Great Buys on the Following Items at

Cameras     Cell Phones and Accessories      Computers      Digital Music      Game Downloads       Jewelry
Kindle E-Readers      Musical Instruments       Men's Clothes       Women's Clothes       Handbags and Shoes


The Complete Text on One Page
With Definitions of Difficult Words and Explanations of Difficult Passages

Compiled and Annotated by Michael J. Cummings

Home Page: Shakespeare Index        The Macbeth Study Guide: Plot Summary, Themes, Analysis

Complete Annotated Text


The following version of Macbeth is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter" and "Exit."

Please note that the character list (dramatis personae) below includes descriptions and comments that did not appear in the original manuscript of the play or in the Oxford edition.


Macbeth: Ambitious army general in Scotland. His hunger for kingly power, fed by a prophecy of three witches, causes him to murder the rightful king, Duncan I of Scotland, and take his place. Macbeth presents a problem for the audience in that he evokes both sympathy and condemnation; he is both hero, in a manner of speaking, and villain. The real-life Macbeth was an eleventh-century Scot who took the throne in 1040 after killing King Duncan I, his cousin, in a battle near Elgin in the Moray district of Scotland. Of his reign, Fitzroy MacLean has written the following: "Macbeth appears, contrary to popular belief, to have been a wise monarch and to have ruled Scotland successfully and well for seventeen prosperous years. In 1050 we hear that he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and there [lavished money to the poor]." (Work cited: MacLean, Fitzroy. A Concise History of Scotland. New York: Beekman House, 1970, page 23.) In 1057, Duncan's oldest son, Malcolm, ended Macbeth's reign by killing him in battle and later assuming the throne as Malcolm III.
Lady Macbeth: Wife of Macbeth, who abets his murder. Her grandfather was a Scottish king who was killed in defense of his throne against the king who immediately preceded King Duncan I. On the surface, she appears ruthless and hardened, but her participation in the murder of Duncan gnaws at her conscience and she goes insane, imagining that she sees the blood of Duncan on her hands.
Duncan I: King of Scotland.
Malcolm, Donalbain: Sons of King Duncan. Malcolm, the older son, is the Prince of Cumberland. He becomes King of Scotland (as Malcolm III) at the end of the play.
Banquo: Army general murdered on Macbeth's orders to prevent Banquo from begetting a line of kings, as predicted by the three witches whom Macbeth and Banquo encounter on a heath. Banquo’s ghost later appears to Macbeth. In Holinshed's Chronicles, the historical work on which Shakespeare based his play, the real-life Banquo is depicted as a conniver who took part in the plot to assassinate King Duncan. Why did Shakespeare portray Banquo as one of Macbeth's innocent victims? Perhaps because James I, the King of England when the play debuted, was a descendant of Banquo. It would not do to suggest that His Royal Majesty's ancestor was a murderer.
Three Witches: Hags who predict Macbeth will become king. Shakespeare refers to the three witches as the weird sisters. Weird is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word wyrd, meaning fate. Thus, the witches appear to represent fate, a force that predetermines destiny. The Greek poet Hesiod (eighth century BC) was the first writer to represent fate as three old women. These three hags were actually goddesses. Clotho was in charge of weaving the fabric of a person's life. Lachesis determined a person's life span and destiny. Atropos cut the threads of the fabric of life when it was time for a person to die. No one—not even the mightiest god—could change the decisions of the Fates. Collectively, the Greeks called them Moirae. Latin speakers referred to them as Parcae. The given name Moira means fate.
Hecate (HEK uh te): Mistress of the witches' charms and queen of Hades. She is the fourth witch in the play.
Macduff: Scottish nobleman and lord of Fife who is known for his wisdom and integrity. He becomes Macbeth's enemy. He and Macbeth cross swords at the end of the play.
Lady Macduff: Wife of Macduff. She is murdered on Macbeth’s orders.
Son of Macduff: One of the Macduff children who are murdered on Macbeth’s orders.
Lennox, Ross, Menteith, Angus, Caithness: Scottish noblemen
Fleance (FLAY ahnce): Son of Banquo.
Siward (SE werd): Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces.
Young Siward: Son of Siward.
Seyton (SE tun): Officer attending Macbeth.
Sweno (SWAY noh or SWE noh). King of Norway during the war against Scotland. Sweno, referred to in Act I, Scene II, has no speaking part in the play. The historical name of Sweno is Svein Knutsson, son of Cnut the Great, or simply Canute, a king of Denmark beginning in 1018. Later he also ruled England, Norway, and parts of Sweden.
English Doctor: He treats the King of England (who does not appear in the play) for an illness while Macduff and Malcolm are at the king’s palace planning the overthrow of Macbeth.
Scottish Doctor: Doctor who attends Lady Macbeth during her descent into madness.
Old Man
Gentle-woman: Lady Macbeth's attendant.
First Apparition: A head with arms. This apparition, conjured by the witches, warns Macbeth to beware of Macduff.
Second Apparition: A bloody child. This apparition, conjured by the witches, tells Macbeth that no one born of woman can kill him.
Third Apparition: A crowned child holding a tree. This apparition, conjured by the witches, tells Macbeth that no one can defeat him until a forest, Birnam Wood, marches against him. Macbeth is heartened, believing it is impossible for a forest to march.
Sinel (SE neel): Macbeth's deceased father. Macbeth refers to him when he says, "By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis" (1.3.75). Glamis was a village in the Tayside region of Scotland.
Minor Characters: Lords, gentlemen, officers, soldiers, murderers, attendants, and messengers.


The protagonist (main character) is Macbeth. In the tragedies of Shakespeare and the playwrights of ancient Greece, the protagonist is usually a royal or a noble who falls to ruin because of a personal flaw such as pride, ambition, or greed.


An antagonist is a person, a force, an emotion, an idea, or another thing that acts in opposition to the protagonist. Sometimes a play has several antagonists. Macduff is the obvious antagonist in Macbeth. He eventually catches on to Macbeth's treachery and vows revenge against him. Other antagonists include psychological and supernatural forces—including Macbeth's conscience and the three witches.

Text of Macbeth

Notes and definitions of archaic or difficult words, as well as difficult passages, appear in boldfaced brackets after the words and passages.
Annotations by Michael J. Cummings
Act 1, Scene 1: A desert place.
Act 1, Scene 2: A camp near Forres.
Act 1, Scene 3: A heath near Forres.
Act 1, Scene 4: Forres. The palace.
Act 1, Scene 5: Inverness. Macbeth's castle.
Act 1, Scene 6: Before Macbeth's castle.
Act 1, Scene 7: A room in Macbeth's castle.

Act 2, Scene 1: Inverness. Court within Macbeth's castle.
Act 2, Scene 2: The same.
Act 2, Scene 3: The same.
Act 2, Scene 4: Outside Macbeth's castle.

Act 3, Scene 1: Forres. The palace.
Act 3, Scene 2: The palace.
Act 3, Scene 3: A park near the palace.
Act 3, Scene 4: The same. A hall in the palace.
Act 3, Scene 5: A Heath.
Act 3, Scene 6: Forres. The palace.

Act 4, Scene 1: A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.
Act 4, Scene 2: Fife. Macduff's castle.
Act 4, Scene 3: England. Before the King's palace.

Act 5, Scene 1: Dunsinane. A room in the castle.
Act 5, Scene 2: The country near Dunsinane.
Act 5, Scene 3: Dunsinane. A room in the castle.
Act 5, Scene 4: Country near Birnam wood.
Act 5, Scene 5: Dunsinane. Within the castle.
Act 5, Scene 6: The Same. A Plain before the Castle.
Act 5, Scene 7: The Same. Another Part of the Plain.

Act 1, Scene 1

A desert heath [open area with shrubs].
Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches.

FIRST WITCH:  When shall we three meet again    
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?       4
SECOND WITCH:  When the hurlyburly’s [hurlyburly: noise and confusion of battle] done,    
When the battle’s lost and won.    
THIRD WITCH: That will be ere the set of sun.    
FIRST WITCH: Where the place?       8
SECOND WITCH: Upon the heath.    
THIRD WITCH: There to meet with Macbeth.    
FIRST WITCH: I come, Graymalkin [name of a cat]!    
SECOND WITCH:  Paddock [toad or frog] calls.      12
THIRD WITCH: Anon [soon].    
ALL: Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
[fair is . . . fair:  Paradoxical foreshadowing indicating that what appears fair to Macbeth will really turn out to be foul.] 
Hover through the fog and filthy air.  [Exeunt.
[Exeunt: Stage direction indicating that all characters leave the stage.]

Act 1, Scene 2

A Camp near Forres. 
Alarum within. Enter KING DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant.
[Alarum within: A trumpet sounds a call to battle. Within means offstage.]
DUNCAN:  What bloody man is that? He can report,   
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt       4
The newest state.   
MALCOLM: This is the sergeant   
Who, like a good and hardy soldier fought   
’Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!       8
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil   
As thou didst leave it.   
Sergeant:  Doubtful it stood;   
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together      12
And choke their art [make it difficult to swim]. The merciless Macdonwald—   
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that   
The multiplying villanies of nature   
Do swarm upon him—from the western isles      16
Of kerns [Irish foot soldiers] and gallowglasses [mounted Irish soldiers wielding axes] is supplied;   
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,   
Show’d like a rebel’s whore: but all’s too weak;   
For brave Macbeth,—well he deserves that name,—      20
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel,   
Which smok’d with bloody execution,   
Like valour’s minion [darling; favorite] carv’d out his passage   
Till he fac’d the slave;      24
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,   
Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps,
[unseamed . . . chaps: Using his sword, Macbeth ripped open Macdonwald from belly to cheeks.] 
And fix’d his head upon our battlements.   
DUNCAN: O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!      28
Sergeant:  As whence the sun ’gins his reflection   
Shipwracking [shipwrecking] storms and direful thunders break,   
So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come   
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark:      32
No sooner justice had with valour arm’d   
Compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels,   
But the Norweyan [Norwegian] lord surveying vantage,
[surveying vantage: Perceiving an advantage.] 
With furbish’d arms and new supplies of men      36
Began a fresh assault.   
DUNCAN: Dismay’d not this   
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?   
Sergeant: Yes;      40
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.   
If I say sooth [If I speak the truth], I must report they were   
As cannons overcharg’d with double cracks;   
So they      44
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:   
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,   
Or memorize another Golgotha, 
[memorize . . . Golgotha: Make the battlefield as memorable as the place where Christ died.]
I cannot tell—      48
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.
DUNCAN:  So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;   
They smack of honour both. Go, get him surgeons.  [Exit. Sergeant, attended.   
Enter ROSS.       52

Who comes here?   
MALCOLM: The worthy Thane of Ross.   
[Thane: Man of elevated rank who held land granted by the king.]
LENNOX:  What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look   
That seems to speak things strange.      56
ROSS: God save the king!   
DUNCAN:  Whence cam’st thou, worthy thane?   
ROSS: From Fife, great king;   
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky      60
And fan our people cold. Norway himself,   
With terrible numbers,   
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,   
The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;      64
Till that Bellona’s bridegroom, lapp’d in proof ,
[Bellona's . . . bridegroom: Macbeth as the bridegroom of the goddess of war.]
[lapp'd in proof: Wearing armor.] 
Confronted him with self-comparisons,   
Point against point, rebellious arm ’gainst arm,   
Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude,      68
The victory fell on us.—   
DUNCAN: Great happiness!   
ROSS:  That now   
Sweno, the Norways’ king, craves composition;      72
Nor would we deign him burial of his men   
Till he disbursed, at Saint Colme’s Inch,
[Saint . . . Inch: Island in the Firth of Forth, the estuary (firth) of the River Forth at Edinburgh, Scotland. The island is named after Saint Columba (Colme).]
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.   
DUNCAN:  No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive      76
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,   
And with his former title greet Macbeth.   
ROSS:  I’ll see it done.   
DUNCAN:  What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.  [Exeunt.      80

Act 1, Scene 3

A Heath. 
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
FIRST WITCH:  Where hast thou been, sister?    
SECOND WITCH:  Killing swine.       4
THIRD WITCH:  Sister, where thou?    
First Witch.  A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,    
And munch’d, and munch’d, and munch’d: ‘Give me,’ quoth I:    
‘Aroint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries.       8
[Aroint thee: Remove yourself; go away; get out of here.]
[ronyon: Ronion, a scabby or mangy creature]
Her husband’s to Aleppo [Syrian city that was once an important link on a caravan route]. gone, master o’ the Tiger:    
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,    
And, like a rat without a tail,    
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.      12
SECOND WITCH:  I’ll give thee a wind.    
FIRST WITCH:  Thou’rt kind.    
THIRD WITCH:  And I another.    
FIRST WITCH:  I myself have all the other;      16
And the very ports they blow [blow into; stop at],    
All the quarters that they know    
I’ the shipman’s card [compass].    
I’ll drain him dry as hay:      20
Sleep shall neither night nor day    
Hang upon his pent-house lid [upper eyelid];    
He shall live a man forbid.    
Weary se’nnights [seven nights, or a week] nine times nine      24
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:    
Though his bark [ship] cannot be lost,    
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.    
Look what I have.      28
SECOND WITCH:  Show me, show me.    
FIRST WITCH:  Here I have a pilot’s thumb [captain's thumb],    
Wrack’d [wrecked] as homeward he did come.  [Drum within.    
THIRD WITCH:  A drum! a drum!      32
Macbeth doth come.    
All.  The weird sisters, hand in hand,    
Posters [riders; travelers] of the sea and land,    
Thus do go about, about:      36
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,    
And thrice again, to make up nine.    
Peace! the charm’s wound up.    
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO.       40

