakespeare

Edited by Colleen Stovall

from the First Folio


Characters in the Play


Three Witches, the Weïrd Sisters

DUNCAN, king of Scotland

MALCOLM, his elder son

DONALBAIN, Duncan’s younger son

MACBETH, thane of Glamis


SEYTON, attendant to Macbeth

Three Murderers in Macbeth’s service

Both attending upon Lady Macbeth:

               A Doctor

               A Gentlewoman

A Porter

BANQUO, commander, with Macbeth,

of Duncan’s army

FLEANCE, his son

MACDUFF, a Scottish noble


Their son

Scottish Nobles:


SIWARD, commander of the English forces

YOUNG SIWARD, Siward’s son

A Captain in Duncan’s army

An Old Man

A Doctor at the English court

Apparitions: an Armed Head, a Bloody Child, a Crowned Child, and eight nonspeaking kings

Three Messengers,

Three Servants,

a Lord, a Soldier

Attendants, a Sewer, Servants, Lords, Thanes, Soldiers (all nonspeaking)

ACT 1        Scene 1

Thunder and Lightning. Enter three Witches.



When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?


When the hurly-burly’s done,

When the battle’s lost and won.


That will be ere the set of sun.                       5


Where the place?

SECOND WITCH  Upon the heath.


There to meet with Macbeth.

FIRST WITCH  I come, Graymalkin.

SECOND WITCH  Paddock calls.                       10



Fair is foul, and foul is fair;

Hover through the fog and filthy air.

They exit.


ACT 1           SCENE 2

Alarum within. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm,
Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding



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 5

’Gainst my captivity.—Hail, brave friend!

Say to the King the knowledge of the broil

As thou didst leave it.

CAPTAIN  Doubtful it stood,

As two spent swimmers that do cling together                                                           10

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;     15

And Fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,

Showed like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak;

For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name),

Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,

Which smoked with bloody execution,      20

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 unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops,

And fixed his head upon our battlements. 25


O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!


As whence the sun ’gins his reflection

Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,

So from that spring whence comfort seemed to

come                                                              30

Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark:

No sooner justice had, with valor armed,

Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,

But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,

With furbished arms and new supplies of men, 35

Began a fresh assault.


Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and



Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.

If I say sooth, I must report they were       40

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—                                                  45

But I am faint. My gashes cry for help.


So well thy words become thee as thy wounds:

They smack of honor both.—Go, get him surgeons.

The Captain is led off by Attendants.

Enter Ross and Angus.

Who comes here?

MALCOLM  The worthy Thane of Ross.         50


What a haste looks through his eyes!

So should he look that seems to speak things


ROSS  God save the King.

DUNCAN  Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane? 55

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,        60

The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,

Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapped in proof,

Confronted him with self-comparisons,

Point against point, rebellious arm ’gainst arm,

Curbing his lavish spirit. And to conclude, 65

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          70

Till he disbursèd at Saint Colme’s Inch

Ten thousand dollars to our general use.


No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive

Our bosom interest. Go, pronounce his present

death,                                                             75

And with his former title greet Macbeth.

ROSS  I’ll see it done.


What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.

They exit.


Act 1             Scene 3

Thunder. Enter the three Witches.


FIRST WITCH  Where hast thou been, sister?

SECOND WITCH  Killing swine.

THIRD WITCH  Sister, where thou?


A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap

And munched and munched and munched. “Give                                                                   5

me,” quoth I.

“Aroint thee, witch,” the rump-fed runnion cries.

Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ th’ Tiger;

But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,

And, like a rat without a tail,                        10

I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.


I’ll give thee a wind.


Th’ art kind.


And I another.


I myself have all the other,                           15

And the very ports they blow;

All the quarters that they know

I’ th’ shipman’s card.

I’ll drain him dry as hay.

Sleep shall neither night nor day                 20

Hang upon his penthouse lid.

He shall live a man forbid.

Weary sev’nnights, nine times nine,

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.

Though his bark cannot be lost,                  25

Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.

Look what I have.

SECOND WITCH  Show me, show me.


Here I have a pilot’s thumb,

Wracked as homeward he did come.   Drum within.  30


A drum, a drum!

Macbeth doth come.

ALL, dancing in a circle

The Weïrd Sisters, hand in hand,

Posters of the sea and land,

Thus do go about, about,                              35

Thrice to thine and thrice to mine

And thrice again, to make up nine.

Peace, the charm’s wound up.


Enter Macbeth and Banquo.


So foul and fair a day I have not seen.


How far is ’t called to Forres?—What are these,                                                                40

So withered, and so wild in their attire,

That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ Earth

And yet are on ’t?—Live you? Or are you aught

That man may question? You seem to understand

me 45

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? 50


All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!


All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!


All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!


Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear

Things that do sound so fair?—I’ th’ name of truth,                                                            55

Are you fantastical, or that indeed

Which outwardly you 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.  60

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  Hail!                                             65




Lesser than Macbeth and greater.


Not so happy, yet much happier.


Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.          70

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!


Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!


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  75

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          80

With such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you.

Witches vanish.


The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,

And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?


Into the air, and what seemed corporal melted,

As breath into the wind. Would they had stayed!                                                              85


Were such things here as we do speak about?

Or have we eaten on the insane root

That takes the reason prisoner?


Your children shall be kings.

BANQUO  You shall be king.                             90


And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?


To th’ selfsame tune and words.—Who’s here?


Enter Ross and Angus.


The King hath happily received, Macbeth,

The news of thy success, and, when he reads

Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight,  95

His wonders and his praises do contend

Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that,

In viewing o’er the rest o’ th’ selfsame day

He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,

Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,          100

Strange images of death. As thick as tale

Came post with post, and every one did bear

Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defense,

And poured them down before him.

ANGUS  We are sent                                       105

To give thee from our royal master thanks,

Only to herald thee into his sight,

Not pay thee.


And for an earnest of a greater honor,

He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor,                                                          110

In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,

For it is thine.

BANQUO  What, can the devil speak true?


The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me

In borrowed robes?                                     115

ANGUS  Who was the Thane lives yet,

But under heavy judgment bears that life

Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was


With those of Norway, or did line the rebel          120

With hidden help and vantage, or that with both

He labored in his country’s wrack, I know not;

But treasons capital, confessed and proved,

Have overthrown him.

MACBETH, aside  Glamis and Thane of Cawdor!                                                             125

The greatest is behind. To Ross and Angus. Thanks

for your pains.

