Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Macbeth

(complete text)

Act I

1. A desert place.

2. A camp near Forres.

3. A heath near Forres.

4. Forres. The palace.

5. Inverness. Macbeth’s castle.

6. Before Macbeth’s castle.

7. Macbeth’s castle.

Act II

1. Court of Macbeth’s castle.

2. The same.

3. The same.

4. Outside Macbeth’s castle.


1. Forres. The palace.

2. The palace.

3. A park near the palace.

4. The same. Hall in the palace.

5. A Heath.

6. Forres. The palace.

Act IV

1. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

2. Fife. Macduff’s castle.

3. England. Before the King’s palace.

Act V

1. Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.

2. The country near Dunsinane.

3. Dunsinane. A room in the castle.

4. Country near Birnam wood.

5. Dunsinane. Within the castle.

6. Dunsinane. Before the castle.

7. Another part of the field.

8. Another part of the field.

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Act I, Scene 1

A desert place.


[Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches]

  • First Witch. When shall we three meet again
    In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
  • Second Witch. When the hurlyburly's done,
    When the battle's lost and won. 5
  • Third Witch. That will be ere the set of sun.
  • First Witch. Where the place?
  • Second Witch. Upon the heath.
  • Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth.
  • First Witch. I come, Graymalkin! 10
  • Second Witch. Paddock calls.
  • Third Witch. Anon.
  • All. Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
    Hover through the fog and filthy air.



Act I, Scene 2

A camp near Forres.


[Alarum within. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN,] [p]LENNOX, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant]

  • Duncan. What bloody man is that? He can report,
    As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
    The newest state. 20
  • Malcolm. This is the sergeant
    Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
    'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
    Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
    As thou didst leave it. 25
  • Sergeant. Doubtful it stood;
    As two spent swimmers, that do cling together
    And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
    Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
    The multiplying villanies of nature 30
    Do swarm upon him—from the western isles
    Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
    And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
    Show'd like a rebel's whore: but all's too weak:
    For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name— 35
    Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like valour's minion carved out his passage
    Till he faced the slave;
    Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, 40
    Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
    And fix'd his head upon our battlements.
  • Duncan. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman!
  • Sergeant. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
    Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, 45
    So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come
    Discomfort swells. Mark, king of Scotland, mark:
    No sooner justice had with valour arm'd
    Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
    But the Norweyan lord surveying vantage, 50
    With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men
    Began a fresh assault.
  • Duncan. Dismay'd not this
    Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
  • Sergeant. Yes; 55
    As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
    If I say sooth, I must report they were
    As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
    Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
    Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, 60
    Or memorise another Golgotha,
    I cannot tell.
    But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.
  • Duncan. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
    They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons. 65
    [Exit Sergeant, attended]
    Who comes here?

[Enter ROSS]

  • Malcolm. The worthy thane of Ross.
  • Lennox. What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look 70
    That seems to speak things strange.
  • Ross. God save the king!
  • Duncan. Whence camest thou, worthy thane?
  • Ross. From Fife, great king;
    Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky 75
    And fan our people cold. Norway himself,
    With terrible numbers,
    Assisted by that most disloyal traitor
    The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict;
    Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, 80
    Confronted him with self-comparisons,
    Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm.
    Curbing his lavish spirit: and, to conclude,
    The victory fell on us.
  • Duncan. Great happiness! 85
  • Ross. That now
    Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition:
    Nor would we deign him burial of his men
    Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's inch
    Ten thousand dollars to our general use. 90
  • Duncan. No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
    Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,
    And with his former title greet Macbeth.
  • Ross. I'll see it done.
  • Duncan. What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won. 95



Act I, Scene 3

A heath near Forres.