MACBETH:  So foul and fair a day I have not seen.    
BANQUO:  How far is ’t call’d to Forres? What are these,    
So wither’d and so wild in their attire,    
That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ the earth,      44
And yet are on’t? Live you? or are you aught [anything]  
That man may question? You seem to understand me,    
By each at once her choppy finger laying    
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,      48
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret    
That you are so.    
MACBETH: Speak, if you can: what are you?    
FIRST WITCH:  All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!      52
SECOND WITCH:  All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!    
THIRD WITCH:  All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.    
BANQUO:  Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear    
Things that do sound so fair? I’ the name of truth,      56
Are ye fantastical [imaginary], or that indeed    
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner    
You greet with present grace and great prediction    
Of noble having and of royal hope,      60
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.    
If you can look into the seeds of time,    
And say which grain will grow and which will not,    
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear      64
Your favours nor your hate.    
FIRST WITCH:  Hail!    
SECOND WITCH:  Hail!    
THIRD WITCH:  Hail!      68
FIRST WITCH:  Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.    
SECOND WITCH:  Not so happy, yet much happier.    
THIRD WITCH:  Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:    
So, all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!      72
FIRST WITCH:  Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!    
MACBETH:  Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:    
By Sinel’s [Sinel: Macbeth's father] death I know I am Thane of Glamis;    
But how of Cawdor? the Thane of Cawdor lives,      76
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      80
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way    
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.  [Witches vanish.    
BANQUO:  The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,    
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish’d?      84
MACBETH:  Into the air, and what seem’d corporal [corporeal; made of flesh and blood] melted    
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay’d!    
BANQUO:  Were such things here as we do speak about?    
Or have we eaten on the insane root [plant that causes madness when eaten; possibly henbane]     88
That takes the reason prisoner?    
MACBETH:  Your children shall be kings.    
BANQUO: You shall be king.    
MACBETH:  And Thane of Cawdor too; went it not so?      92
BANQUO:  To the self-same tune and words. Who’s here?    
Enter ROSS and ANGUS.
ROSS:  The king hath happily receiv’d, Macbeth,    
The news of thy success; and when he reads      96
Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight,    
His wonders and his praises do contend    
Which should be thine or his. Silenc’d with that,    
In viewing o’er the rest o’ the self-same day,     100
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,    
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,    
Strange images of death. As thick as hail    
Came post with post, and every one did bear     104
Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defence,    
And pour’d them down before him.    
ANGUS: We are sent    
To give thee from our royal master thanks;     108
Only to herald thee into his sight,    
Not pay thee.    
ROSS:  And, for an earnest of a greater honour,    
He bade [asked] me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor:     112
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane!    
For it is thine.    
BANQUO: What! can the devil speak true?    
MACBETH:  The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me     116
In borrow’d robes?    
ANGUS: Who was the thane lives yet;    
But under heavy judgment bears that life    
Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combin’d     120
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel    
With hidden help or vantage [advantage], or that with both    
He labour’d in his country’s wrack [ruin], I know not;    
But treasons capital [capital treasons; major crimes], confess’d and prov’d,     124
Have overthrown him.    
MACBETH:  [Aside.] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor:    
The greatest is behind. [To ROSS and ANGUS.] Thanks for your pains.    
[To BANQUO.] Do you not hope your children shall be kings,     128
When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me    
Promis’d no less to them?    
BANQUO: That, trusted home,    
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,     132
Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange:    
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,    
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,    
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s     136
In deepest consequence.    
Cousins, a word, I pray you.    
MACBETH: [Aside.] Two truths are told,    
As happy prologues [introductions; prefaces] to the swelling act     140
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,     144
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,     148
Against the use of nature? Present fears    
Are less than horrible imaginings;    
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical [imagined],    
Shakes so my single state of man that function     152
Is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is    
But what is not.    
BANQUO: Look, how our partner’s rapt.    
MACBETH:  [Aside.] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,     156
Without my stir.    
BANQUO: New honours come upon him,    
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould    
But with the aid of use.     160
MACBETH: [Aside.] Come what come may,    
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.    
BANQUO:  Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.    
MACBETH:  Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought     164
With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
Are register’d where every day I turn
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.  
[your pains . . . read them: Macbeth thanks Ross and Angus, saying their efforts are registered in his memory. Macbeth compares his memory to a book in which he turns a page (leaf) to "read" about an incident from the past.]
Think upon what hath chanc’d; and, at more time,     168
The interim having weigh’d it, let us speak    
Our free hearts each to other.    
BANQUO: Very gladly.    
MACBETH:  Till then, enough. Come, friends.  [Exeunt.     172

Act 1, Scene 4

Forres. A Room in the Palace.   
Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants.
[Forres: Site of the king's palace, about twenty-five miles from Macbeth's castle at Inverness. Forres is in northeastern Scotland. After William I became King of Scotland in 1165, the castle at Forres served as a sort of hunting lodge for royalty. The real-life Macbeth and Duncan were among those said to have used the castle. Nearby is a curious tourist attraction, the Witches’ Stone, where accused witches were burned.]
[Flourish: Sounding of trumpets to herald the entrance of dignitaries.]
DUNCAN:  Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not    
Those in commission yet return’d?       4
[Those in commission: Persons of high rank summoned to hear the case against an accused person]
MALCOLM: My liege [lord],    
They are not yet come back; but I have spoke    
With one that saw him die; who did report    
That very frankly he confess’d his treasons,       8
Implor’d 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      12
To throw away the dearest thing he ow’d,    
As ’twere a careless trifle.    
DUNCAN: There’s no art    
To find the mind’s construction in the face:      16
He was a gentleman on whom I built    
An absolute trust.    
O worthiest cousin!      20
The sin of my ingratitude even now    
Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before    
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow    
To overtake thee; would thou hadst less deserv’d,      24
That the proportion both of thanks and payment    
Might have been mine! only I have left to say,    
More is thy due than more than all can pay.    
MACBETH:  The service and the loyalty I owe,      28
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      32
Safe toward your love and honour.    
DUNCAN: Welcome hither: I have begun to plant thee, and will labour
To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,      36
[I have . . . growing: King Duncan compares Macbeth to a plant that he will nurture.]
That hast no less deserv’d, nor must be known    
No less to have done so, let me infold thee    
And hold thee to my heart.    
BANQUO: There if I grow,      40
The harvest is your own.    
DUNCAN: My plenteous joys    
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves    
In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,      44
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 honour must      48
Not unaccompanied invest him on,    
But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine    
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,    
And bind us further to you.      52
MACBETH:  The rest is labour, which is not us’d for you:    
[The rest . . . you: Compared with serving you—which is an honor and a pleasure—everything else I do is boring and tedious.]
I’ll be myself the harbinger [one who goes ahead to alert others of the coming of a great person or event], and make joyful    
The hearing of my wife with your approach;    
So, humbly take my leave.      56
DUNCAN: My worthy Cawdor!    
MACBETH:  [Aside.] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step    
On which I must fall down, or else o’er-leap,    
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires!      60
Let not light see my black and deep desires;    
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be    
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.  [Exit.    
DUNCAN:  True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,      64
And in his commendations I am fed;    
It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him,    
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:    
It is a peerless kinsman.  [Flourish. Exeunt.

Act 1, Scene 5

Inverness. MACBETH’S Castle.
Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter.
They met me in the day of success; and I have learned by the perfectest report, they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed me, ‘Thane of Cawdor;’ by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time, with, ‘Hail, king that shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightest 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       4
What thou art promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature;    
It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness    
To catch the nearest way; thou wouldst be great,    
Art not without ambition, but without       8
The illness [desire to do evil] should attend it; what thou wouldst highly,    
That thou wouldst holily; wouldst not play false,    
And yet wouldst wrongly win; thou ’dst have, great Glamis,    
That which cries, ‘Thus thou must do, if thou have it;’      12
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 valour of my tongue      16
All that impedes thee from the golden round,    
Which fate and metaphysical aid [supernatural aid; aid of the witches] doth seem    
To have thee crown’d withal [with].    
Enter a Messenger.       20

What is your tidings?    
MESSENGER:  The king comes here to-night.    
LADY MACBETH: Thou’rt mad to say it.    
Is not thy master with him? who, were’t so,      24
Would have inform’d for preparation.    
MESSENGER:  So please you, it is true: our thane is coming;    
One of my fellows had the speed of him [raced past Macbeth; overtook Macbeth],    
Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more      28
Than would make up his message.    
LADY MACBETH: Give him tending [attention];    
He brings great news.—[Exit Messenger.] The raven himself is hoarse    
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan      32
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,      36
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,    
That no compunctious visitings [pricks of conscience; feelings of guilt; fear of doing wrong] of nature    
Shake my fell [deadly] purpose, nor keep peace between    
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,      40
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,    
Wherever in your sightless substances    
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,    
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,      44
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,    
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,    
To cry, ‘Hold, hold!’    
Enter MACBETH.       48

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      52
The future in the instant.    
MACBETH: My dearest love,    
Duncan comes here to-night.    
LADY MACBETH: And when goes hence?      56
MACBETH:  To-morrow, as he purposes.    
LADY MACBETH: O! never    
Shall sun that morrow see.    
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men      60
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,    
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,    
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,    
But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming      64
Must be provided for; and you shall put    
This night’s great business into my dispatch [my ability to deal with it quickly and effectively];    
Which shall to all our nights and days to come    
Give solely sovereign sway [kingly power] and masterdom.      68
MACBETH:  We will speak further.    
LADY MACBETH: Only look up clear;    
To alter favour [to change your look; to change your resolve] ever is to fear.    
Leave all the rest to me.  [Exeunt.

Act 1, Scene 6

The Same. Before the Castle.
Hautboys and torches. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, BANQUO, LENNOX, MACDUFF, ROSS, ANGUS, and Attendants.
[Hautboys (OH bwah): Musical instruments resembling oboes. In this scene, hautboys are played as the characters enter.]
DUNCAN:  This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air    
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself       4
Unto our gentle senses.    
BANQUO: This guest of summer,    
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve 
[martlet: Martin, a bird that sometimes constructs its nest on a building] 
By his lov’d mansionry that the heaven’s breath       8
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
[no jutty . . . coign of vantage: There is no convenient place, such as a jutty (an outcropping) or coign (a corner) for the bird to construct its nest. Nevertheless, it manages to build one anyway.]   
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:    
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observ’d      12
The air is delicate.    
DUNCAN: See, see, our honour’d hostess!    
The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,      16
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you    
How you shall bid God ’eyld [reward] us for your pains,    
And thank us for your trouble.    
LADY MACBETH: All our service,      20
In every point twice done, and then done double,    
Were poor and single business, to contend    
Against those honours deep and broad wherewith    
Your majesty loads our house: for those of old,      24
And the late dignities heap’d up to them,    
We rest your hermits [holy men who pray for the king].    
DUNCAN: Where’s the Thane of Cawdor?    
We cours’d [followed; chased] him at the heels, and had a purpose      28
To be his purveyor; but he rides well, 
[purveyor: One who rides ahead to prepare a castle or another place for the arrival of royalty] 
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp [helped] him    
To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,    
We are your guest to-night.      32
LADY MACBETH: Your servants ever    
Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt [count; account; reckoning],    
To make their audit at your highness’ pleasure,    
Still to return your own.      36
DUNCAN: Give me your hand;    
Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,    
And shall continue our graces towards him.    
By your leave, hostess.  [Exeunt.