Aside to Banquo. Do you not hope your children

shall be kings,

When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me                                                              130

Promised no less to them?

BANQUO  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,   135

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,

Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s

In deepest consequence.—

Cousins, a word, I pray you. They step aside.

MACBETH, aside  Two truths are told          140

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 145

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 150

Are less than horrible imaginings.

My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,

Shakes so my single state of man

That function is smothered in surmise,

And nothing is but what is not.                  155

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,     160

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold

But with the aid of use.

MACBETH, aside  Come what come may,

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.


Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.                                                           165


Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought

With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains

Are registered where every day I turn

The leaf to read them. Let us toward the King.

Aside to Banquo. Think upon what hath chanced,                                                        170

and at more time,

The interim having weighed it, let us speak

Our free hearts each to other.

BANQUO  Very gladly.

MACBETH  Till then, enough.—Come, friends.             175

They exit.


Act 1              Scene 4

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



Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not

Those in commission yet returned?

MALCOLM  My liege,

They are not yet come back. But I have spoke

With one that saw him die, who did report 5

That very frankly he confessed 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 10

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         15

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 20

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.


The service and the loyalty I owe                25

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.               30

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 enfold thee          35

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          40

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 45

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.


The rest is labor which is not used for you.          50

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  55

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.  60

He exits.


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.                                65

Flourish. They exit.


Act 1          Scene 5

Enter Macbeth’s Wife, alone, with a letter.


LADY MACBETH, reading the letter  They met me in the

day of success, and I have learned by the perfect’st

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.                                                         5

Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives

from the King, who all-hailed me “Thane of Cawdor,”

by which title, before, these Weïrd Sisters saluted me

and referred me to the coming on of time with “Hail,

king that shalt be.” This have I thought good to deliver                                             10

thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou

might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant

of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy

heart, and farewell.

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be          15

What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o’ th’ 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                                                            20


That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false

And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou ’dst have, great


That which cries “Thus thou must do,” if thou have                                                         25


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 30

All that impedes thee from the golden round,

Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem

To have thee crowned withal.


Enter Messenger.


What is your tidings?


The King comes here tonight.                      35

LADY MACBETH  Thou ’rt mad to say it.

Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,

Would have informed for preparation?


So please you, it is true. Our thane is coming.

One of my fellows had the speed of him,  40

Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more

Than would make up his message.

LADY MACBETH  Give him tending.

He brings great news.          Messenger exits.

The raven himself is hoarse                       45

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.     50

Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse,

That no compunctious visitings of nature

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts

And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,                                                         55

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                                                            60

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         65

The future in the instant.

MACBETH  My dearest love,

Duncan comes here tonight.

LADY MACBETH  And when goes hence?


Tomorrow, as he purposes.                         70


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,  75

Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent


But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming

Must be provided for; and you shall put

This night’s great business into my dispatch,          80

Which shall to all our nights and days to come

Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.


We will speak further.

LADY MACBETH  Only look up clear.

To alter favor ever is to fear.                        85

Leave all the rest to me.

They exit.


Act 1      Scene 6

Hautboys and Torches. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm,
Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and



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,                                                             5

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          10


The air is delicate.


Enter Lady Macbeth.


DUNCAN  See, see our honored hostess!—

The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,

Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you   15

How you shall bid God ’ild 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          20

Against those honors deep and broad wherewith

Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old,

And the late dignities heaped up to them,

We rest your hermits.

DUNCAN  Where’s the Thane of Cawdor?    25

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 helped


To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,                                                            30

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.                                35

DUNCAN  Give me your hand.


                                    Taking her hand.

Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly

And shall continue our graces towards him.

By your leave, hostess.

They exit.


Act 1          Scene 7

Hautboys. Torches. Enter a Sewer and divers Servants
with dishes and service over the stage. Then enter



If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well

It were done quickly. If th’ 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,    5

But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,

We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases

We still have judgment here, that we but teach

Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return

To plague th’ inventor. This even-handed justice                                                               10

Commends th’ ingredience of our poisoned 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 murderer shut the door,                                                                 15

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;       20

And pity, like a naked newborn 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  25

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself

And falls on th’ other—


Enter Lady Macbeth.


How now, what news?



He has almost supped. Why have you left the    30



Hath he asked for me?

LADY MACBETH  Know you not he has?


We will proceed no further in this business.

He hath honored me of late, and I have bought                                                              35

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 dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?                                                                40

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  45

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’ th’ adage?

MACBETH  Prithee, peace.                               50

I dare do all that may become a man.

Who dares do more is none.

LADY MACBETH  What beast was ’t,


That made you break this enterprise to me?          55

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                                                               60


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 plucked my nipple from his boneless gums                                                                 65

And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you

Have done to this.

MACBETH  If we should fail—


But screw your courage to the sticking place                                                                 70

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,     75

Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason

A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep

Their drenchèd natures lies as in a death,

What cannot you and I perform upon

Th’ unguarded Duncan? What not put upon          80

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,          85

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          90

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 95


They exit.


ACT 2       Scene 1

Enter Banquo, and Fleance with a torch before him.


BANQUO  How goes the night, boy?


The moon is down. I have not heard the clock.

BANQUO  And she goes down at twelve.

FLEANCE  I take ’t ’tis later, sir.


Hold, take my sword.   He gives his sword to Fleance.  5

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 cursèd thoughts that nature                                                               10

Gives way to in repose.


Enter Macbeth, and a Servant with a torch.


Give me my sword.—Who’s


MACBETH  A friend.


What, sir, not yet at rest? The King’s abed.          15

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.                                20

He gives Macbeth a jewel.

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 Weïrd Sisters.                                                              25

To you they have showed some truth.

MACBETH  I think not of


Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,

We would spend it in some words upon that  30


If you would grant the time.

BANQUO  At your kind’st leisure.


If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,

It shall make honor for you.                         35

BANQUO  So I lose none

In seeking to augment it, but still keep

My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,

I shall be counseled.

MACBETH  Good repose the while.                40

BANQUO  Thanks, sir. The like to you.

                                                                 Banquo and Fleance exit.


Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,

She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.

                                                            Servant exits.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch                                                                45


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       50

Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?

I see thee yet, in form as palpable

As this which now I draw.                                                                           He draws his dagger.