[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

  • First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
  • Second Witch. Killing swine.
  • Third Witch. Sister, where thou? 100
  • 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.
    Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger: 105
    But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
    And, like a rat without a tail,
    I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
  • Second Witch. I'll give thee a wind.
  • First Witch. Thou'rt kind. 110
  • Third Witch. And I another.
  • First Witch. I myself have all the other,
    And the very ports they blow,
    All the quarters that they know
    I' the shipman's card. 115
    I will drain him dry as hay:
    Sleep shall neither night nor day
    Hang upon his pent-house lid;
    He shall live a man forbid:
    Weary se'nnights nine times nine 120
    Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
    Though his bark cannot be lost,
    Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
    Look what I have.
  • Second Witch. Show me, show me. 125
  • First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb,
    Wreck'd as homeward he did come.

[Drum within]

  • Third Witch. A drum, a drum!
    Macbeth doth come. 130
  • All. The weird sisters, hand in hand,
    Posters of the sea and land,
    Thus do go about, about:
    Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
    And thrice again, to make up nine. 135
    Peace! the charm's wound up.


  • 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, 140
    That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
    And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
    That man may question? You seem to understand me,
    By each at once her chappy finger laying
    Upon her skinny lips: you should be women, 145
    And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
    That you are so.
  • Macbeth. Speak, if you can: what are you?
  • First Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
  • Second Witch. All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! 150
  • Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!
  • Banquo. Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
    Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
    Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
    Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner 155
    You greet with present grace and great prediction
    Of noble having and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
    If you can look into the seeds of time,
    And say which grain will grow and which will not, 160
    Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
    Your favours nor your hate.
  • First Witch. Hail!
  • Second Witch. Hail!
  • Third Witch. Hail! 165
  • First Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
  • Second Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier.
  • Third Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
    So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
  • First Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail! 170
  • Macbeth. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
    By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis;
    But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
    A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
    Stands not within the prospect of belief, 175
    No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence? or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

[Witches vanish]

  • Banquo. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
    And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?
  • Macbeth. Into the air; and what seem'd corporal melted
    As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!
  • Banquo. Were such things here as we do speak about? 185
    Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?
  • Macbeth. Your children shall be kings.
  • Banquo. You shall be king.
  • Macbeth. And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so? 190
  • Banquo. To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?

[Enter ROSS and ANGUS]

  • Ross. The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
    The news of thy success; and when he reads
    Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, 195
    His wonders and his praises do contend
    Which should be thine or his: silenced with that,
    In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day,
    He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
    Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, 200
    Strange images of death. As thick as hail
    Came post with post; and every one did bear
    Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence,
    And pour'd them down before him.
  • Angus. We are sent 205
    To give thee from our royal master thanks;
    Only to herald thee into his sight,
    Not pay thee.
  • Ross. And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
    He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor: 210
    In which addition, hail, most worthy thane!
    For it is thine.
  • Banquo. What, can the devil speak true?
  • Macbeth. The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me
    In borrow'd robes? 215
  • Angus. Who was the thane lives yet;
    But under heavy judgment bears that life
    Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined
    With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
    With hidden help and vantage, or that with both 220
    He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not;
    But treasons capital, confess'd and proved,
    Have overthrown him.
  • Macbeth. [Aside] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!
    The greatest is behind. 225
    [To ROSS and ANGUS]
    Thanks for your pains.
    [To BANQUO]
    Do you not hope your children shall be kings,
    When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me 230
    Promised no less to them?
  • Banquo. That trusted home
    Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
    Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange:
    And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, 235
    The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
    Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
    In deepest consequence.
    Cousins, a word, I pray you.
  • Macbeth. [Aside]. Two truths are told, 240
    As happy prologues to the swelling act
    Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen.
    [Aside] This supernatural soliciting]
    Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
    Why hath it given me earnest of success, 245
    Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
    If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
    Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
    And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
    Against the use of nature? Present fears 250
    Are less than horrible imaginings:
    My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
    Shakes so my single state of man that function
    Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
    But what is not. 255
  • Banquo. Look, how our partner's rapt.
  • Macbeth. [Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me,
    Without my stir.
  • Banquo. New horrors come upon him,
    Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould 260
    But with the aid of use.
  • Macbeth. [Aside] Come what come may,
    Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
  • Banquo. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
  • Macbeth. Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought 265
    With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
    Are register'd where every day I turn
    The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.
    Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time,
    The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak 270
    Our free hearts each to other.
  • Banquo. Very gladly.
  • Macbeth. Till then, enough. Come, friends.