Act 1, Scene 7

The Same. A Room in the Castle.   
Hautboys and torches. Enter, and pass over the stage, a Sewer [server], and divers Servants with dishes and service. Then, enter MACBETH.
[Hautboys (OH bwah): Musical instruments resembling oboes. In this scene, hautboys are played as the characters enter.]
[divers: Various]
MACBETH:  If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well    
It were done quickly; if the assassination       4
Could trammel up [prevent; restrict] the consequence, and catch    
With his surcease [death] success; that but this blow    
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,    
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,       8
We’d jump [jeopardize] 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 the inventor; this even-handed justice      12
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice    
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:    
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,    
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,      16
Who should against his murderer shut the door,    
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan    
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been    
So clear in his great office, that his virtues      20
Will plead like angels trumpet-tongu’d against    
The deep damnation of his taking-off;    
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,    
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin [angels], hors’d [riding]      24
Upon the sightless [unseen] couriers of the air,    
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,    
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur    
To prick the sides of my intent, but only      28
Vaulting ambition, which o’er-leaps itself    
And falls on the other.—    
How now! what news?      32
LADY MACBETH:  He has almost supp’d: why have you left the chamber?    
MACBETH:  Hath he ask’d for me?    
LADY MACBETH: Know you not he has?    
MACBETH:  We will proceed no further in this business:      36
He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought    
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,    
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,    
Not cast aside so soon.      40
LADY MACBETH: Was the hope drunk,    
Wherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since,    
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale    
At what it did so freely? From this time      44
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard    
To be the same in thine own act and valour    
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that    
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,      48
And live a coward in thine own esteem,    
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’    
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?    
MACBETH: Prithee [I pray thee; please], peace.      52
I dare do all that may become a man;    
Who dares do more is none.    
LADY MACBETH: What beast was’t, then,    
That made you break this enterprise to me?      56
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:      60
[Nor time . . . both: Earlier, we did not have a time and place to murder Duncan. But you were ready to plan and execute the deed.]
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now    
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know    
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:    
I would, while it was smiling in my face,      64
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums,    
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you    
Have done to this.    
MACBETH: If we should fail,—      68
LADY MACBETH: We fail!    
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,    
And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep,    
Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey      72
Soundly invite him, his two chamberlains [bodyguards]  
Will I with wine and wassail [drinking toast, such as "to your health"] so convince    
That memory, the warder [guard; doorkeeper; watcher] of the brain,    
Shall be a fume [Lady Macbeth will turn their memories into fumes so that they cannot recall what happened], and the receipt of reason      76
A limbeck [that which distills] only; when in swinish sleep    
Their drenched natures lie, as in a death,    
What cannot you and I perform upon    
The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon [lay blame upon]      80
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt    
Of our great quell [murder of Duncan]?    
MACBETH: Bring forth men-children only;    
For thy undaunted mettle should compose      84
Nothing but males. Will it not be receiv’d,
[Bring forth . . . but males: Give birth only to boys, for your extraordinary resolution and courage deems it so.]  
When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two    
Of his own chamber and us’d their very daggers,    
That they have done’t?      88
LADY MACBETH: Who dares receive it other,    
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar    
Upon his death?    
MACBETH: I am settled, and bend up      92
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.    
[bend up . . . feat: Use every muscle and fiber of my body to carry out this terrible deed.]
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:    
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.  [Exeunt.

Act 2, Scene 1

Inverness. Court within the Castle.
Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, with a Servant bearing a torch before him.
BANQUO:  How goes the night, boy?    
FLEANCE:  The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.       4
BANQUO:  And she goes down at twelve.    
FLEANCE: I take’t, ’tis later, sir.    
BANQUO:  Hold, take my sword. There’s husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.       8
[There's husbandry . . . out: Heaven is thrifty, for it extinguished all the candles (stars).]
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
[A heavy . . . me: I am sleepy.] 
And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers!    
Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature    
Gives way to in repose.      12
Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch.
Give me my sword.—    
Who’s there?    
MACBETH:  A friend.      16
BANQUO:  What, sir! not yet at rest? The king’s a [in] bed:    
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and    
Sent forth great largess to your offices.    
This diamond he greets your wife withal [with],      20
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up    
In measureless content.    
MACBETH: Being unprepar’d,    
Our will became the servant to defect,      24
Which else should free have wrought.    
BANQUO: All’s well.    
I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:    
To you they have show’d some truth.      28
MACBETH: I think not of them:    
Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,    
We would spend it in some words upon that business,    
If you would grant the time.      32
BANQUO: At your kind’st leisure.    
MACBETH:  If you shall cleave to [adhere to; approve] my consent, when ’tis,    
It shall make honour for you.    
BANQUO: So I lose none      36
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchis’d and allegiance clear,
I shall be counsell’d.    
[So I lose . . . counsell'd: As long as I do not lose my honor in seeking to increase it—and as long as I remain a faithful subject—I will do as you suggest.]
MACBETH: Good repose the while!      40
BANQUO:  Thanks, sir: the like to you.  [Exeunt BANQUO and FLEANCE.    
MACBETH:  Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready    
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.  [Exit Servant.    
Is this a dagger which I see before me,      44
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee:    
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.    
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible    
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but      48
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,    
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?    
I see thee yet, in form as palpable    
As this which now I draw.      52
Thou marshall’st me [lead me] the way that I was going;    
And such an instrument I was to use.    
Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses,    
Or else worth all the rest: I see thee still;      56
And on thy blade and dudgeon [handle] gouts [drops; splashes; spurts] of blood,    
Which was not so before. There’s no such thing:    
It is the bloody business which informs    
Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one half-world      60
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse    
The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates    
Pale Hecate’s offerings; and wither’d murder,
[Hecate (HEK uh te): In Greek mythology, protector of witches]   
Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,      64
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,    
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, toward his design    
[Tarquin: Ancient Roman who became infamous for his rape of another man's wife]
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,    
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear      68
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,    
And take the present horror from the time,    
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat he lives:    
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.  [A bell rings.      72
I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.    
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell    
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.  [Exit.    

Act 2, Scene 2

The Same. 
LADY MACBETH:  That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold,    
What hath quench’d them hath given me fire. Hark!       4
Peace! It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman,    
Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it:    
The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms                8
Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg’d their possets, 
[surfeited . . . snores: The well-fed servants who are supposed to watch over the king have fallen asleep.
[possets: Hot drinks of curdled milk and spices]  
That death and nature do contend about them,    
Whether they live or die.    
MACBETH:  [Within.] Who’s there? what, ho!      12
LADY MACBETH:  Alack! [Expression of dismay or alarm] I am afraid they have awak’d,    
And ’tis not done; the attempt and not the deed    
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;    
He could not miss them. Had he not resembled      16
My father as he slept I had done ’t. My husband!    
MACBETH:  I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?    
LADY MACBETH:  I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.      20
Did not you speak?    
MACBETH: When?    
MACBETH: As I descended?      24
MACBETH:  Hark!    
Who lies i’ the second chamber?    
LADY MACBETH: Donalbain.      28
MACBETH:  [Looking on his hands.] This is a sorry sight.    
LADY MACBETH:  A foolish thought to say a sorry sight.    
MACBETH:  There’s one did laugh in ’s sleep, and one cried ‘Murder!’    
That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them;      32
But they did say their prayers, and address’d them    
Again to sleep.    
LADY MACBETH: There are two lodg’d together.    
MACBETH:  One cried ‘God bless us!’ and ‘Amen’ the other:      36
As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.    
Listening their fear, I could not say ‘Amen,’    
When they did say ‘God bless us!’    
LADY MACBETH: Consider it not so deeply.      40
MACBETH:  But wherefore [why] 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      44
After these ways; so, it will make us mad.    
MACBETH:  Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!    
Macbeth does murder sleep,’ the innocent sleep,    
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,      48
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,    
Balm [soothing ointment; salve] of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,    
Chief nourisher in life’s feast,—    
LADY MACBETH: What do you mean?      52
MACBETH:  Still it cried, ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house:    
‘Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor    
Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!’    
LADY MACBETH:  Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,      56
You do unbend your noble strength to think    
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,    
And wash this filthy witness [blood] from your hand.    
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?      60
They must lie there: go carry them, and smear    
The sleepy grooms with blood.    
MACBETH: I’ll go no more:    
I am afraid to think what I have done;      64
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      68
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,    
I’ll gild [smear with blood] the faces of the grooms withal [besides; in addition];    
For it must seem their guilt.  [Exit. Knocking within.    
MACBETH: Whence is that knocking?      72
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?    
What hands are here! Ha! they pluck out mine eyes.    
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood    
[Neptune: In ancient mythology, the Roman name for Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea]
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather      76
The multitudinous seas incarnadine [red],    
Making the green one red.    
LADY MACBETH:  My hands are of your colour, but I shame      80
To wear a heart so white.—[Knocking within.] I hear a knocking    
At the south entry; retire we to our chamber;    
A little water clears us of this deed;    
How easy is it, then! Your constancy      84
Hath left you unattended. [Knocking within.] Hark! more knocking.
[within: Offstage]  
Get on your night-gown, lest occasion call us,    
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost    
So poorly in your thoughts.      88
MACBETH:  To know my deed ’twere best not know myself.  [Knocking within.    
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!  [Exeunt.    

Act 2, Scene 3

The Same. 
Knocking within. Enter a Porter.
PORTER:  Here’s a knocking, indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate he should have old [a lot of] turning the key. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ the name of Beelzebub [the devil]? Here’s a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty [a farmer who hanged himself when an expected bounty of profits did not materialize]: come in time; have napkins enough about you; here you’ll sweat for ’t. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who’s there i’ the other devil’s name! Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale [equivocator . . . scale: One who distorts the truth, telling one version to suit his purpose and then telling another version later that refutes the first version]; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O! come in, equivocator. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there? Faith, here’s an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose: come in, tailor; here you may roast your goose. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock; never at quiet! What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some of all professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire. [Knocking within.] Anon, anon! [Soon, soon!] I pray you, remember the porter.  [Opens the gate.    

Enter MACDUFF and LENNOX.        4

MACDUFF:  Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,    
That you do lie so late?    
PORTER: Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock [middle of the night]; and drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.    
MACDUFF:  What three things does drink especially provoke?       8
PORTER:  Marry [by the Blessed Virgin Mary], sir, nose-painting [causing the end of the nose to turn red], sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes 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 stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.    
MACDUFF:  I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.    
PORTER: That it did, sir, i’ the very throat o’ me: but I requited [repaid] 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?      12
Our knocking has awak’d him; here he comes.    
LENNOX:  Good morrow [morning], noble sir.    
MACBETH: Good morrow, both.      16
MACDUFF:  Is the king stirring, worthy thane?    
MACBETH: Not yet.    
MACDUFF:  He did command me to call timely on him:    
I have almost slipp’d the hour.      20
MACBETH: I’ll bring you to him.    
MACDUFF:  I know this is a joyful trouble to you;    
But yet ’tis one.    
MACBETH:  The labour we delight in physics pain.      24
[The labour . . . pain: The labor we delight in causes pain.]
This is the door.    
MACDUFF: I’ll make so bold to call,    
For ’tis my limited service.  [Exit.    
LENNOX:  Goes the king hence to-day?      28
MACBETH: He does: he did appoint so.    
LENNOX:  The night has been unruly: where we lay,    
Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,    
Lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death,      32
And prophesying with accents terrible    
Of dire combustion and confus’d events    
New hatch’d to the woeful time. The obscure bird    
Clamour’d the livelong night: some say the earth      36
Was feverous and did shake.    
MACBETH: ’Twas a rough night.    
LENNOX:  My young remembrance cannot parallel    
A fellow to it.      40
MACDUFF:  O horror! horror! horror! Tongue nor heart    
Cannot conceive nor name thee!    
MACBETH & LENNOX:  What’s the matter?      44
MACDUFF:  Confusion now hath made his master-piece!    
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope    
The Lord’s anointed temple [Duncan's body], and stole thence    
The life o’ the building [Duncan's body]!      48
MACBETH:  What is ’t you say? the life?    
LENNOX:  Mean you his majesty?    
MACDUFF:  Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight    
With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak;      52
[Gorgon: In Greek mythology, any of three sisters with snakes growing from their heads instead of hair. So terrifying was their appearance that it turned onlookers into stone.]
See, and then speak yourselves.  [Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX.    
Awake! awake!    
Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!    
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake!      56
Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit [sleep imitates death],    
And look on death itself! up, up, and see    
The great doom’s image! Malcolm! Banquo!    
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,      60
To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.  [Bell rings.    
LADY MACBETH:  What’s the business,    
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley      64
The sleepers of the house? speak, speak!    
MACDUFF: O gentle lady!    
’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak;    
The repetition in a woman’s ear      68
Would murder as it fell.    
O Banquo! Banquo!    
Our royal master’s murder’d!      72
LADY MACBETH: Woe, alas!    
What! in our house?    
BANQUO: Too cruel any where.    
Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,      76
And say it is not so.    
MACBETH:  Had I but died an hour before this chance    
I had liv’d a blessed time; for, from this instant,      80
There’s nothing serious in mortality,    
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,    
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees [sediment; dregs]
Is left this vault to brag of.      84
DONALBAIN:  What is amiss?    
MACBETH: You are, and do not know ’t:    
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood      88
Is stopp’d; the very source of it is stopp’d.    
MACDUFF:  Your royal father’s murder’d.    
MALCOLM: O! by whom?    
LENNOX:  Those of his chamber, as it seem’d, had done ’t:      92
Their hands and faces were all badg’d [stained; smeared] with blood;    
So were their daggers, which unwip’d we found    
Upon their pillows: they star’d, and were distracted; no man’s life    
Was to be trusted with them.      96
MACBETH:  O! yet I do repent me of my fury,    
That I did kill them.  
[I do repent . . . them: Macbeth says he killed the servants out of rage after he discovered that they murdered Duncan.] 
MACDUFF: Wherefore [why] did you so?    
MACBETH:  Who can be wise, amaz’d, temperate and furious,     100
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:    
The expedition of my violent love    
Outran the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,    
His silver skin lac’d with his golden blood;     104
And his gash’d stabs look’d like a breach in nature    
For ruin’s wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,    
Steep’d in the colours of their trade, their dagger   
Unmannerly breech’d with gore: who could refrain,     108
That had a heart to love, and in that heart    
Courage to make’s love known?    
LADY MACBETH: Help me hence, ho!    
MACDUFF:  Look to the lady.     112
MALCOLM:  [Aside to DONALBAIN.] Why do we hold our tongues,    
That most may claim this argument for ours?   
DONALBAIN:  [Aside to MALCOLM.] What should be spoken    
Here where our fate, hid in an auger-hole,     116
May rush and seize us? Let’s away: our tears    
Are not yet brew’d.    
[Why do we . . . brew'd: Malcolm and Donalbain whisper their concerns to each other. Malcolm asks why they are not speaking out about the murder of their father. Donalbain, suspecting foul play, says they should not say anything but instead run away.]
MALCOLM:  [Aside to DONALBAIN.] Nor our strong sorrow    
Upon the foot of motion.     120
[Upon . . . motion: They have not even had time to express their sorrow—that is, to put it in motion.]
BANQUO: Look to the lady:  [LADY MACBETH is carried out.    
And when we have our naked frailties hid,    
That suffer in exposure, let us meet, 
[we have our naked . . . meet: Banquo and others have not yet had time to dress.]  
And question this most bloody piece of work,     124
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us:    
In the great hand of God I stand, and thence    
Against the undivulg’d pretence I fight 
[undivulg'd pretence: Undisclosed reason for the murder] 
Of treasonous malice.     128
MACDUFF: And so do I.    
ALL:  So all.   
MACBETH:  Let’s briefly put on manly readiness,    
And meet i’ the hall together.     132
ALL:  Well contented.  [Exeunt all but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN.    
MALCOLM:  What will you do? Let’s not consort with them:    
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office    
Which the false man does easy. I’ll to England.     136
DONALBAIN:  To Ireland, I; our separated fortune    
Shall keep us both the safer: where we are,    
There’s daggers in men’s smiles: the near in blood,    
The nearer bloody.     140
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,     144
But shift away: there’s warrant in that theft    
Which steals itself when there’s no mercy left.  [Exeunt.    