Thou marshal’st me the way that I was going,

And such an instrument I was to use.        55

Mine eyes are made the fools o’ th’ 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     60

Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one-half world

Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse

The curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate’s off’rings, and withered murder,

Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,            65

Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,

With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his


Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,

Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear                                                             70

Thy very stones prate of my whereabouts

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.     75

Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell

That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

                                           He exits.



Act 2       Scene 2

Enter Lady Macbeth.



That which hath made them drunk hath made me


What hath quenched them hath given me fire.


It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,                                                             5

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 drugged

their possets,

That death and nature do contend about them                                                                 10

Whether they live or die.

MACBETH, within  Who’s there? what, ho!


Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,

And ’tis not done. Th’ attempt and not the deed

Confounds us. Hark!—I laid their daggers ready;                                                               15

He could not miss ’em. Had he not resembled

My father as he slept, I had done ’t.


Enter Macbeth with bloody daggers.

My husband?


I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?


I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.          20

Did not you speak?



MACBETH  As I descended?

LADY MACBETH  Ay.                                          25

MACBETH  Hark!—Who lies i’ th’ second chamber?

LADY MACBETH  Donalbain.

MACBETH  This is a sorry sight.


A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.


There’s one did laugh in ’s sleep, and one cried 30


That they did wake each other. I stood and heard


But they did say their prayers and addressed them

Again to sleep.                                                35

LADY MACBETH  There are two lodged together.


One cried “God bless us” and “Amen” the other,

As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands,

List’ning their fear. I could not say “Amen”

When they did say “God bless us.”             40

LADY MACBETH  Consider it not so deeply.


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                                                                45

After these ways; so, it will make us mad.


Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, 50

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

LADY MACBETH  What do you mean?


Still it cried “Sleep no more!” to all the house.

“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore                                                          55


Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”


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          60

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.                               65

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                                                         70

That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,

I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal,

For it must seem their guilt.

She exits with the daggers. Knock within.

MACBETH  Whence is that knocking?            75

How is ’t with me when every noise appalls 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,          80

Making the green one red.


Enter Lady Macbeth.



My hands are of your color, but I shame

To wear a heart so white.                Knocking.

I hear a knocking

At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.                                                          85

A little water clears us of this deed.

How easy is it, then! Your constancy

Hath left you unattended.               Knocking.

Hark, more knocking.

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us          90

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost

So poorly in your thoughts.


To know my deed ’twere best not know myself.


Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou

couldst.                                                          95

                          They exit.


Act 2       Scene 3

Knocking within. Enter a Porter.


PORTER  Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were

porter of hell gate, he should have old turning the

key. (Knock.) Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i’

th’ name of Beelzebub? Here’s a farmer that hanged

himself on th’ expectation of plenty. Come in time!                                                            5

Have napkins enough about you; here you’ll sweat

for ’t. (Knock.) Knock, knock! Who’s there, in th’

other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator

that could swear in both the scales against either

scale, who committed treason enough for God’s                                                              10

sake yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in,

equivocator. (Knock.) 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. (Knock.) Knock, knock!                                                            15

Never at quiet.—What are you?—But this place is

too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further. I had

thought to have let in some of all professions that go

the primrose way to th’ everlasting bonfire. (Knock.)

Anon, anon!                                                  20


The Porter opens the door to Macduff and Lennox.


I pray you, remember the porter.


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                                                              25


MACDUFF  What three things does drink especially


PORTER  Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.

Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes                                                    30

the desire, but it takes away the performance.

Therefore much drink may be said to be an

equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it

mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it

persuades him and disheartens him; makes him                                                     35

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’ th’ very throat on me; but I                                                              40

requited him for his lie, and, I think, being too

strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime,

yet I made a shift to cast him.

MACDUFF  Is thy master stirring?

                                           Enter Macbeth.


Our knocking has awaked him. Here he comes.                                                              45

                                Porter exits.


Good morrow, noble sir.

MACBETH  Good morrow, both.


Is the King stirring, worthy thane?

MACBETH  Not yet.


He did command me to call timely on him.          50

I have almost slipped the hour.

MACBETH  I’ll bring you to him.


I know this is a joyful trouble to you,

But yet ’tis one.


The labor we delight in physics pain.          55

This is the door.

MACDUFF  I’ll make so bold to call,

For ’tis my limited service.                                                                            Macduff exits.

LENNOX  Goes the King hence today?

MACBETH  He does. He did appoint so.         60


The night has been unruly. Where we lay,

Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,

Lamentings heard i’ th’ air, strange screams of


And prophesying, with accents terrible,    65

Of dire combustion and confused events

New hatched to th’ woeful time. The obscure bird

Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth

Was feverous and did shake.

MACBETH  ’Twas a rough night.                      70


My young remembrance cannot parallel

A fellow to it.

                                                     Enter Macduff.

MACDUFF  O horror, horror, horror!

Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!

MACBETH AND LENNOX  What’s the matter?             75


Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.

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?        80

LENNOX  Mean you his Majesty?


Approach the chamber and destroy your sight

With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak.

See and then speak yourselves.

                                                                 Macbeth and Lennox exit.

Awake, awake!                                             85

Ring the alarum bell.—Murder 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,          90

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! 95

MACDUFF  O gentle lady,

’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.

The repetition in a woman’s ear

Would murder as it fell.

                               Enter Banquo.

O Banquo, Banquo,                                   100

Our royal master’s murdered.

LADY MACBETH  Woe, alas!

What, in our house?

BANQUO  Too cruel anywhere.—

Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself    105

And say it is not so.


                                     Enter Macbeth, Lennox, and Ross.



Had I but died an hour before this chance,

I had lived a blessèd time; for from this instant

There’s nothing serious in mortality.

All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead.          110

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                                                              115

Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.


Your royal father’s murdered.

MALCOLM  O, by whom?


Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ’t.

Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.                                                             120

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.


O, yet I do repent me of my fury,

That I did kill them.                                      125

MACDUFF  Wherefore did you so?


Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious,

Loyal, and neutral, in a moment? No man.

Th’ expedition of my violent love

Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,                                                          130

His silver skin laced with his golden blood,

And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature

For ruin’s wasteful entrance; there the murderers,

Steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers

Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain                                                  135

That had a heart to love, and in that heart

Courage to make ’s love known?

LADY MACBETH  Help me hence, ho!


Look to the lady.

MALCOLM, aside to Donalbain  Why do we hold our                                                             140


That most may claim this argument for ours?

DONALBAIN, aside to Malcolm

What should be spoken here, where our fate,

Hid in an auger hole, may rush and seize us?