Act I, Scene 4

Forres. The palace.


[Flourish. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, and Attendants]

  • Duncan. Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not
    Those in commission yet return'd?
  • Malcolm. My liege,
    They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
    With one that saw him die: who did report 280
    That very frankly he confess'd his treasons,
    Implored your highness' pardon and set forth
    A deep repentance: nothing in his life
    Became him like the leaving it; he died
    As one that had been studied in his death 285
    To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
    As 'twere a careless trifle.
  • Duncan. There's no art
    To find the mind's construction in the face:
    He was a gentleman on whom I built 290
    An absolute trust.
    O worthiest cousin!
    The sin of my ingratitude even now
    Was heavy on me: thou art so far before 295
    That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
    To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
    That the proportion both of thanks and payment
    Might have been mine! only I have left to say,
    More is thy due than more than all can pay. 300
  • Macbeth. The service and the loyalty I owe,
    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 every thing 305
    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,
    That hast no less deserved, nor must be known 310
    No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
    And hold thee to my heart.
  • Banquo. There if I grow,
    The harvest is your own.
  • Duncan. My plenteous joys, 315
    Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
    In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
    And you whose places are the nearest, know
    We will establish our estate upon
    Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter 320
    The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
    Not unaccompanied invest him only,
    But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
    On all deservers. From hence to Inverness,
    And bind us further to you. 325
  • Macbeth. The rest is labour, which is not used for you:
    I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
    The hearing of my wife with your approach;
    So humbly take my leave.
  • Duncan. My worthy Cawdor! 330
  • Macbeth. [Aside] The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step
    On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
    For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
    Let not light see my black and deep desires:
    The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, 335
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.


  • Duncan. True, worthy Banquo; he is full so valiant,
    And in his commendations I am fed;
    It is a banquet to me. Let's after him, 340
    Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
    It is a peerless kinsman.

[Flourish. Exeunt]


Act I, Scene 5

Inverness. Macbeth’s castle.


[Enter LADY MACBETH, reading a letter]

  • Lady Macbeth. 'They met me in the day of success: and I have 345
    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 350
    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 355
    mightst 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
    What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; 360
    It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
    To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
    Art not without ambition, but without
    The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly,
    That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, 365
    And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou'ldst have, great Glamis,
    That which cries 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
    And that which rather thou dost fear to do
    Than wishest should be undone.' Hie thee hither,
    That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; 370
    And chastise with the valour of my tongue
    All that impedes thee from the golden round,
    Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
    To have thee crown'd withal.
    [Enter a Messenger] 375
    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,
    Would have inform'd for preparation. 380
  • Messenger. So please you, it is true: our thane is coming:
    One of my fellows had the speed of him,
    Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more
    Than would make up his message.
  • Lady Macbeth. Give him tending; 385
    He brings great news.
    [Exit Messenger]
    The raven himself is hoarse
    That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
    Under my battlements. Come, you spirits 390
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
    Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature 395
    Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
    The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
    Wherever in your sightless substances
    You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night, 400
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
    Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
    To cry 'Hold, hold!'
    [Enter MACBETH] 405
    Great Glamis! worthy Cawdor!
    Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!
    Thy letters have transported me beyond
    This ignorant present, and I feel now
    The future in the instant. 410
  • Macbeth. My dearest love,
    Duncan comes here to-night.
  • Lady Macbeth. And when goes hence?
  • Macbeth. To-morrow, as he purposes.
  • Lady Macbeth. O, never 415
    Shall sun that morrow see!
    Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
    May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
    Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
    Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, 420
    But be the serpent under't. He that's coming
    Must be provided for: and you shall put
    This night's great business into my dispatch;
    Which shall to all our nights and days to come
    Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 425
  • Macbeth. We will speak further.
  • Lady Macbeth. Only look up clear;
    To alter favour ever is to fear:
    Leave all the rest to me.