Act 2, Scene 4

The Same. Without [Outside] the Castle.   
Enter ROSS and an Old Man.
OLD MAN:  Threescore and ten [seventy] I can remember well;    
Within the volume of which time I have seen       4
Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore night    
Hath trifled [made unimpressive or insignificant] former knowings [knowledge and impressions of previous events].    
ROSS: Ah! good father,    
Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,       8
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock ’tis day,    
And yet darknight strangles the travelling lamp [sun].    
Is ’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame,    
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,      12
When living light should kiss it?    
OLD MAN:  ’Tis unnatural,    
Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,    
A falcon, towering in her pride of place,      16
Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at and kill’d.    
ROSS:  And Duncan’s horses,—a thing most strange and certain,—    
Beauteous and swift, the minions [favorites] of their race,    
Turn’d 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 other.    
ROSS:  They did so; to the amazement of mine eyes,      24
That look’d upon ’t. Here comes the good Macduff.    
How goes the world, sir, now?    
MACDUFF: Why, see you not?      28
ROSS:  Is ’t known who did this more than bloody deed?    
MACDUFF:  Those that Macbeth hath slain.    
ROSS: Alas, the day!    
What good could they pretend?      32
MACDUFF: They were suborn’d [incited; hired].    
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons,    
Are stol’n away and fled, which puts upon them    
Suspicion of the deed.      36
ROSS: ’Gainst nature still!    
Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up    
Thine own life’s means! Then ’tis most like    
The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.      40
MACDUFF:  He is already nam’d, and gone to Scone [town where Scottish coronations were held]   
To be invested.    
ROSS: Where is Duncan’s body?    
MACDUFF:  Carried to Colmekill [burial site for Scottish kings];      44
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors    
And guardian of their bones.    
ROSS: Will you to Scone?    
MACDUFF:  No, cousin, I’ll to Fife.      48
ROSS: Well, I will thither.    
MACDUFF:  Well, may you see things well done there: adieu [good-bye]!    
Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!    
ROSS:  Farewell, father.      52
OLD MAN:  God’s benison [blessing] go with you; and with those    
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!  [Exeunt.  

Act 3, Scene 1

Forres. A Room in the Palace.   
BANQUO: Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all,    
As the weird women promis’d; and, I fear,       4
Thou play’dst most foully for ’t; yet it was said    
It should not stand in thy posterity,    
But that myself should be the root and father    
Of many kings. If there come truth from them,—       8
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.      12
[May they . . . hope?: Might not the witches' predictions concerning me also be right?]
Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king; LADY MACBETH, as queen; LENNOX, ROSS, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants.
[Sennet: Sounding of trumpets upon the entrance or exit of royalty]
MACBETH:  Here’s our chief guest.    
LADY MACBETH: If he had been forgotten    
It had been as a gap in our great feast,      16
And all-thing unbecoming.    
MACBETH:  To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir,    
And I’ll request your presence.    
BANQUO: Let your highness      20
Command upon me; to the which my duties    
Are with a most indissoluble tie    
For ever knit.    
MACBETH:  Ride you this afternoon?      24
BANQUO:  Ay, my good lord.    
MACBETH:  We should have else desir’d your good advice—    
Which still hath been both grave and prosperous—    
In this day’s council; but we’ll take to-morrow.      28
Is’t far you ride?    
BANQUO:  As far, my lord, as will fill up the time    
’Twixt this and supper; go not my horse the better, 
[go not . . . better: If my horse does not go fast enough] 
I must become a borrower of the night      32
For a dark hour or twain [two].    
MACBETH: Fail not our feast.    
BANQUO:  My lord, I will not.    
MACBETH:  We hear our bloody cousins are bestow’d      36
In England and in Ireland, not confessing    
Their cruel parricide [the murder of a parent], filling their hearers    
With strange invention [lies]; but of that to-morrow,    
When therewithal we shall have cause of state      40
Craving us jointly. Hie [go] you to horse; adieu [farewell]  
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?    
BANQUO:  Ay, my good lord: our time does call upon ’s.    
MACBETH:  I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;      44
And so I do commend you to their backs.    
Farewell.  [Exit BANQUO.    
Let every man be master of his time    
Till seven at night; to make society      48
The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself    
Till supper-time alone; while then, God be with you!  [Exeunt all but MACBETH and an Attendant.    
Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men    
Our pleasure?      52
ATTENDANT:  They are, my lord, without the palace gate.    
MACBETH:  Bring them before us. [Exit Attendant.] To be thus is nothing;    
But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo    
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature      56
Reigns that which would be fear’d: ’tis much he dares,    
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,    
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour    
To act in safety. There is none but he      60
Whose being I do fear; and under him    
My genius is rebuk’d, as it is said    
Mark Antony’s was by Caesar [Julius Caesar, the ancient Roman general and dictator] . He chid the sisters [reprimanded the witches]   
When first they put the name of king upon me,      64
And bade them speak to him; then, prophet-like,    
They hail’d him father to a line of kings.    
Upon my head they plac’d a fruitless crown,    
And put a barren sceptre [staff that symbolizes a king's authority] in my gripe [grasp],      68
Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand, 
[Thence . . . hand: The witches prophesied that Macbeth's offspring would not inherit his crown. Instead, the crown would go to the son of a man (Banquo) who is not in the line of royal succession (unlineal)].
No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,    
For Banquo’s issue [offspring] have I fil’d my mind;    
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;      72
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace    
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel [soul]  
Given to the common enemy of man,    
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!      76
Rather than so, come fate into the list,    
And champion me to the utterance! Who’s there?    
Re-Enter Attendant, with two Murderers.
Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.  [Exit Attendant.      80
Was it not yesterday we spoke together?    
FIRST MURDERER:  It was, so please your highness.    
MACBETH: Well then, now    
Have you consider’d of my speeches? Know      84
That it was he in the times past which held you
So under fortune, which you thought had been    
[it was . . . fortune: It was Banquo who caused your ill fortune.]
Our innocent self. This I made good to you    
In our last conference, pass’d in probation with you,      88
How you were borne in hand, how cross’d, the instruments,    
Who wrought with them, and all things else that might    
To half a soul and to a notion craz’d    
Say, ‘Thus did Banquo.’      92
FIRST MURDERER:  You made it known to us.    
MACBETH:  I did so; and went further, which is now    
Our point of second meeting. Do you find    
Your patience so predominant in your nature      96
That you can let this go? Are you so gospell’d    
To pray for this good man and for his issue,    
Whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the grave    
And beggar’d yours for ever?     100
FIRST MURDERER:  We are men, my liege.    
MACBETH:  Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;    
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,    
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves, are clept     104
[Shoughs . . . demi-wolves: Types of dogs. Shoughs: shaggy or woolly dogs; water-rugs: dogs that take to the water; demi-wolves: dogs that are part wolf.]
[clept: known; called]
All by the name of dogs: the valu’d file    
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,    
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one    
According to the gift which bounteous nature     108
Hath in him clos’d; whereby he does receive    
Particular addition, from the bill [classification]  
That writes them all alike: and so of men.    
Now, if you have a station in the file,     112
Not i’ the worst rank of manhood, say it;    
And I will put that business in your bosoms,    
Whose execution takes your enemy off,    
Grapples you to the heart and love of us,     116
Who wear our health but sickly in his life,    
Which in his death were perfect.    
SECOND MURDERER:  I am one, my liege [lord],    
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world     120
Have so incens’d that I am reckless what    
I do to spite the world.    
FIRST MURDERER:  And I another,    
So weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune,     124
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.     128
SECOND MURDERER:  True, my lord.    
MACBETH:  So is he mine; and in such bloody distance    
That every minute of his being thrusts    
Against my near’st of life: and though I could     132
With bare-fac’d power sweep him from my sight    
And bid my will avouch [affirm; avow] it, yet I must not,    
For certain friends that are both his and mine,    
Whose loves I may not drop [jeopardize], but wail his fall     136
Whom I myself struck down; and thence it is    
That I to your assistance do make love,  
[That I . . . love: That I ask for your help]
Masking the business from the common eye    
For sundry [various] weighty reasons.     140
SECOND MURDERER: We shall, my lord,    
Perform what you command us.    
FIRST MURDERER: Though our lives—    
MACBETH:  Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most     144
I will advise you where to plant yourselves,    
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ the time,    
The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done to-night,    
And something from the palace; always thought     148
That I require a clearness [freedom from suspicion]: and with him—    
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—  
[no rubs . . . botches: No mistakes; no evidence implicating Macbeth]
Fleance his son, that keeps him company,    
Whose absence is no less material to me     152
Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate [must also die]  
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart;    
I’ll come to you anon.    
SECOND MURDERER:  We are resolv’d, my lord.     156
MACBETH:  I’ll call upon you straight: abide within.  [Exeunt Murderers.    
It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul’s flight,    
If it find heaven, must find it out to-night.  [Exit.

Act 3, Scene 2

The Same. Another Room in the Palace.   
Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant.
LADY MACBETH:  Is Banquo gone from court?    
SERVANT:  Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.       4
LADY MACBETH:  Say to the king, I would attend his leisure    
For a few words.    
SERVANT:  Madam, I will.  [Exit.    
LADY MACBETH: Nought’s had, all’s spent,       8
Where our desire is got without content: ’Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. 
['Tis safer . . . joy: Lady Macbeth says it is better to be the thing destroyed than the destroyer. Apparently, her conscience is beginning to unnerve her.] 
Enter MACBETH.       12

How now, my lord! why do you keep alone,    
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,    
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died    
With them they think on? Things without all remedy      16
Should be without regard: what’s done is done.    
MACBETH:  We have scotch’d [injured; wounded] the snake, not kill’d it:    
She’ll close [recover] and be herself, whilst our poor malice    
Remains in danger of her former tooth [fangs of a snake].      20
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
[But let . . . fear: But we should not let the situation bother us to the point that we must eat our meals in fear.]   
In the affliction of these terrible dreams    
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,      24
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,    
Than on the torture of the mind to lie    
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;    
After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well;      28
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,    
Malice domestic, foreign levy [troops], nothing    
Can touch him further.    
LADY MACBETH: Come on;      32
Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks;    
[sleek o'er: Smooth over; get rid of]
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.    
MACBETH:  So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you.    
Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;      36
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:    
Unsafe the while, that we    
Must lave [wash] our honours in these flattering streams,    
And make our faces vizards [masks that hide what is felt in the heart] to our hearts,      40
Disguising what they are.    
LADY MACBETH: You must leave this.    
MACBETH:  O! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife;    
Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.      44
LADY MACBETH:  But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne. 
[But in . . . eterne: But they will not live forever.]  
MACBETH:  There’s comfort yet; they are assailable;    
Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown    
His cloister’d [secretive; hidden] flight, ere, to black Hecate’s summons      48
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums    
[shard . . . beetle: The outer wings of beetles are called shards. Shard-borne means airborne by these wings.]
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done    
A deed of dreadful note.    
LADY MACBETH: What’s to be done?      52
MACBETH:  Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck [endearing and/or attractive woman],    
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
[seeling: Falconry term meaning to sew together the lids of a falcon. Seeling is used figuratively here.]    
Scarf up [seal up; blindfold] the tender eye of pitiful day,    
And with thy bloody and invisible hand      56
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond    
Which keeps me pale! Light thickens, and the crow    
Makes wing to the rooky wood;
[rooky: Full of crow-like birds; darkness, as suggested by the appearance of a crow]  
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,      60
Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.    
Thou marvell’st at my words: but hold thee still;    
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill:    
So, prithee [I pray thee], go with me.  [Exeunt.      64