Let’s away. Our tears are not yet brewed.          145

MALCOLM, aside to Donalbain

Nor our strong sorrow upon the foot of motion.

                                                                                                                                                              Lady Macbeth feigns to faint

BANQUO  Look to the lady.

Lady Macbeth is assisted to leave.

And when we have our naked frailties hid,

That suffer in exposure, let us meet

And question this most bloody piece of work 150

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.                                   155

ALL  So all.


Let’s briefly put on manly readiness

And meet i’ th’ hall together.

ALL  Well contented.

All but Malcolm and Donalbain exit.


What will you do? Let’s not consort with them.                                                              160

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office

Which the false man does easy. I’ll to England.


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,                                                         165

The nearer bloody.

MALCOLM  This murderous 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  170

But shift away. There’s warrant in that theft

Which steals itself when there’s no mercy left.

They exit.

Act 2       Scene 4

Enter Ross with an 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


Hath trifled former knowings.                        5

ROSS  Ha, good father,

Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,

Threatens his bloody stage. By th’ clock ’tis day,

And yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp.

Is ’t night’s predominance or the day’s shame                                                               10

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, tow’ring in her pride of place,     15

Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.


And Duncan’s horses (a thing most strange and


Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,

Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,                                                          20

Contending ’gainst obedience, as they would

Make war with mankind.

OLD MAN  ’Tis said they eat each



They did so, to th’ amazement of mine eyes          25

That looked upon ’t.

                                             Enter Macduff.

Here comes the good


How goes the world, sir, now?

MACDUFF  Why, see you not?                         30


Is ’t known who did this more than bloody deed?


Those that Macbeth hath slain.

ROSS  Alas the day,

What good could they pretend?

MACDUFF  They were suborned.                    35

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 will ravin up         40

Thine own lives’ means. Then ’tis most like

The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.


He is already named and gone to Scone

To be invested.

ROSS  Where is Duncan’s body?                     45

MACDUFF  Carried to Colmekill,

The sacred storehouse of his predecessors

And guardian of their bones.

ROSS  Will you to Scone?


No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.                                    50

ROSS  Well, I will thither.


Well, may you see things well done there. Adieu,

Lest our old robes sit easier than our new.

ROSS  Farewell, father.


God’s benison go with you and with those          55

That would make good of bad and friends of foes.                      All exit.

ACT 3               Scene 1

Enter Banquo.



Thou hast it now—king, Cawdor, Glamis, all

As the Weïrd Women promised, and I fear

Thou played’st most foully for ’t. Yet it was said

It should not stand in thy posterity,

But that myself should be the root and father                                                                  5

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.          10


Sennet sounded. Enter Macbeth as King, Lady
Macbeth, Lennox, Ross, Lords, and Attendants.


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.


Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,       15

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.                                                    20

MACBETH  Ride you this afternoon?

BANQUO  Ay, my good lord.


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.                                                       25

Is ’t far you ride?


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.                              30

MACBETH  Fail not our feast.

BANQUO  My lord, I will not.


We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed

In England and in Ireland, not confessing

Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers  35

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?


Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon ’s.      40


I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,

And so I do commend you to their backs.

Farewell.                                      Banquo exits.

Let every man be master of his time

Till seven at night. To make society            45

The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself

Till suppertime alone. While then, God be with you.

Lords and all but Macbeth and a Servant exit.

Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men

Our pleasure?


They are, my lord, without the palace gate.          50


Bring them before us.               Servant exits.

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 feared. ’Tis much he                                                           55


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       60

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 hailed him father to a line of kings.   65

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown

And put a barren scepter in my grip,

Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,

No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,

For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;  70

For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,

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 seeds of Banquo kings.                                                                 75

Rather than so, come fate into the list,

And champion me to th’ utterance.—Who’s there?

Enter Servant and two Murderers.

To the Servant. Now go to the door, and stay there

till we call.                                 Servant exits.

Was it not yesterday we spoke together? 80


It was, so please your Highness.

MACBETH  Well then, now

Have you considered of my speeches? Know

That it was he, in the times past, which held you

So under fortune, which you thought had been 85

Our innocent self. This I made good to you

In our last conference, passed in probation with you

How you were borne in hand, how crossed, the


Who wrought with them, and all things else that  90


To half a soul and to a notion crazed

Say “Thus did Banquo.”

FIRST MURDERER  You made it known to us.


I did so, and went further, which is now    95

Our point of second meeting. Do you find

Your patience so predominant in your nature

That you can let this go? Are you so gospeled

To pray for this good man and for his issue,

Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave                                                               100

And beggared yours forever?

FIRST MURDERER  We are men, my liege.


Ay, in the catalogue you go for men,

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels,

curs,                                                             105

Shoughs, water-rugs, 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                                                             110

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’ th’ worst rank of manhood, say ’t, 115

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.              120

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                  125

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.                130

MURDERERS  True, my lord.


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 135

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,   140

Masking the business from the common eye

For sundry weighty reasons.

SECOND MURDERER  We shall, my lord,

Perform what you command us.

FIRST MURDERER  Though our lives—         145


Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at


I will advise you where to plant yourselves,

Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ th’ time,

The moment on ’t, for ’t must be done tonight                                                            150

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          155

Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate

Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart.

I’ll come to you anon.

MURDERERS  We are resolved, my lord.


I’ll call upon you straight. Abide within.   160

Murderers exit.

It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight,

If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.

He exits.


Act 3       Scene 2

Enter Macbeth’s Lady and a Servant.


LADY MACBETH  Is Banquo gone from court?


Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.


Say to the King I would attend his leisure

For a few words.

SERVANT  Madam, I will.         Servant exits.  5

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.

Enter Macbeth.

How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,          10

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.


We have scorched the snake, not killed it. 15

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


Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep          20

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. 25

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,   30

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  35

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.            40


O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!

Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.


But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.


There’s comfort yet; they are assailable.

Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown                                                                 45

His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons

The shard-born 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?             50


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 55

Which keeps me pale. Light thickens, and the crow

Makes wing to th’ rooky wood.

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,

Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do

rouse.—                                                         60

Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still.

Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.

So prithee go with me.                     They exit.


Act 3     Scene 3

Enter three Murderers.



But who did bid thee join with us?


SECOND MURDERER, to the First Murderer

He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers

Our offices and what we have to do

To the direction just.                                        5

FIRST MURDERER  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.                             10

THIRD MURDERER  Hark, I hear horses.

BANQUO, within  Give us a light there, ho!