Act I, Scene 6

Before Macbeth’s castle.


[Hautboys and torches. Enter DUNCAN, MALCOLM,] [p]DONALBAIN, BANQUO, LENNOX, MACDUFF, ROSS, ANGUS, and Attendants]

  • Duncan. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
    Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
    Unto our gentle senses. 435
  • Banquo. This guest of summer,
    The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
    By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
    Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird 440
    Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
    The air is delicate.


  • Duncan. See, see, our honour'd hostess! 445
    The love that follows us sometime is our trouble,
    Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you
    How you shall bid God 'ild us for your pains,
    And thank us for your trouble.
  • Lady Macbeth. All our service 450
    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,
    And the late dignities heap'd up to them, 455
    We rest your hermits.
  • Duncan. Where's the thane of Cawdor?
    We coursed him at the heels, and had a purpose
    To be his purveyor: but he rides well;
    And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him 460
    To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,
    We are your guest to-night.
  • Lady Macbeth. Your servants ever
    Have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt,
    To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 465
    Still to return your own.
  • Duncan. Give me your hand;
    Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
    And shall continue our graces towards him.
    By your leave, hostess. 470



Act I, Scene 7

Macbeth’s castle.


[Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers] [p]Servants with dishes and service, and pass over the stage. Then enter MACBETH]

  • Macbeth. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly: if the assassination 475
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success; that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases 480
    We still have judgment here; that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
    To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
    To our own lips. He's here in double trust; 485
    First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
    Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
    Who should against his murderer shut the door,
    Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 490
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off;
    And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
    Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed 495
    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
    That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
    To prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself 500
    And falls on the other.
    [Enter LADY MACBETH]
    How now! what news?
  • Lady Macbeth. He has almost supp'd: why have you left the chamber?
  • Macbeth. Hath he ask'd for me? 505
  • Lady Macbeth. Know you not he has?
  • Macbeth. We will proceed no further in this business:
    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, 510
    Not cast aside so soon.
  • Lady Macbeth. Was the hope drunk
    Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
    And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
    At what it did so freely? From this time 515
    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,
    And live a coward in thine own esteem, 520
    Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
    Like the poor cat i' the adage?
  • Macbeth. Prithee, peace:
    I dare do all that may become a man;
    Who dares do more is none. 525
  • Lady Macbeth. What beast was't, then,
    That made you break this enterprise to me?
    When you durst do it, then you were a man;
    And, to be more than what you were, you would
    Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place 530
    Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
    They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
    Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
    How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
    I would, while it was smiling in my face, 535
    Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
    And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
    Have done to this.
  • Macbeth. If we should fail?
  • Lady Macbeth. We fail! 540
    But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
    And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep—
    Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey
    Soundly invite him—his two chamberlains
    Will I with wine and wassail so convince 545
    That memory, the warder of the brain,
    Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
    A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
    Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
    What cannot you and I perform upon 550
    The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
    His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
    Of our great quell?
  • Macbeth. Bring forth men-children only;
    For thy undaunted mettle should compose 555
    Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
    When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
    Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
    That they have done't?
  • Lady Macbeth. Who dares receive it other, 560
    As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
    Upon his death?
  • Macbeth. I am settled, and bend up
    Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
    Away, and mock the time with fairest show: 565
    False face must hide what the false heart doth know.



Act II, Scene 1

Court of Macbeth’s castle.


[Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE bearing a torch before him]

  • Banquo. How goes the night, boy?
  • Fleance. The moon is down; I have not heard the clock. 570
  • Banquo. And she goes down at twelve.
  • Fleance. I take't, 'tis later, sir.
  • Banquo. Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven;
    Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
    A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, 575
    And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers,
    Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
    Gives way to in repose!
    [Enter MACBETH, and a Servant with a torch]
    Give me my sword. 580
    Who's there?
  • Macbeth. A friend.
  • Banquo. What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's a-bed:
    He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
    Sent forth great largess to your offices. 585
    This diamond he greets your wife withal,
    By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up
    In measureless content.
  • Macbeth. Being unprepared,
    Our will became the servant to defect; 590
    Which else should free have wrought.
  • Banquo. All's well.
    I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
    To you they have show'd some truth.
  • Macbeth. I think not of them: 595
    Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
    We would spend it in some words upon that business,
    If you would grant the time.
  • Banquo. At your kind'st leisure.
  • Macbeth. If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis, 600
    It shall make honour for you.
  • Banquo. So I lose none
    In seeking to augment it, but still keep
    My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
    I shall be counsell'd. 605
  • Macbeth. Good repose the while!
  • Banquo. Thanks, sir: the like to you!


  • Macbeth. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
    She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. 610
    [Exit Servant]
    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
    I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 615
    To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
    A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
    I see thee yet, in form as palpable
    As this which now I draw. 620
    Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
    And such an instrument I was to use.
    Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
    Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
    And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, 625
    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 halfworld
    Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
    The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates 630
    Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
    Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
    Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
    With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
    Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth, 635
    Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
    Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
    And take the present horror from the time,
    Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
    Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives. 640
    [A bell rings]
    I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
    Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
    That summons thee to heaven or to hell.



Act II, 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! Peace!
    It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman, 650
    Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it:
    The doors are open; and the surfeited grooms
    Do mock their charge with snores: I have drugg'd
    their possets,
    That death and nature do contend about them, 655
    Whether they live or die.
  • Macbeth. [Within] Who's there? what, ho!
  • Lady Macbeth. Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,
    And 'tis not done. The attempt and not the deed
    Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready; 660
    He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
    My father as he slept, I had done't.
    [Enter MACBETH]
    My husband!
  • Macbeth. I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? 665
  • Lady Macbeth. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
    Did not you speak?
  • Macbeth. When?
  • Lady Macbeth. Now.
  • Macbeth. As I descended? 670
  • Lady Macbeth. Ay.
  • Macbeth. Hark!
    Who lies i' the second chamber?
  • Lady Macbeth. Donalbain.
  • Macbeth. This is a sorry sight. 675

[Looking on his hands]

  • Lady Macbeth. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
  • Macbeth. There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried
    That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them: 680
    But they did say their prayers, and address'd them
    Again to sleep.
  • Lady Macbeth. There are two lodged together.
  • Macbeth. One cried 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the other;
    As they had seen me with these hangman's hands. 685
    Listening their fear, I could not say 'Amen,'
    When they did say 'God bless us!'
  • Lady Macbeth. Consider it not so deeply.
  • Macbeth. But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?
    I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen' 690
    Stuck in my throat.
  • Lady Macbeth. These deeds must not be thought
    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, 695
    Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
    The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
    Chief nourisher in life's feast,—
  • Lady Macbeth. What do you mean? 700
  • 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,
    You do unbend your noble strength, to think 705
    So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
    And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
    Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
    They must lie there: go carry them; and smear
    The sleepy grooms with blood. 710
  • Macbeth. I'll go no more:
    I am afraid to think what I have done;
    Look on't again I dare not.
  • Lady Macbeth. Infirm of purpose!
    Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead 715
    Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
    That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
    I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal;
    For it must seem their guilt.

[Exit. Knocking within]

  • Macbeth. Whence is that knocking?
    How is't with me, when every noise appals me?
    What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.
    Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
    Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather 725
    The multitudinous seas in incarnadine,
    Making the green one red.


  • Lady Macbeth. My hands are of your colour; but I shame
    To wear a heart so white. 730
    [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 735
    Hath left you unattended.
    [Knocking within]
    Hark! more knocking.
    Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us,
    And show us to be watchers. Be not lost 740
    So poorly in your thoughts.
  • Macbeth. To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.
    [Knocking within]
    Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst!