Act 3, Scene 3

The Same. A Park, with a Road leading to the Palace.
Enter three Murderers.
FIRST MURDERER:  But who did bid thee join with us?    
THIRD MURDERER: Macbeth.       4
SECOND MURDERER:  He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers    
Our offices and what we have to do 
[delivers . . . office: Gives us orders]  
To the direction just [right; correct].    
FIRST MURDERER: Then stand with us.       8
The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:    
Now spurs the lated traveller apace    
To gain the timely inn; and near approaches    
The subject of our watch.      12
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      16
Already are i’ the court.   
[The rest . . . court: The other guests are already in the palace.]
FIRST MURDERER: His horses go about.    
THIRD MURDERER:  Almost a mile; but he does usually,    
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate      20
Make it their walk.    
SECOND MURDERER: A light, a light!    
THIRD MURDERER: ’Tis he.    
FIRST MURDERER:  Stand to ’t.      24
Enter BANQUO and FLEANCE, with a torch.
BANQUO:  It will be rain to-night.    
FIRST MURDERER: Let it come down.  [They set upon BANQUO.    
BANQUO:  O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!      28
Thou mayst revenge. O slave!  [Dies. FLEANCE escapes.    
THIRD MURDERER:  Who did strike out the light?    
FIRST MURDERER: Was ’t not the way?    
THIRD MURDERER:  There’s but one down; the son is fled.      32
SECOND MURDERER: We have lost    
Best half of our affair.    
FIRST MURDERER:  Well, let’s away, and say how much is done.  [Exeunt.    

Act 3, Scene 4

The Same. A Room of State in the Palace.  
A Banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants.
MACBETH:  You know your own degrees [ranks of nobility]; sit down: at first and last,   
The hearty welcome.       4
LORDS: Thanks to your majesty.   
MACBETH:  Ourself will mingle with society   
And play the humble host.   
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time       8
We will require her welcome.   
LADY MACBETH:  Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends;   
For my heart speaks they are welcome.   
Enter First Murderer, to the door.       12

MACBETH:  See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks;   
Both sides are even: here I’ll sit i’ the midst:   
Be large in mirth; anon, we’ll drink a measure   
The table round. [Approaching the door.] There’s blood upon thy face.      16
MURDERER:  ’Tis Banquo’s, then.   
MACBETH:  ’Tis better thee without than he within.   
Is he dispatch’d?   
MURDERER:  My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.      20
MACBETH:  Thou art the best o’ the cut-throats; yet he’s good   
That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,   
Thou art the nonpareil [one who is without equal].   
MURDERER:  Most royal sir,      24
Fleance is ’scap’d.   
MACBETH:  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 [surrounding air]:    28
But now I am cabin’d, cribb’d, confin’d, bound in   
To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo’s safe?   
MURDERER:  Ay, my good lord; safe in a ditch he bides,   
With twenty trenched gashes on his head;      32
The least a death to nature.   
MACBETH: Thanks for that.   
There the grown serpent [Banquo] lies: the worm that’s fled [Fleance]  
Hath nature that in time will venom breed,      36
No teeth for the present. Get thee gone; to-morrow 
[Hath nature . . . present: Fleance has no teeth to inject venom. But, in time, he will develop teeth and venom.]
We’ll hear ourselves again.  [Exit Murderer.   
LADY MACBETH: My royal lord,   
You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold    40
That is not often vouch’d, while ’tis a-making,
’Tis given with welcome: to feed were best at home;
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.      44
[the feast is . . . without it: The feast is a failure if the host does not make the guests feel welcome. They would be better off eating at home. Away from home, they should receive the host's attention, which is like gravy on meat.]
MACBETH: Sweet remembrancer!   
Now good digestion wait on appetite,   
And health on both!   
LENNOX: May it please your highness sit?  [The Ghost of BANQUO enters, and sits in MACBETH’S place.      48
MACBETH:  Here had we now our country’s honour roof’d,   
Were the grac’d person of our Banquo present;
[Here had . . . present: If Banquo were present, we would have all the men of honor in our country under one roof.]  
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness   
Than pity for mischance!      52
ROSS: His absence, sir,   
Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your highness   
To grace us with your royal company.   
MACBETH:  The table’s full.      56
LENNOX: Here is a place reserv’d, sir.   
MACBETH:  Where?   
LENNOX:  Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your highness?   
MACBETH:  Which of you have done this?      60
LORDS:  What, my good lord?   
MACBETH:  Thou canst not say I did it: never shake   
Thy gory locks at me.   
ROSS:  Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well.      64
LADY MACBETH:  Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus,   
And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat;   
The fit is momentary; upon a thought   
He will again be well. If much you note him      68
You shall offend him and extend his passion:  
[If much . . . passion: If you stare at him, you will offend him and make his fit last longer.]
Feed and regard him not. Are you a man?   
MACBETH:  Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that   
Which might appal the devil.      72
LADY MACBETH: O proper stuff!   
This is the very painting of your fear;   
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,   
Led you to Duncan. O! these flaws and starts—      76
Impostors to true fear—would well become   
A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,   
Authoriz’d by her grandam. Shame itself!   
Why do you make such faces? When all’s done      80
You look but on a stool.   
MACBETH:  Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo! how say you?   
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.   
If charnel-houses and our graves must send      84
[charnel-houses: Places where the bodies of the dead are kept before burial]
Those that we bury back, our monuments   
Shall be the maws [mouth, jaws, or stomach] of kites.  [Ghost disappears:  LADY MACBETH:  What! quite unmann’d in folly?   
MACBETH:  If I stand here, I saw him.      88
LADY MACBETH: Fie, for shame!   
MACBETH:  Blood hath been shed ere [before] now, i’ the olden time,   
Ere human statute purg’d the gentle weal;
[ere . . . weal: Before the enactment of laws regulating human conduct]  
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform’d      92
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,   
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,   
And there an end; but now they rise again,   
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,      96
[With . . . crowns: The murderers struck Banquo twenty times on the head.]
And push us from our stools: this is more strange   
Than such a murder is.   
LADY MACBETH: My worthy lord,   
Your noble friends do lack you.     100
MACBETH: I do forget.   
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends;   
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing   
To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;     104
Then, I’ll sit down. Give me some wine; fill full.   
I drink to the general joy of the whole table,   
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;   
Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,     108
And all to all.   
LORDS: Our duties, and the pledge.   

Re-Enter Ghost.
MACBETH:  Avaunt! [Go away. Leave. Get out of here.] and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!     112
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;   
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes   
Which thou dost glare with.   
LADY MACBETH: Think of this, good peers,     116
But as a thing of custom: ’tis no other;   
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.   
MACBETH:  What man dare, I dare:   
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,     120
The arm’d [thick-skinned] rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger; 
[Hyrcan tiger: Tiger native to Hyrcania, in present-day northern Iran]
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves   
Shall never tremble: or be alive again,   
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;     124
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me   
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!   
[If trembling . . . girl: If I exhibit fear, call me a baby.]
Unreal mockery, hence!  [Ghost vanishes.   
Why, so; being gone,     128
I am a man again. Pray you, sit still.   
LADY MACBETH:  You have displac’d [spoiled; ruined] the mirth, broke the good meeting,   
With most admir’d disorder.   
MACBETH: Can such things be     132
And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,   
Without our special wonder [amazement]? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe,
When now I think you can behold such sights,     136
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,   
[You make . . . cheeks: It baffles me how you can behold such sights so calmly.]
When mine are blanch’d [pale; whitened] with fear.   
ROSS: What sights, my lord?   
LADY MACBETH:  I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;     140
Question enrages him. At once, good-night:   
Stand not upon the order of your going,   
But go at once.   
LENNOX: Good-night; and better health     144
Attend his majesty!   
LADY MACBETH: A kind good-night to all!  [Exeunt Lords and Attendants.   
MACBETH: It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood:   
[It will . . . blood: The ghost will seek bloody revenge.]
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;     148
Augurs and understood relations have
[Augurs . . . relations: Omens and their meanings]  
By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth   
[maggot-pies: Magpies, birds with black and white feathers]
[choughs: Birds with black feathers and red legs; they resemble crows]
[rooks: Birds resembling crows]
The secret’st man of blood. What is the night?   
LADY MACBETH:  Almost at odds with morning, which is which.     152
MACBETH:  How sayst thou, that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?   
[How sayst . . . bidding: Why didn't Macduff come to our banquet?]
LADY MACBETH: Did you send to him, sir?   
MACBETH:  I hear it by the way; but I will send.     156
There’s not a one of them but in his house   
I keep a servant fee’d [paid]. I will to-morrow—   
And betimes [soon] I will—to the weird sisters [the witches]:   
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,     160
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good   
All causes shall give way: I am in blood   
Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,   
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.     164
Strange things I have in head that will to hand,   
Which must be acted ere they may be scann’d [analyzed].   
LADY MACBETH:  You lack the season of all natures, sleep.   
MACBETH:  Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:   
[My strange . . . use: My problems stem from the fact that I am new at committing murder. "Hard use"—that is, further experience—in this regard will make me less sensitive.]
We are yet but young in deed.  [Exeunt.

Act 3, Scene 5

A Heath.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches, meeting HECATE.
FIRST WITCH:  Why, how now, Hecate! [In Greek mythology, the protector of witches] You look angerly [angry].   
HECATE:  Have I not reason, beldams [ugly old women] as you are,       4
Saucy and overbold? How did you dare   
To trade and traffic with Macbeth   
In riddles and affairs of death;   
And I, the mistress of your charms,       8
The close contriver of all harms,   
Was never call’d to bear my part,   
Or show the glory of our art?   
And, which is worse, all you have done      12
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,      16
And at the pit of Acheron [In Greek mythology, one of five rivers in hell (Hades)] 
Meet me i’ the morning: thither he   
Will come to know his destiny:   
Your vessels and your spells provide,      20
Your charms and every thing beside.   
I am for the air; this night I’ll spend   
Unto a dismal and a fatal end:   
Great business must be wrought ere [conducted before] noon:      24
Upon the corner of the moon   
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;   
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground:   
And that distill’d by magic sleights      28
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      32
His hopes ’bove [above] wisdom, grace, and fear;   
And you all know security   
Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.  [Song within, ‘Come away, come away,’ &c.   
Hark! I am call’d; my little spirit, see,      36
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.  [Exit.   
FIRST WITCH:  Come, let’s make haste; she’ll soon be back again.  [Exeunt.

Act 3, Scene 6

Forres. A Room in the Palace. 
Enter LENNOX and another Lord.
LENNOX:  My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,   
Which can interpret further: only, I say,       4
[Which . . . further: Which you can use to draw conclusions]
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan   
Was pitied of Macbeth: marry [By the Virgin Mary], he was dead:   
And the right-valiant Banquo walk’d too late;   
Whom, you may say, if ’t please you, Fleance kill’d,       8
For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late.   
Who cannot want the thought how monstrous   
It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain   
To kill their gracious father? damned fact!      12
How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight   
In pious rage the two delinquents tear,   
That were the slaves of drink and thralls [slaves] of sleep?   
Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too;      16
For ’twould have anger’d any heart alive   
To hear the men deny ’t. So that, I say,   
He has borne all things well; and I do think   
That, had he Duncan’s sons under his key,—      20
As, an ’t  [if it] please heaven, he shall not,—they should find   
What ’twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.   
But, peace! for from broad words, and ’cause he fail’d   
His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear,      24
Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell   
Where he bestows himself?   
LORD:  The son of Duncan [Malcom],   
From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth,      28
Lives in the English court, and is receiv’d   
Of the most pious Edward with such grace  
[Edward: Edward the Confessor, who reigned as the king of England in the House of Wessex from 1042 to 1066.]
That the malevolence of fortune nothing
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff      32
[nothing . . . respect: Malcolm is treated with great respect.]
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid   
To wake Northumberland and war-like Siward:   
That, by the help of these—with him above   
To ratify the work—we may again      36
Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,   
Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,   
Do faithful homage and receive free honours;   
All which we pine for now. And this report      40
Hath so exasperate [exasperated] the king that he   
Prepares for some attempt at war.   
LENNOX: Sent he to Macduff?   
LORD:  He did: and with an absolute, ‘Sir, not I,’      44
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      48
Advise him to a caution to hold what distance   
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel   
Fly to the court of England and unfold   
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing      52
May soon return to this our suffering country   
Under a hand accurs’d!   
LORD:  I’ll send my prayers with him!  [Exeunt.   