SECOND MURDERER  Then ’tis he. The rest

That are within the note of expectation

Already are i’ th’ court.                                  15

FIRST MURDERER  His horses go about.


Almost a mile; but he does usually

(So all men do) from hence to th’ palace gate

Make it their walk.

Enter Banquo and Fleance, with a torch.


SECOND MURDERER  A light, a light!             20


FIRST MURDERER  Stand to ’t.

BANQUO, to Fleance  It will be rain tonight.

FIRST MURDERER  Let it come down!

    The three Murderers attack.



O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!          25

Thou mayst revenge—O slave!

                                                           He dies. Fleance exits.


Who did strike out the light?

FIRST MURDERER  Was ’t not the way?

THIRD MURDERER  There’s but one down. The son is

fled.                                                                30

SECOND MURDERER  We have lost best half of our



Well, let’s away and say how much is done.

                                           They exit.


Act 3     Scene 4

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



You know your own degrees; sit down. At first

And last, the hearty welcome.          They sit.

LORDS  Thanks to your Majesty.


Ourself will mingle with society

And play the humble host.                              5

Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time

We will require her welcome.


Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,

For my heart speaks they are welcome.


Enter First Murderer to the door.


See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks.                                                              10

Both sides are even. Here I’ll sit i’ th’ midst.

Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink a measure

The table round. He approaches the Murderer. There’s

blood upon thy face.

MURDERER  ’Tis Banquo’s then.                     15


’Tis better thee without than he within.

Is he dispatched?


My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.


Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats,

Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.          20

If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.


Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.

MACBETH, aside

Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,

Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,

As broad and general as the casing air.      25

But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in

To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?


Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,

With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,

The least a death to nature.                         30

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 th’ present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow

We’ll hear ourselves again.   Murderer exits.  35

LADY MACBETH  My royal lord,

You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold

That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making,

’Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;

From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;                                                        40

Meeting were bare without it.


Enter the Ghost of Banquo, and sits in Macbeth’s place.


MACBETH, to Lady Macbeth  Sweet remembrancer!—

Now, good digestion wait on appetite

And health on both!

LENNOX  May ’t please your Highness sit.    45


Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,

Were the graced person of our Banquo present,

Who may I rather challenge for unkindness

Than pity for mischance.

ROSS  His absence, sir,                                      50

Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your


To grace us with your royal company?


The table’s full.

LENNOX  Here is a place reserved, sir.           55



Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your



Which of you have done this?

LORDS  What, my good lord?                           60

MACBETH, to the Ghost

Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake

Thy gory locks at me.


Gentlemen, rise. His Highness is not well.


Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus

And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.                                                        65

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. Drawing Macbeth aside.

Are you a man?                                            70


Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that

Which might appall the devil.

LADY MACBETH  O, proper stuff!

This is the very painting of your fear.

This is the air-drawn dagger which you said          75

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,                                                                 80

You look but on a stool.


Prithee, see there. Behold, look! To the Ghost. Lo,

how say you?

Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.—

If charnel houses and our graves must send          85

Those that we bury back, our monuments

Shall be the maws of kites.          Ghost exits.

LADY MACBETH  What, quite unmanned in folly?


If I stand here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH  Fie, for shame!                     90


Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time,

Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;

Ay, and since too, murders have been performed

Too terrible for the ear. The time has been

That, when the brains were out, the man would die,                                                        95

And there an end. But now they rise again

With twenty mortal murders on their crowns

And push us from our stools. This is more strange

Than such a murder is.

LADY MACBETH  My worthy lord,                 100

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                                                        105


Then I’ll sit down.—Give me some wine. Fill full.

Enter Ghost.

I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table

And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.

Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst,                                                              110

And all to all.

LORDS  Our duties, and the pledge.

They raise their drinking cups.

MACBETH, to the Ghost

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   115

Which thou dost glare with.

LADY MACBETH  Think of this, good


But as a thing of custom. ’Tis no other;

Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.    120

MACBETH, to the Ghost  What man dare, I dare.

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. Or be alive again     125

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 mock’ry, hence!                Ghost exits.

Why so, being gone,                                 130

I am a man again.—Pray you sit still.


You have displaced the mirth, broke the good


With most admired disorder.

MACBETH  Can such things be                      135

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          140

When mine is blanched with fear.

ROSS  What sights, my



I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse.

Question enrages him. At once, good night.          145

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.   150

Lords and all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exit.



It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.

Stones have been known to move, and trees to


Augurs and understood relations have

By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought                                                          155


The secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?


Almost at odds with morning, which is which.


How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person

At our great bidding?                                  160

LADY MACBETH  Did you send to him, sir?


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 fee’d. I will tomorrow

(And betimes I will) to the Weïrd Sisters. 165

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

Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o’er.      170

Strange things I have in head that will to hand,

Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.


You lack the season of all natures, sleep.


Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse

Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.   175

We are yet but young in deed.

They exit.


Act 3      Scene 5

Thunder. Enter the three Witches,



Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.


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,                       5

And I, the mistress of your charms,

The close contriver of all harms,

Was never called to bear my part

Or show the glory of our art?

And which is worse, all you have done      10

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                             15

Meet me i’ th’ morning. Thither he

Will come to know his destiny.

Your vessels and your spells provide,

Your charms and everything beside.

I am for th’ air. This night I’ll spend            20

Unto a dismal and a fatal end.

Great business must be wrought ere noon.

Upon the corner of the moon

There hangs a vap’rous drop profound.

I’ll catch it ere it come to ground,               25

And that, distilled 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          30

His hopes ’bove wisdom, grace, and fear.

And you all know, security

Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.

Music and a song.

Hark! I am called. My little spirit, see,

Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me.          Hecate exits.  35

Sing within “Come away, come away,” etc.


Come, let’s make haste. She’ll soon be back again.

They exit.


Act 3    Scene 6

Enter Lennox and another Lord.



My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,

Which can interpret farther. Only I say

Things have been strangely borne. The gracious


Was pitied of Macbeth; marry, he was dead.                                                                   5

And the right valiant Banquo walked too late,

Whom you may say, if ’t please you, Fleance killed,

For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late.

Who cannot want the thought how monstrous

It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain        10

To kill their gracious father? Damnèd 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,  15

For ’twould have angered 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                                                               20


What ’twere to kill a father. So should Fleance.

But peace. For from broad words, and ’cause he


His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear   25

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  30

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                                                               35

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,                                                             40

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?


He did, and with an absolute “Sir, not I,”   45

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 t’ hold what distance                                                            50

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.                                55

LORD  I’ll send my prayers with him.

They exit.

ACT 4       Scene 1

Thunder. Enter the three Witches.



Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed.


Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined.


Harpier cries “’Tis time, ’tis time!”


Round about the cauldron go;

In the poisoned entrails throw.                      5

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweltered venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i’ th’ charmèd pot.

The Witches circle the cauldron.


Double, double toil and trouble;                 10

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


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,                   15

Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


Double, double toil and trouble;                 20

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravined salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digged i’ th’ dark,             25

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat and slips of yew

Slivered in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe                     30

Ditch-delivered by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab.

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron

For th’ ingredience of our cauldron.


Double, double toil and trouble;                 35

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


Cool it with a baboon’s blood.

Then the charm is firm and good.


Enter Hecate to the other three Witches.



O, well done! I commend your pains,

And everyone shall share i’ th’ gains.         40

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,” etc. Hecate exits.


By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.            45

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks.

Enter Macbeth.


How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?

What is ’t you do?

ALL  A deed without a name.                           50


I conjure you by that which you profess

(Howe’er you come to know it), answer me.

Though you untie the winds and let them fight

Against the churches, though the yeasty waves

Confound and swallow navigation up,       55

Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown


Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,

Though palaces and pyramids do slope

Their heads to their foundations, though the    60


Of nature’s germens tumble all together

Even till destruction sicken, answer me

To what I ask you.

FIRST WITCH  Speak.                                          65


THIRD WITCH  We’ll answer.


Say if th’ hadst rather hear it from our mouths

Or from our masters’.

MACBETH  Call ’em. Let me see ’em.             70


Pour in sow’s blood that hath eaten

Her nine farrow; grease that’s sweaten

From the murderers’ gibbet throw

Into the flame.

ALL  Come high or low;                                     75

Thyself and office deftly show.

Thunder. First Apparition, an Armed Head.



Tell me, thou unknown power—

FIRST WITCH  He knows thy


Hear his speech but say thou naught.        80


Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff!

Beware the Thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough.

He descends.


Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks.

Thou hast harped my fear aright. But one word

more—                                                           85


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.


Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn                                                                 90

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.                  He descends.


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,          95

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          100

And top of sovereignty?

ALL  Listen but speak not to ’t.


Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.

Macbeth shall never vanquished be until          105

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? Sweet bodements, good!                                       110

Rebellious dead, 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     115

Can tell so much: shall Banquo’s issue ever

Reign in this kingdom?

ALL  Seek to know no more.


I will be satisfied. Deny me this,

And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know!                                                             120

Cauldron sinks. Hautboys.

Why sinks that cauldron? And what noise is this?





Show his eyes and grieve his heart.          125

Come like shadows; so depart.


A show of eight kings, the eighth king with a glass in
his hand, and Banquo last.



Thou art 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,    130

Why do you show me this?—A fourth? Start, eyes!

What, will the line stretch out to th’ 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   135

That twofold balls and treble scepters carry.

Horrible sight! Now I see ’tis true,

For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me

And points at them for his.

The Apparitions disappear.

What, is this so?                                        140


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               145

While you perform your antic round,

That this great king may kindly say

Our duties did his welcome pay.

Music. The Witches dance and vanish.


Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour

Stand aye accursèd in the calendar!—     150

Come in, without there.

Enter Lennox.

LENNOX  What’s your Grace’s will?


Saw you the Weïrd Sisters?

LENNOX  No, my lord.


Came they not by you?                               155

LENNOX  No, indeed, my lord.


Infected be the air whereon they ride,

And damned all those that trust them! I did hear

The galloping of horse. Who was ’t came by?


’Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word 160

Macduff is fled to England.

MACBETH  Fled to England?

LENNOX  Ay, my good lord.

MACBETH, aside

Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.

The flighty purpose never is o’ertook      165

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:                                                            170

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. No boasting like a fool;

This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.          175

But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen?

Come bring me where they are.

They exit.


Act 4     Scene 2

Enter Macduff’s Wife, her Son, and Ross.



What had he done to make him fly the land?


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.                       5

ROSS  You know not

Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.



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;  10

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     15

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’ th’ season. I dare not speak much          20


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         25

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.                                         30


Fathered he is, and yet he’s fatherless.


I am so much a fool, should I stay longer

It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.

I take my leave at once.                  Ross exits.

LADY MACDUFF  Sirrah, your father’s dead. 35

And what will you do now? How will you live?


As birds do, mother.

LADY MACDUFF  What, with worms and flies?


With what I get, I mean; and so do they.


Poor bird, thou ’dst never fear the net nor lime, 40

The pitfall nor the gin.


Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set


My father is not dead, for all your saying.


Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for a father?                                                              45

SON  Nay, how will you do for a husband?


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’ faith, with wit enough for thee.          50

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?               55

LADY MACDUFF  Every one that does so is a traitor

and must be hanged.

SON  And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

LADY MACDUFF  Every one.

SON  Who must hang them?                           60

LADY MACDUFF  Why, the honest men.

SON  Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there

are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest

men and hang up them.

LADY MACDUFF  Now God help thee, poor monkey! But                                                       65

how wilt thou do for a father?

SON  If he were dead, you’d 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! 70

Enter a 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!                                                                 75

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


I dare abide no longer. Messenger exits.  80

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,          85

Do I put up that womanly defense

To say I have done no harm?

Enter Murderers.

What are these faces?

MURDERER  Where is your husband?


I hope in no place so unsanctified               90

Where such as thou mayst find him.

MURDERER  He’s a traitor.


Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain!

MURDERER  What, you egg?

Stabbing him. Young fry of treachery!       95

SON  He has killed

me, mother.

Run away, I pray you.

Lady Macduff exits, crying “Murder!” followed by the

Murderers bearing the Son’s body.


Act 4  Scene 3

Enter Malcolm and Macduff.



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                                                           5

New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows

Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds

As if it felt with Scotland, and yelled out

Like syllable of dolor.

MALCOLM  What I believe, I’ll wail;                10

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.                                                          15

He hath not touched you yet. I am young, but


You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom

To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb

T’ appease an angry god.                              20


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.                                                          25

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


Yet grace must still look so.                          30

MACDUFF  I have lost my hopes.