Act 4, Scene 1

A Cavern. In the middle, a boiling Cauldron.  
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
FIRST WITCH:  Thrice the brinded [gray or tawny with patches of dark hues] cat hath mew’d.   
SECOND WITCH:  Thrice and once the hedge-pig [hedgehog] whin’d.       4
THIRD WITCH:  Harper cries: ’Tis time, ’tis time.   
[Harper: Name of an animal that is the third witch's companion and assistant]
FIRST WITCH:  Round about the cauldron go;   
In the poison’d entrails [intestines; guts] throw.   
Toad, that under cold stone       8
Days and nights hast thirty-one   
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,  
[swelter'd venom: Venom that is sweated out. Venom called bufotoxin can be found in the skin and glands of some toads.]
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.   
ALL:  Double, double toil and trouble;      12
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.   
SECOND WITCH:  Fillet of a fenny snake,   
[fillet of fenny snake: Slice of a snake that inhabits fens (swamps, bogs)]
In the cauldron boil and bake;   
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,      16
[eye of Newt: Eye of a type of salamander (an amphibian with a tail) that spends part of its time in the water and part of its time on land. The young newt (larval stage) is called an eft. It is bright red with black spots. The adult newt is generally olive green with red spots circumscribed with black spots. In mythological tales, the salamander was a creature that was said to be able to live in fire.]
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,   
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,   
[adder’s fork: Forked tongue of an adder, a poisonous snake]
[blind-worm: Legless lizard common in Great Britain. When fully grown, it is usually about a foot long.]
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing, 
[howlet's wing: Wing of a baby owl] 
For a charm of powerful trouble,      20
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.   
ALL:  Double, double toil and trouble;   
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.   
THIRD WITCH:  Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,      24
Witches’ mummy [dried out, preserved body], maw and gulf   
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
[maw and gulf of ravined salt-sea shark: Mouth and stomach of a hungry (ravined) shark]  
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,   
Liver of blaspheming Jew,      28
Gall of goat, and slips of yew   
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse,   
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips,  
[Tartar: Fierce Mongolian or Turkic warrior of the Middle Ages]
Finger of birth-strangled babe      32
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab, 
[ditch- . . . drab: Born in a ditch to a prostitute]
Make the gruel thick and slab [sticky]:   
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron [intestines; guts],   
For the ingredients of our cauldron.      36
ALL:  Double, double toil and trouble;   
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.   
SECOND WITCH:  Cool it with a baboon’s blood,   
Then the charm is firm and good.      40
HECATE:  O! well done! I commend your pains,   
And every one shall share i’ the gains.   
And now about the cauldron sing,      44
Like elves and fairies in a ring,   
Enchanting all that you put in.  [Music and a song, ‘Black Spirits,’ &c.   
SECOND WITCH:  By the pricking of my thumbs,   
Something wicked this way comes.      48
    Open, locks,   
    Whoever knocks.   
MACBETH:  How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!      52
What is ’t you do?   
ALL:  A deed without a name.   
MACBETH:  I conjure you, by that which you profess,—   
Howe’er you come to know it,—answer me:      56
Though you untie the winds and let them fight   
Against the churches; though the yesty [frothy and/or turbulent] waves   
Confound and swallow navigation up;   
Though bladed corn be lodg’d and trees blown down;      60
Though castles topple on their warders’ heads;   
Though palaces and pyramids do slope   
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure   
Of Nature’s germens [seeds] tumble all together,      64
Even till destruction sicken; answer me   
To what I ask you.   
FIRST WITCH: Speak.   
SECOND WITCH: Demand.      68
THIRD WITCH: We’ll answer.   
FIRST WITCH:  Say if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths,   
Or from our masters’?   
MACBETH: Call’em: let me see ’em.      72
FIRST WITCH:  Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten   
Her nine farrow [baby pigs]; grease, that’s sweaten   
From the murderer’s gibbet throw ditch-delivered
Into the flame.      76
ALL:  Come, high or low;   
Thyself and office deftly show.   

Thunder. First Apparition of an armed Head.   

MACBETH:  Tell me, thou unknown power,—      80
FIRST WITCH: He knows thy thought:   
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.   
FIRST APPARITION:  Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;   
Beware the Thane of Fife [Macduff]. Dismiss me. Enough.  [Descends.      84
MACBETH:  Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution thanks;   
Thou hast harp’d my fear aright. But one word more,—   
FIRST WITCH:  He will not be commanded: here’s another,   
More potent than the first.      88

Thunder. Second  Apparition, a bloody Child.   

SECOND APPARITION: App.  Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—   
MACBETH:  Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.   
SECOND APPARITION:  Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn      92
The power of man, for none of woman born   
Shall harm Macbeth.  [Descends.   
MACBETH:  Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?   
But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,      96
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;   
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,   
And sleep in spite of thunder.   
Thunder. Third Apparition, a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand.     100
What is this,   
That rises like the issue of a king,   
And wears upon his baby brow the round   
And top of sovereignty?     104
ALL:  Listen, but speak not to ’t.   
THIRD APPARITION: Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
[lion-mettled: Courageous as a lion]  
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until     108
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.  [Descends.   
[Macbeth shall . . . him: Macbeth shall never be conquered until the trees of Birnam Wood march against him, which appears to be an impossibility.]
MACBETH: That will never be:   
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree     112
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! [Sweet prophecies!] good!   
Rebellion’s head, rise never till the wood   
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac’d Macbeth   
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath     116
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart   
Throbs to know one thing: tell me—if your art   
Can tell so much,—shall Banquo’s issue ever   
Reign in this kingdom?     120
ALL:  Seek to know no more.   
MACBETH:  I will be satisfied: deny me this,   
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.   
Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?  [Hautboys.     124
[Hautboys (OH bwah): Instruments resembling oboes are heard playing offstage.]
FIRST WITCH:  Show!   
THIRD WITCH:  Show!   
ALL:  Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;     128
Come like shadows, so depart.   
A show of Eight Kings; the last with a glass [mirror] in his hand: Banquo’s Ghost following.
MACBETH:  Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo; down!   
Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs: and thy hair,     132
Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first:   
A third is like the former. Filthy hags!   
Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!   
What! will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?     136
Another yet? A seventh! I’ll see no more:   
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass [mirror]  
Which shows me many more; and some I see   
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry.     140
[two-fold . . . sceptres: Symbols of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which united under King James I. James succeeded Queen Elizabeth I in 1603.]
Horrible sight! Now, I see, ’tis true;   
For the blood-bolter’d Banquo smiles upon me,   
[blood-bolter'd Banquo: Macbeth sees the bloody wounds inflicted by the murderers to Banquo's head.]
And points at them for his.  [Apparitions vanish.   
What! is this so?     144
FIRST WITCH:  Ay, sir, all this is so: but why   
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?   
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites [spirits; mood],   
And show the best of our delights.     148
I’ll charm the air to give a sound,   
While you perform your antick round,
[antick round: odd, strange, fantastic dance]  
That this great king may kindly say,   
Our duties did his welcome pay.  [Music. The Witches dance, and then vanish with HECATE.     152
MACBETH:  Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour   
Stand aye accursed in the calendar!   
Come in, without there!   
Enter LENNOX.      156

LENNOX: What’s your Grace’s will?   
MACBETH:  Saw you the weird sisters?   
LENNOX: No, my lord.   
MACBETH:  Came they not by you?     160
LENNOX: No indeed, my lord.   
MACBETH:  Infected be the air whereon they ride,   
And damn’d all those that trust them! I did hear   
The galloping of horse: who was’t came by?     164
LENNOX:  ’Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word   
Macduff is fled to England.   
MACBETH: Fled to England!   
LENNOX:  Ay, my good lord.     168
MACBETH:  Time, thou anticipat’st [anticipates] my dread exploits;   
The flighty purpose never is o’ertook   
Unless the deed go with it; from this moment   
The very firstlings of my heart shall be     172
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
[The very . . .  hand: The desires or plans I am thinking about will be put into action. ]
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:   
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;   
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge of the sword     176
His wife, his babes; and all unfortunate souls   
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;   
This deed I’ll do, before this purpose cool:   
But no more sights! Where are these gentlemen?     180
Come, bring me where they are.  [Exeunt.   

Act 4, Scene 2

Fife. MACDUFF’S Castle.
Enter LADY MACDUFF, her Son, and ROSS.
LADY MACDUFF:  What had he done to make him fly the land?   
ROSS:  You must have patience, madam.       4
LADY MACDUFF: He had none:   
His flight was madness: when our actions do not,   
Our fears do make us traitors.   
ROSS: You know not       8
Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.   
LADY MACDUFF:  Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,   
His mansion and his titles [material possessions] in a place   
From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;      12
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;      16
As little is the wisdom, where the flight   
So runs against all reason.   
ROSS: My dearest coz [cousin],   
I pray you, school yourself [be calm]: but, for your husband,      20
He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows   
The fits o’ the season. I dare not speak much further:
[fits o' the season: What is going on] 
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors   
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour      24
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,   
But float upon a wild and violent sea   
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:   
Shall not be long but I’ll be here again.      28
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward   
To what they were before. My pretty cousin,   
Blessing upon you!   
LADY MACDUFF:  Father’d he is, and yet he’s fatherless.      32
ROSS:  I am so much a fool, should I stay longer,   
It would be my disgrace, and your discomfort:   
I take my leave at once.  [Exit.   
LADY MACDUFF: Sirrah [Mister], your father’s dead:      36
And what will you do now? How will you live?   
SON:  As birds do, mother.   
LADY MACDUFF:  What! with worms and flies?   
SON:  With what I get, I mean; and so do they.      40
LADY MACDUFF:  Poor bird! thou’dst never fear the net [net for catching birds] nor lime,   
[birdlime: Sticky preparation applied to tree limbs to catch birds.]
The pit-fall nor the gin.   
[pit-fall: Pitfall, a concealed hole in the ground for trapping small animals]
[gin: animal trap with a wire noose]
SON:  Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.   
My father is not dead, for all your saying.      44
LADY MACDUFF:  Yes, he is dead: how wilt thou do for a father?   
SON:  Nay, how will you do for a husband?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.   
SON:  Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.      48
LADY MACDUFF:  Thou speak’st with all thy wit; and yet, i’ faith,   
With wit enough for thee.   
SON:  Was my father a traitor, mother?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Ay, that he was.      52
SON:  What is a traitor?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Why, one that swears and lies.   
SON:  And be all traitors that do so?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.      56
SON:  And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Every one.   
SON:  Who must hang them?   
LADY MACDUFF:  Why, the honest men.      60
SON:  Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men, and hang up them.   
LADY MACDUFF:  Now God help thee, poor monkey! But how wilt thou do for a father?   
SON:  If he were dead, you’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!      64
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER:  Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,   
Though in your state of honour I am perfect.   
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:      68
If you will take a homely man’s advice,   
Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.   
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;   
To do worse to you were fell cruelty,      72
Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!   
I dare abide no longer.  [Exit.   
LADY MACDUFF: Whither should I fly?   
I have done no harm. But I remember now      76
I am in this earthly world, where, to do harm   
Is often laudable, to do good sometime   
Accounted dangerous folly; why then, alas!   
Do I put up that womanly defence,      80
To say I have done no harm?   
Enter Murderers.
What are these faces?   
MURDERER:  Where is your husband?      84
LADY MACDUFF:  I hope in no place so unsanctified   
Where such as thou mayst find him.   
MURDERER:  He’s a traitor.   
SON:  Thou liest, thou shag-hair’d villain.      88
MURDERER:  What! you egg.   
Young fry of treachery!  [Stabbing him.   
SON: He has killed me, mother:   
Run away, I pray you!  [Dies.  [Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying ‘Murder,’ and pursued by the Murderers.      92

Act 4, Scene 3

England. Before the KING’S Palace.  
MALCOLM:  Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there   
Weep our sad bosoms empty.       4
MACDUFF: Let us rather   
Hold fast the mortal [deadly; fatal] sword, and like good men   
Bestride our down-fall’n birthdom [homeland—that is, Scotland]; each new morn   
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows       8
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds   
As if it felt with Scotland and yell’d out   
Like syllable of dolour [grief; sadness].   
MALCOLM: What I believe I’ll wail,      12
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,      16
Was once thought honest: you have lov’d him well;   
He hath not touch’d you yet, I am young; but something   
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom   
To offer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb      20
To appease an angry god.   
MACDUFF:  I am not treacherous.   
MALCOLM: But Macbeth is.   
A good and virtuous nature may recoil      24
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon;   
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose [change];   
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;   
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,      28
Yet grace must still look so.   
MACDUFF: I have lost my hopes.   
MALCOLM:  Perchance even there where I did find my doubts.   
Why in that rawness left you wife and child—
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love—
Without leave-taking? I pray you,
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
But mine own safeties: you may be rightly just,      36
[Why in that . . . safeties: Malcolm questions Macduff's purpose in coming to England. He is unsure whether Macduff was involved in the plot against Duncan.]
Whatever I shall think.
MACDUFF: Bleed, bleed, poor country!   
Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure,   
For goodness dares not check thee! wear thou thy wrongs;      40
The title is affeer’d! Fare thee well, lord:   
[The title . . . afeer'd: Macbeth bears the title of king, bestowed on him in a legal proceeding. Affeer'd means assured or confirmed.]
I would not be the villain that thou think’st   
For the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp,   
And the rich East to boot.      44
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      48
Is added to her wounds: I think withal,   
There would be hands uplifted in my right; 
[hands . . . right: People ready to stand with Malcolm] 
And here from gracious England have I offer   
Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,      52
When I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head,   
Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country   
Shall have more vices than it had before,   
More suffer, and more sundry ways than ever,      56
By him that shall succeed.   
MACDUFF: What should he be?   
MALCOLM:  It is myself I mean; in whom I know   
All the particulars of vice so grafted,      60
That, when they shall be open’d, black Macbeth   
Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state   
Esteem him as a lamb, being compar’d   
With my confineless harms.      64
MACDUFF: Not in the legions   
Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d   
In evils to top Macbeth.   
MALCOLM: I grant him bloody,      68
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,      72
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up   
The cistern of my lust; and my desire   
All continent impediments would o’erbear   
That did oppose my will; better Macbeth      76
Than such an one to reign.   
MACDUFF: Boundless intemperance
In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
Th’ untimely emptying of the happy throne,
And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
[Boundless intemperance . . . kings: Lust (boundless intemperance) has caused the downfall of many kings, but you still have the opportunity to do as you please without appearing to be unchaste.]
To take upon you what is yours; you may
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty,
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.      84
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 inclin’d.      88
MALCOLM: With this there grows   
In my most ill-compos’d affection such   
A stanchless [unstoppable; insatiable] avarice that, were I king,   
I should cut off the nobles for their lands,      92
Desire his jewels and this other’s house;   
And my more-having would be as a sauce   
To make me hunger more, that I should forge   
Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,      96
Destroying them for wealth.   
MACDUFF: This avarice   
Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root   
Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been     100
The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;   
Scotland hath foisons [plentiful supplies] to fill up your will,   
Of your mere own; all these are portable, 
[Of your . . . own: As your personal property]
[portable: Able to be dealt with—that is, bearable, endurable]
With other graces weigh’d.     104
MALCOLM:  But I have none: the king-becoming graces,   
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,   
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,   
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude,     108
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,     112
Uproar the universal peace, confound   
All unity on earth.   
MACDUFF: O Scotland, Scotland!   
MALCOLM:  If such a one be fit to govern, speak:     116
I am as I have spoken.   
MACDUFF: Fit to govern!   
No, not to live. O nation miserable,   
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d,     120
With . . . -scepter'd: With the murderous tyrant Macbeth sitting on the throne]
When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,   
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accurs’d,
[the truest . . . accurs'd: Malcolm, the true heir to the throne, condemns himself with his own words.]  
And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father     124
Was a most sainted king; the queen that bore thee,   
Oft’ner upon her knees than on her feet,   
Died every day she liv’d. Fare thee well!   
These evils thou repeat’st upon thyself     128
Have banish’d me from Scotland. O my breast,   
Thy hope ends here!  

[In the following passage, Malcolm says he was not telling the truth
about himself. In fact, he says, he is not a pleasure-seeker who lusts
after women or seeks material gain. Rather, he is a man of integrity
who is ready to fight for his country.]

MALCOLM: Macduff, this noble passion,
Child of integrity, hath from my soul
Wip’d the black scruples, reconcil’d my thoughts
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
[Macduff . . . honour: Malcolm says Macduff's words have persuaded him (Malcolm) to overcome his faults and weaknesses.]   
By many of these trains hath sought to win me   
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me     136
From over-credulous haste; but God above   
Deal between thee and me! for even now   
I put myself to thy direction, and   
Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure     140
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,   
For strangers to my nature. I am yet   
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn,   
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own;     144
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,     148
Is thine and my poor country’s to command;   
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,   
Old Siward, with ten thousand war-like men,   
Already at a point, was setting forth.     152
Now we’ll together, and the chance of goodness   
Be like our warranted quarrel. Why are you silent?   
MACDUFF:  Such welcome and unwelcome things at once   
’Tis hard to reconcile.     156
Enter a Doctor.
MALCOLM:  Well; more anon [soon]. Comes the king forth, I pray you?   
DOCTOR:  Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
That stay his cure; their malady convinces [Archaism for defeats, conquers, overcomes].    160
[there are a crew . . . cure: There are so many sick people that the doctor has not had time to tend to the ailing king.]
The great assay of art; but, at his touch,   
Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand,   
They presently amend.   
MALCOLM: I thank you, doctor.  [Exit Doctor.     164
MACDUFF:  What’s the disease he means?   
MALCOLM: ’Tis call’d the evil:   
A most miraculous work in this good king,   
Which often, since my here-remain in England,     168
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,   
Himself best knows; but strangely-visited people,   
All swoln [swollen] and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,   
The mere despair of surgery, he cures;     172
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,   
Put on with holy prayers; and ’tis spoken   
To the succeeding royalty he leaves   
The healing benediction [blessing]. With this strange virtue,     176
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,   
And sundry [various] blessings hang about his throne   
That speak him full of grace.   
MACDUFF: See, who comes here?     180
MALCOLM:  My countryman; but yet I know him not.   
Enter ROSS.
MACDUFF:  My ever-gentle [ever gentlemanly, ever noble] cousin, welcome hither.   
MALCOLM:  I know him now. Good God, betimes [immediately] remove     184
The means that make us strangers!   
ROSS: Sir, amen.   
MACDUFF:  Stands Scotland where it did?   
ROSS: Alas! poor country;     188
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot   
Be call’d our mother, but our grave; where nothing,   
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;   
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air     192
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems   
A modern ecstasy [mental instability]; the dead man’s knell   
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives   
Expire before the flowers in their caps,     196
Dying or ere [before] they sicken.   
MACDUFF: O! relation   
Too nice [precise; exact], and yet too true!   
MALCOLM: What’s the newest grief?     200
ROSS:  That of an hour’s age doth hiss the speaker;  
[That . . . speaker: The griefs occur so frequently that an hour-old grief is received as old news.]
Each minute teems [brings forth] a new one.   
MACDUFF: How does my wife?   
ROSS:  Why, well.     204
MACDUFF: And all my children?   
ROSS: Well too.   
MACDUFF:  The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?   
ROSS:  No; they were well at peace when I did leave ’em.     208
MACDUFF:  Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes ’t?   
ROSS:  When I came hither to transport the tidings,   
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour   
Of many worthy fellows that were out;     212
[that were out: Rising up; rebelling]
Which was to my belief witness’d [verified] the rather   
For that I saw the tyrant’s power a-foot.   
Now is the time of help; your eye in Scotland   
Would create soldiers, make our women fight,     216
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     224
That would be howl’d out in the desert air,   
Where hearing should not latch [latch onto; catch; listen to] them.   
MACDUFF: What concern they?   
The general cause? or is it a fee-grief     228
[fee-grief: Grief or complaint regarding an estate (fee) due to or owned by one person]
Due to some single breast?   
ROSS: No mind that’s honest   
But in it shares some woe, though the main part   
Pertains to you alone.     232
MACDUFF: If it be mine   
Keep it not from me; quickly let me have it.   
ROSS:  Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever,   
Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound     236
That ever yet they heard.   
MACDUFF: Hum! I guess at it.   
ROSS:  Your castle is surpris’d; your wife and babes   
Savagely slaughter’d; to relate the manner,     240
Were, on the quarry of these murder’d deer, 
[quarry: Literally, a heap of deer killed in a hunt. Here, deer is a metaphor for Macduff's family.]
To add the death of you.   
MALCOLM: Merciful heaven!   
What! man; ne’er pull your hat upon your brows;     244
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak   
Whispers the o’er-fraught [overburdened; heavy] heart and bids it break.   
MACDUFF:  My children too?   
ROSS: Wife, children, servants, all     248
That could be found.   
MACDUFF: And I must be from thence!   
My wife kill’d too?   
ROSS: I have said.     252
MALCOLM: Be comforted:   
Let’s make us medicine of our great revenge,   
To cure this deadly grief.   
MACDUFF:  He has no children. All my pretty ones?     256
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
[hell-kite: A kite is a bird of prey.]  
What! all my pretty chickens [children] and their dam [mother]
At one fell swoop? 
[At one . . . swoop: Killed in one deadly attack]
MALCOLM: Dispute it like a man.     260
MACDUFF: I shall do so;   
But I must also feel it as a man:   
I cannot but remember such things were,   
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,     264
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff!   
They were all struck for thee. Naught [nothing] that I am,   
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,   
Fell [deadly] slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!     268
MALCOLM:  Be this the whetstone [sharpener] of your sword: let grief   
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.   
MACDUFF:  O! I could play the woman with mine eyes,   
And braggart with my tongue. But, gentle heavens,     272
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!     276
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     280
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may;   
The night is long that never finds the day.  [Exeunt.   

Act 5, Scene 1

Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle.
Enter a Doctor of Physic [physician] and a Waiting-Gentle-woman.
DOCTOR:  I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown 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 sleep.  4
DOCTOR:  A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  That, sir, which I will not report after her.   
DOCTOR:  You may to me, and ’tis most meet you should.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Neither to you nor any one, having no witness to confirm my speech.       8
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?   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually; ’tis her command.      12
DOCTOR:  You see, her eyes are open.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Ay, but their sense is shut.   
DOCTOR:  What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her to continue in this a quarter of an hour.      16
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 strongly.   
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 account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?  
[What need . . . account: Since Macbeth and I hold all the power as king and queen, we don't care whether someone knows what we did.]
DOCTOR:  Do you mark that?      20
LADY MACBETH:  The Thane of Fife [Macduff] had a wife: where is she now? What! will these hands ne’er be clean? No 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 not.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that: Heaven knows what she has known.   
LADY MACBETH:  Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! oh! oh!      24
DOCTOR:  What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.   
DOCTOR:  Well, well, well.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Pray God it be, sir.      28
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 night-gown; 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 hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed.  [Exit.      32
DOCTOR:  Will she go now to bed?   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Directly.   
DOCTOR:  Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds   
Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds      36
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 [harm; injury],      40
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good-night:   
My mind she has mated [puzzled; confused], and amaz’d my sight.   
I think, but dare not speak.   
GENTLE-WOMAN:  Good-night, good doctor.  [Exeunt.

Act 5, Scene 2

The Country near Dunsinane.  
Enter, with drum and colours [flag], MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, and Soldiers.
MENTEITH:  The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,   
His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.       4
Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes   
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm [call to arms] 
Excite the mortified [extremely ill] man.   
ANGUS: Near Birnam wood       8
Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.   
CAITHNESS:  Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?   
LENNOX:  For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file   
Of all the gentry: there is Siward’s son,      12
And many unrough youths that even now   
Protest their first of manhood [are just reaching manhood].  
MENTEITH:  What does the tyrant?   
CAITHNESS:  Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies.      16
Some say he’s mad; others that lesser hate him   
Do call it valiant fury; but, for certain,   
He cannot buckle his distemper’d cause   
Within the belt of rule.      20
[He cannot . . . rule: He cannot maintain control over his kingdom.]
ANGUS: Now does he feel   
His secret murders sticking on his hands;   
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;  
[minutely . . . breach: Each minute, people condemn him for his evil deeds. Minutely here is pronounced MIN it le.]
Those he commands move only in command,      24
Nothing in love; now does he feel his title  
[Those he . . . love: Those in his command obey his orders, but not out of love; they do his bidding only because he is their superior.]
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe   
Upon a dwarfish thief.   
MENTEITH:  Who then shall blame      28
His pester’d senses to recoil and start,   
When all that is within him does condemn   
Itself for being there?   
CAITHNESS:  Well, march we on,      32
To give obedience where ’tis truly ow’d;   
Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal [ailing welfare of the country],   
And with him pour we in our country’s purge   
Each drop of us.      36
LENNOX: Or so much as it needs   
To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
[To dew . . . weeds: To bring new life to Scotland and death to Macbeth] 
Make we our march towards Birnam.  [Exeunt, marching.