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,               35

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,       40

For goodness dare not check thee. Wear thou thy


The title is affeered.—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,                                                                45

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 50

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 55

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?                      60


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, and the poor state

Esteem him as a lamb, being compared    65

With my confineless harms.

MACDUFF  Not in the legions

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned

In evils to top Macbeth.

MALCOLM  I grant him bloody,                       70

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     75

The cistern 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             80

In nature is a tyranny. It hath been

Th’ 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          85

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.                                     90

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; 95

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                                   100

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,          105

With other graces weighed.


But I have none. The king-becoming graces,

As justice, verity, temp’rance, stableness,

Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,

Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,   110

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    115

All unity on earth.

MACDUFF  O Scotland, Scotland!


If such a one be fit to govern, speak.

I am as I have spoken.

MACDUFF  Fit to govern?                               120

No, not to live.—O nation miserable,

With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered,

When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,

Since that the truest issue of thy throne

By his own interdiction stands accursed 125

And does blaspheme his breed?—Thy royal father

Was a most sainted king. The queen that bore thee,

Oft’ner upon her knees than on her feet,

Died every day she lived. Fare thee well.

These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself   130

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, reconciled my thoughts                                                         135

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 overcredulous haste. But God above

Deal between thee and me, for even now          140

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,          145

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    150

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                                                       155

Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you silent?


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?             160


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.                               165

MALCOLM  I thank you, doctor.

Doctor exits.


What’s the disease he means?

MALCOLM  ’Tis called the evil:

A most miraculous work in this good king,

Which often since my here-remain in England                                                          170

I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven

Himself best knows, but strangely visited people

All swoll’n and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,

The mere despair of surgery, he cures,

Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,          175

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          180

That speak him full of grace.

Enter Ross.

MACDUFF  See who comes here.


My countryman, but yet I know him not.


My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.


I know him now.—Good God betimes remove                                                           185

The means that makes us strangers!

ROSS  Sir, amen.


Stands Scotland where it did?

ROSS  Alas, poor country,

Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot     190

Be called our mother, but our grave, where nothing

But who knows nothing is once seen to smile;

Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air

Are made, not marked; where violent sorrow seems

A modern ecstasy. The dead man’s knell 195

Is there scarce asked for who, and good men’s lives

Expire before the flowers in their caps,

Dying or ere they sicken.


O relation too nice and yet too true!

MALCOLM  What’s the newest grief?          200


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?                   205

ROSS  Well too.


The tyrant has not battered at their peace?


No, they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.


Be not a niggard of your speech. How goes ’t?


When I came hither to transport the tidings          210

Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumor

Of many worthy fellows that were out;

Which was to my belief witnessed the rather

For that I saw the tyrant’s power afoot.

Now is the time of help. Your eye in Scotland                                                         215

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;          220

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 howled out in the desert air,          225

Where hearing should not latch them.

MACDUFF  What concern


The general cause, or is it a fee-grief

Due to some single breast?                        230

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.          235


Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,

Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound

That ever yet they heard.

MACDUFF  Hum! I guess at it.


Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes                                                              240

Savagely slaughtered. To relate the manner

Were on the quarry of these murdered deer

To add the death of you.

MALCOLM  Merciful heaven!—

What, man, ne’er pull your hat upon your brows.                                                            245

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak

Whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.

MACDUFF  My children too?


Wife, children, servants, all that could be found.


And I must be from thence? My wife killed too? 250

ROSS  I have said.

MALCOLM  Be comforted.

Let’s make us med’cines of our great revenge

To cure this deadly grief.


He has no children. All my pretty ones?  255

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,                                  260

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,   265

Not for their own demerits, but for mine,

Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now.


Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief

Convert to anger. Blunt not the heart; enrage it.


O, I could play the woman with mine eyes          270

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.                             275

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                                                       280


The night is long that never finds the day.

They exit.

ACT 5        Scene 1

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, I

have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown                                                5

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 while in a most fast


DOCTOR  A great perturbation in nature, to receive at                                                             10

once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of

watching. In this slumb’ry 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                                                         15


DOCTOR  You may to me, and ’tis most meet you


GENTLEWOMAN  Neither to you nor anyone, having no

witness to confirm my speech.                 20


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.          25

DOCTOR  You see her eyes are open.

GENTLEWOMAN  Ay, but their sense are shut.

DOCTOR  What is it she does now? Look how she rubs

her hands.

GENTLEWOMAN  It is an accustomed action with her to                                                           30

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, to satisfy my remembrance the more                                                               35


LADY MACBETH  Out, damned spot, out, I say! One. Two.

Why then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my

lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear

who knows it, when none can call our power to                                                        40

account? Yet who would have thought the old man

to have had so much blood in him?

DOCTOR  Do you mark that?

LADY MACBETH  The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is

she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No                                                      45

more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all

with this starting.

DOCTOR  Go to, go to. You have known what you should


GENTLEWOMAN  She has spoke what she should not,                                                          50

I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has


LADY MACBETH  Here’s the smell of the blood still. All

the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little

hand. O, O, O!                                               55

DOCTOR  What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely


GENTLEWOMAN  I would not have such a heart in my

bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

DOCTOR  Well, well, well.                                 60

GENTLEWOMAN  Pray God it be, sir.

DOCTOR  This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have

known those which have walked in their sleep,

who have died holily in their beds.

LADY MACBETH  Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown.                                                 65

Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s

buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.

DOCTOR  Even so?

LADY MACBETH  To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the

gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your                                                                70

hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to

bed, to bed.                  Lady Macbeth exits.

DOCTOR  Will she go now to bed?



Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds                                                                75

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                                                       80

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.

They exit.


Act 5      Scene 2

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



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.                                5

ANGUS  Near Birnam Wood

Shall we well meet them. That way are they coming.


Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?


For certain, sir, he is not. I have a file

Of all the gentry. There is Siward’s son      10

And many unrough youths that even now

Protest their first of manhood.

MENTEITH  What does the tyrant?


Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.

Some say he’s mad; others that lesser hate him   15

Do call it valiant fury. But for certain

He cannot buckle his distempered cause

Within the belt of rule.

ANGUS  Now does he feel

His secret murders sticking on his hands.  20

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.                                   25

MENTEITH  Who, then, shall blame

His pestered senses to recoil and start

When all that is within him does condemn

Itself for being there?

CAITHNESS  Well, march we on                       30

To give obedience where ’tis truly owed.

Meet we the med’cine 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                     35

To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.

Make we our march towards Birnam.

They exit marching.