Act 5, Scene 3

Dunsinane. A Room in the Castle.  
Enter MACBETH, Doctor, and Attendants.
MACBETH:  Bring me no more reports; let them fly all:   
Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane       4
I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm?   
Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know   
All mortal consequences have pronounc’d me thus:   
‘Fear not, Macbeth; no man that’s born of woman       8
Shall e’er have power upon thee.’ Then fly, false thanes,   
And mingle with the English epicures [persons devoted to the pleasures of the senses]:   
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear   
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.      12
Enter a Servant.
The devil damn thee black, thou cream-fac’d loon [pale-faced loon]!   
Where gott’st thou that goose look? 
[The servant is pale because he fears the army outside.] 
SERVANT:  There is ten thousand—      16
MACBETH: Geese, villain?   
SERVANT:  Soldiers, sir.   
MACBETH:  Go, prick [cut] thy face, and [use the blood to] over-red thy fear,   
Thou lily-liver’d boy. What soldiers, patch [fool]?      20
Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine   
Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, wheyface [white face]?   
SERVANT:  The English force, so please you.   
MACBETH:  Take thy face hence. [Exit Servant.] Seyton!—I am sick at heart      24
When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push [attack led by Macduff and Malcolm] 
Will cheer me ever or disseat [unseat] me now.   
I have liv’d long enough: my way of life 
[way: According to English critic Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Shakespeare may have intended to write may in line 27 to strike a contrast with the autumn imagery in line 28.]
Is fall’n into the sear [state of being dried up], the yellow leaf;      28
And that which should accompany old age,   
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,   
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,   
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour [lip service; insincere allegiance], breath,      32
Which the poor heart would fain [eagerly; willingly] deny, and dare not.   
SEYTON:  What is your gracious pleasure?      36
MACBETH: What news more?   
SEYTON:  All is confirm’d, my lord, which was reported.   
MACBETH:  I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack’d.   
Give me my armour.      40
SEYTON:  ’Tis not needed yet.   
MACBETH:  I’ll put it on.   
Send out more horses, skirr [conduct a quick search] the country round;   
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour.      44
How does your patient, doctor?   
DOCTOR:  Not so sick, my lord,   
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies,   
That keep her from her rest.      48
MACBETH: Cure her of that:   
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d,   
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,      52
[Pluck . . . brain: Here, Shakespeare exhibits his knowledge of psychological disturbances, foreshadowing the theories of twentieth-century researchers. He orders the doctor to identify the deep-seated cause of Lady Macbeth's mental debility. Obviously, she suffers guilt. But why does she feel guilty when she earlier had no qualms about murdering Duncan?]
And with some sweet oblivious antidote   
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff   
Which weighs upon the heart?   
DOCTOR:  Therein the patient      56
Must minister to himself.   
MACBETH:  Throw physic to the dogs; I’ll none of it.   
Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff.   
Seyton, send out.—Doctor, the thanes fly from me.—      60
Come, sir, dispatch.—If thou couldst, doctor, cast   
The water of my land, find her disease,
[cast . . . land: Literally, to examine urine to detect signs of illness. Here, Macbeth says he wants the doctor to examine the urine of his country to find out why people are rising against him.]  
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,   
I would applaud thee to the very echo,      64
That should applaud again.—Pull’t off, I say.—   
What rhubarb, senna [plant with medicinal properties], or what purgative [cleansing] drug   
Would scour these English hence? Hear’st thou of them?   
DOCTOR:  Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation      68
Makes us hear something.   
MACBETH: Bring it after me.   
I will not be afraid of death and bane   
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.      72
DOCTOR:  [Aside.] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,   
Profit again should hardly draw me here.  [Exeunt.

Act 5, Scene 4

Country near Birnam Wood.  
Enter, with drum and colours [flag], MALCOLM, Old SIWARD and his Son, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers marching.
MALCOLM:  Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand   
That chambers will be safe.       4
[That . . . safe: That Scottish homes will once again be safe and secure]
MENTEITH:  We doubt it nothing.   
SIWARD:  What wood is this before us?   
MENTEITH:  The wood of Birnam.   
MALCOLM:  Let every soldier hew him down a bough       8
And bear’t before him: thereby shall we shadow [hide] 
The numbers of our host [army], and make discovery   
Err in report of us.   
SOLDIER:  It shall be done.      12
SIWARD:  We learn no other but the confident tyrant   
Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure   
Our setting down before ’t.   
MALCOLM: ’Tis his main hope;      16
For where there is advantage to be given,   
Both more and less [nobles and commoners] have given him the revolt,   
And none serve with him but constrained [forced] things   
Whose hearts are absent too.      20
MACDUFF: Let our just censures   
Attend the true event, and put we on   
[Let . . . event: We have just grievances, but now it is time to let our swords do the talking for us.]
Industrious soldiership.   
SIWARD:  The time approaches      24
That will with due decision make us know   
What we shall say we have and what we owe.   
[What we . . . owe: What we claim to own and what we really do own. Here, own means possess.]
Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,   
But certain issue strokes must arbitrate,      28
[certain . . . arbitrate: The strokes of our weapons will decide our future.]
Towards which advance the war.  [Exeunt, marching.

Act 5, Scene 5

Dunsinane. Within the Castle. 
Enter, with drum and colours, MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers.
MACBETH:  Hang out our banners on the outward walls;   
The cry is still, ‘They come;’ our castle’s strength       4
Will laugh a siege to scorn; here let them lie   
Till famine and the ague [fever] eat them up;   
Were they not forced [reinforced] with those that should be ours,   
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,       8
And beat them backward home.  [A cry of women within.   
What is that noise?   
SEYTON:  It is the cry of women, my good lord.  [Exit.   
MACBETH:  I have almost forgot the taste of fears.      12
The time has been my senses would have cool’d   
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell [scalp] of hair   
Would at a dismal treatise [dismal conversation; minor disturbance] rouse and stir   
As life were in ’t. I have supp’d full with horrors;      16
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,   
Cannot once start me.   
Re-Enter SEYTON.
Wherefore was [what was the reason for] that cry?      20
SEYTON:  The queen, my lord, is dead.   
MACBETH:  She should have died hereafter;   
[She . . . hereafter: She would have died sooner or later.]
There would have been a time for such a word.   
[There would . . . word: Eventually there would have been a time to speak of her death.]
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,      24
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,   
To the last syllable of recorded time;   
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools   
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!      28
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,      32
Signifying nothing.   
Enter a Messenger.
Thou com’st to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.   
MESSENGER:  Gracious my lord,      36
I should report that which I say I saw,   
But know not how to do it.   
MACBETH: Well, say, sir.   
MESSENGER:  As I did stand my watch upon the hill,      40
I look’d towards Birnam, and anon [soon], methought,   
The wood began to move.   
MACBETH: Liar and slave!   
MESSENGER:  Let me endure your wrath if’t be not so:      44
Within this three mile may you see it coming;   
I say, a moving grove.   
MACBETH: If thou speak’st false,   
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,      48
Till famine cling thee; if thy speech be sooth [true],   
I care not if thou dost for me as much.   
I pull in [I gather] resolution and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend      52
[To . . . fiend: To believe the fiend]
That lies like truth; ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood   
Do come to Dunsinane;’ and now a wood   
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!   
If this which he avouches does appear,      56
There is nor flying hence, nor tarrying here.  
[There is . . . here: I cannot run away or stay here.]
I ’gin [begin] to be aweary of the sun,   
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.   
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack [ wreck; ruin]!      60
At least we’ll die with harness [armor] on our back.  [Exeunt.

Act 5, Scene 6

The Same. A Plain before the Castle.  
Enter, with drum and colours [flag], MALCOLM, Old SIWARD, MACDUFF, &c., and their Army, with boughs.
MALCOLM:  Now near enough; your leavy screens [leafy branches] throw down,   
And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,       4
Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son,   
Lead our first battle; worthy Macduff and we   
Shall take upon ’s [upon us] what else remains to do,   
According to our order.       8
SIWARD:  Fare you well.   
Do we but find the tyrant’s power to-night,   
Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight.   
MACDUFF:  Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,      12
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.  [Exeunt.

Act 5, Scene 7

The Same. Another Part of the Plain.
Alarums. Enter MACBETH.
MACBETH:  They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But bear-like I must fight the course. What’s he       4
[They have . . . course: Macbeth compares himself to a bear tied to a stake. In London in Shakespeare's time, so-called bear-baiting was a popular sport. Keepers of a bear first tied the animal to a stake, then released dogs to fight with it.]
That was not born of woman? Such a one   
Am I to fear, or none.   
Enter Young SIWARD.
Young SIWARD:  What is thy name?       8
MACBETH: Thou’lt be afraid to hear it.   
Young SIWARD:  No; though thou call’st thyself a hotter name   
Than any is in hell.   
MACBETH: My name’s Macbeth.      12
Young SIWARD:  The devil himself could not pronounce a title   
More hateful to mine ear.   
MACBETH: No, nor more fearful.   
Young SIWARD:  Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword      16
I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.  [They fight and Young SIWARD is slain.   
MACBETH: Thou wast born of woman:   
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,   
Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born.  [Exit.      20
Alarums. Enter MACDUFF.
MACDUFF:  That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face:   
If thou be’st slain [are slain] and with no stroke of mine,   
My wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still.      24
I cannot strike at wretched kerns [foot soldiers], whose arms   
Are hir’d to bear their staves [spears]: either thou, Macbeth,   
Or else my sword with an unbatter’d edge   
I sheathe again undeeded [unused]. There thou shouldst be;      28
By this great clatter, one of greatest note   
Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune! 
[bruited:  Given away his location]
And more I beg not.  [Exit. Alarums.   
Enter MALCOLM and Old SIWARD.       32

SIWARD:  This way, my lord; the castle’s gently render’d:   
The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight;   
The noble thanes do bravely in the war;   
The day almost itself professes yours,      36
And little is to do.   
MALCOLM: We have met with foes   
That strike beside us.   
SIWARD:  Enter, sir, the castle.  [Exeunt. Alarums.      40
MACBETH:  Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes   
[Why should . . . sword: Why should I kill myself, as the ancient Romans did when all seemed lost?]
Do better upon them.      44
MACDUFF: Turn, hell-hound, turn!   
MACBETH:  Of all men else I have avoided thee:   
But get thee back, my soul is too much charg’d      48
With blood of thine already.   
MACDUFF: I have no words;   
My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain   
Than terms can give thee out!  [They fight.      52
MACBETH: Thou losest labour:   
As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air   
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed: 
[As easy  . . . bleed: Macbeth is saying that he is like the air—he cannot be cut.  He is invulnerable (intrenchant).]
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;      56
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield   
To one of woman born.   
MACDUFF: Despair thy charm;   
And let the angel whom thou still hast serv’d      60
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
Untimely ripp’d.   
[Macduff . . . ripp'd: Macduff was removed from his mother's womb in a cesarean procedure.]
MACBETH:  Accursed be that tongue that tells me so,   
For it hath cow’d my better part of man:      64
And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d,   
That palter with [mislead] us in a double sense;   
That keep the word of promise to our ear,   
And break it to our hope. I’ll not fight with thee.      68
MACDUFF:  Then yield thee, coward,   
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:   
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,   
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit [under which is written],      72
‘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.      76
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,   
And thou oppos’d, being of no woman born,   
Yet I will try the last: before my body   
I throw my war-like shield. Lay on, Macduff,      80
And damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’  [Exeunt, fighting.   
Retreat. Flourish [playing of trumpets]. Re-Enter, with drum and colours [flag], MALCOLM, Old SIWARD, ROSS, Thanes, and Soldiers.
MALCOLM:  I would the friends we miss were safe arriv’d.   
SIWARD:  Some must go off; and yet, by these I see,      84
So great a day as this is cheaply bought.   
MALCOLM:  Macduff is missing, and your noble son.   
ROSS:  Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt:   
He only liv’d but till he was a man;      88
The which no sooner had his prowess confirm’d   
In the unshrinking station where he fought,   
But like a man he died.   
SIWARD:  Then he is dead?      92
ROSS:  Ay, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow   
Must not be measur’d by his worth, for then   
It hath no end.   
SIWARD:  Had he his hurts before?      96
ROSS:  Ay, on the front.   
SIWARD:  Why then, God’s soldier be he!   
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,   
I would not wish them to a fairer death:     100
And so, his knell [funeral bell] is knoll’d [rung].   
MALCOLM: He’s worth more sorrow,   
And that I’ll spend for him.   
SIWARD:  He’s worth no more;     104
They say, he parted well, and paid his score:   
And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort.   
Re-Enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH’S head.
MACDUFF:  Hail, king! for so thou art. Behold, where stands     108
The usurper’s cursed head: the time is free:   
I see thee compass’d [encircled] with thy kingdom’s pearl [honorable men],   
That speak my salutation in their minds;   
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine;     112
Hail, King of Scotland!   
ALL:  Hail, King of Scotland!  [Flourish.   
MALCOLM:  We shall not spend a large expense of time   
Before we reckon with your several loves,     116
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,   
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland   
In such an honour nam’d. What’s more to do,   
Which would be planted newly with the time,     120
As calling home our exil’d friends abroad   
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny;   
Producing forth the cruel ministers   
Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,     124
Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands   
Took off her life; this, and what needful else   
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace   
We will perform in measure, time, and place:     128
So, thanks to all at once and to each one,   
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone.  [Flourish. Exeunt.

About Michael J. Cummings

Michael J. Cummings taught English and literature at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa., and at public schools in Pennsylvania and New York. He also worked as a journalist for seventeen years, five of which he was managing editor of the national publication GRIT when it had a circulation of more than one million. He earned a bachelor's degree in English at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and pursued further studies at Lycoming College in Williamsport and at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y. In addition, he attended two training workshops at the American Press Institute. He served for a time as a member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors. Cummings is the author of more than one thousand freelance articles and several books. He has written more than one hundred Internet literature guides for students and teachers. His Internet site on Shakespeare has been recommended by The New York Times and the BBC.