Act 5       Scene 3

Enter Macbeth, the Doctor, and Attendants.



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:                                                             5

“Fear not, Macbeth. No man that’s born of woman

Shall e’er have power upon thee.” Then fly, false


And mingle with the English epicures.

The mind I sway by and the heart I bear    10

Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.

Enter 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?                                15

SERVANT  Soldiers, sir.


Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear,

Thou lily-livered boy. What soldiers, patch?

Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thine

Are counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?                                                      20

SERVANT  The English force, so please you.


Take thy face hence.                 Servant exits.

Seyton!—I am sick at heart

When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push

Will cheer me ever or disseat me now.      25

I have lived long enough. My way of life

Is fall’n into the sere, 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 30

Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath

Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare



Enter Seyton.



What’s your gracious pleasure?                  35

MACBETH  What news more?


All is confirmed, my lord, which was reported.


I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked.

Give me my armor.

SEYTON  ’Tis not needed yet.                          40

MACBETH  I’ll put it on.

Send out more horses. Skirr the country round.

Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine


How does your patient, doctor?                  45

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,          50

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain,

And with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?                    55

DOCTOR  Therein the patient

Must minister to himself.


Throw physic to the dogs. I’ll none of it.—

Come, put mine armor on. Give me my staff.

Attendants begin to arm him.

Seyton, send out.—Doctor, the thanes fly from 60


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      65

That should applaud again.—Pull ’t off, I say.—

What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug

Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of



Ay, my good lord. Your royal preparation 70

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,    75

Profit again should hardly draw me here.

They exit.


Act 5       Scene 4

Drum and Colors. Enter Malcolm, Siward, Macduff,
Siward’s son, Menteith, Caithness, Angus, and Soldiers,



Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand

That chambers will be safe.

MENTEITH  We doubt it nothing.



What wood is this before us?

MENTEITH  The Wood of Birnam.                     5


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.

SOLDIER  It shall be done.                                 10


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,          15

Both more and less have given him the revolt,

And none serve with him but constrainèd things

Whose hearts are absent too.

MACDUFF  Let our just censures

Attend the true event, and put we on        20

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,                                                               25

But certain issue strokes must arbitrate;

Towards which, advance the war.

They exit marching.


Act 5      Scene 5

Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, with Drum and



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,                                                      5

We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,

And beat them backward home.

A cry within of women.

What is that noise?


It is the cry of women, my good lord.        He exits.  10


I have almost forgot the taste of fears.

The time has been my senses would have cooled

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 supped full with horrors.                                                            15

Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,

Cannot once start me.

Enter Seyton.

Wherefore was that cry?

SEYTON  The Queen, my lord, is dead.

MACBETH  She should have died hereafter. 20

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  25

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,     30

Signifying nothing.

Enter a Messenger.

Thou com’st 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 ’t.                           35

MACBETH  Well, say, sir.


As I did stand my watch upon the hill,

I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought

The Wood began to move.

MACBETH  Liar and slave!                                40


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 shall thou hang alive   45

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 th’ equivocation of the fiend,

That lies like truth. “Fear not till Birnam Wood                                                                50

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                       55

And wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now


Ring the alarum bell!—Blow wind, come wrack,

At least we’ll die with harness on our back.               They exit.


Act 5       Scene 6

Drum and Colors. Enter Malcolm, Siward, Macduff, and
their army, with boughs.



Now near enough. Your leafy 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, 5

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.


Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,                                                              10

Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.

They exit.

Alarums continued.


Act 5     Scene 7

Enter 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?                5

MACBETH  Thou ’lt be afraid to hear it.


No, though thou call’st thyself a hotter name

Than any is in hell.

MACBETH  My name’s Macbeth.


The devil himself could not pronounce a title   10

More hateful to mine ear.

MACBETH  No, nor more fearful.


Thou liest, abhorrèd tyrant. With my sword

I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.

They fight, and young Siward is slain.

MACBETH  Thou wast born of                         15


But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,

Brandished by man that’s of a woman born.                               He exits.


Alarums. Enter Macduff.



That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!

If thou beest slain, and with no stroke of mine,                                                                 20

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 unbattered edge

I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;                                                     25

By this great clatter, one of greatest note

Seems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune,

And more I beg not.          He exits. Alarums.


Enter Malcolm and Siward.


This way, my lord. The castle’s gently rendered.

The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight,          30

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.                                     35

SIWARD  Enter, sir, the castle.

They exit. Alarum.


Act 5      Scene 8

Enter 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, hellhound, turn!


Of all men else I have avoided thee.             5

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.               Fight. Alarum.  10

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 charmèd life, which must not yield          15

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 ripped.                                             20


Accursèd be that tongue that tells me so,

For it hath cowed my better part of man!

And be these juggling fiends no more believed

That palter with us in a double sense,

That keep the word of promise to our ear 25

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’ th’ time.

We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,

Painted upon a pole, and underwrit           30

“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                                                        35

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 damned be him that first cries “Hold! Enough!”

They exit fighting. Alarums.


They enter fighting, and Macbeth is slain. Macduff
exits carrying off Macbeth’s body. Retreat and flourish.
Enter, with Drum and Colors, Malcolm, Siward, Ross,
Thanes, and Soldiers.



I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.                                                             40


Some must go off; and yet by these I see

So great a day as this is cheaply bought.


Macduff is missing, and your noble son.


Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.

He only lived but till he was a man,            45

The which no sooner had his prowess confirmed

In the unshrinking station where he fought,

But like a man he died.

SIWARD  Then he is dead?


Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow                                                              50

Must not be measured by his worth, for then

It hath no end.

SIWARD  Had he his hurts before?



Ay, on the front.

SIWARD  Why then, God’s soldier be he!      55

Had I as many sons as I have hairs,

I would not wish them to a fairer death;

And so his knell is knolled.


He’s worth more sorrow, and that I’ll spend for

him.                                                                60

SIWARD  He’s worth no more.

They say he parted well and paid his score,

And so, God be with him. Here comes newer


Enter Macduff with Macbeth’s head.



Hail, King! for so thou art. Behold where stands                                                               65

Th’ usurper’s cursèd head. The time is free.

I see thee compassed with thy kingdom’s pearl,

That speak my salutation in their minds,

Whose voices I desire aloud with mine.

Hail, King of Scotland!                                    70

ALL  Hail, King of Scotland!                    Flourish.


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,                                                        75

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,  80

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,  85

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.

Flourish. All exit.

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