Act II, 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 turning the key.
    [Knocking within] 750
    knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of
    Beelzebub? Here's a farmer, that hanged
    himself on the expectation of plenty: come in
    time; have napkins enow about you; here 755
    you'll sweat for't.
    [Knocking within]
    knock! Who's there, in the other devil's
    name? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could 760
    swear in both the scales against either scale;
    who committed treason enough for God's sake,
    yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come
    in, equivocator.
    [Knocking within] 765
    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. 770
    [Knocking within]
    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 775
    some of all professions that go the primrose
    way to the everlasting bonfire.
    [Knocking within]
    Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

[Opens the gate]


  • Macduff. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
    That you do lie so late?
  • Porter. 'Faith sir, we were carousing till the
    second cock: and drink, sir, is a great 785
    provoker of three things.
  • Macduff. What three things does drink especially provoke?
  • Porter. Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and
    urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
    it provokes the desire, but it takes 790
    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 795
    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 on
    me: but I requited him for his lie; and, I 800
    think, being too strong for him, though he took
    up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast
  • Macduff. Is thy master stirring?
    [Enter MACBETH] 805
    Our knocking has awaked him; here he comes.
  • Lennox. Good morrow, noble sir.
  • Macbeth. Good morrow, both.
  • Macduff. Is the king stirring, worthy thane?
  • Macbeth. Not yet. 810
  • Macduff. He did command me to call timely on him:
    I have almost slipp'd the hour.
  • Macbeth. I'll bring you to him.
  • Macduff. I know this is a joyful trouble to you;
    But yet 'tis one. 815
  • Macbeth. The labour we delight in physics pain.
    This is the door.
  • Macduff. I'll make so bold to call,
    For 'tis my limited service.


  • Lennox. Goes the king hence to-day?
  • 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, 825
    And prophesying with accents terrible
    Of dire combustion and confused events
    New hatch'd to the woeful time: the obscure bird
    Clamour'd the livelong night: some say, the earth
    Was feverous and did shake. 830
  • Macbeth. 'Twas a rough night.
  • Lennox. My young remembrance cannot parallel
    A fellow to it.

[Re-enter MACDUFF]

  • Macduff. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart 835
    Cannot conceive nor name thee!
  • Macbeth. [with Lennox] What's the matter.
  • Macduff. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
    Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
    The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 840
    The life o' the building!
  • Macbeth. What is 't you say? the life?
  • Lennox. Mean you his majesty?
  • Macduff. Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
    With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak; 845
    See, and then speak yourselves.
    [Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX]
    Awake, awake!
    Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!
    Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake! 850
    Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
    And look on death itself! up, up, and see
    The great doom's image! Malcolm! Banquo!
    As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,
    To countenance this horror! Ring the bell. 855

[Bell rings]


  • Lady Macbeth. What's the business,
    That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
    The sleepers of the house? speak, speak! 860
  • Macduff. O gentle lady,
    'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
    The repetition, in a woman's ear,
    Would murder as it fell.
    [Enter BANQUO] 865
    O Banquo, Banquo,
    Our royal master 's murder'd!
  • Lady Macbeth. Woe, alas!
    What, in our house?
  • Banquo. Too cruel any where. 870
    Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
    And say it is not so.

[Re-enter MACBETH and LENNOX, with ROSS]

  • Macbeth. Had I but died an hour before this chance,
    I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant, 875
    There 's nothing serious in mortality:
    All is but toys: renown and grace is dead;
    The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
    Is left this vault to brag of.


  • Donalbain. What is amiss?
  • Macbeth. You are, and do not know't:
    The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
    Is stopp'd; the very source of it is stopp'd.
  • Macduff. Your royal father 's murder'd. 885
  • Malcolm. O, by whom?
  • Lennox. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done 't:
    Their hands and faces were an badged with blood;
    So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
    Upon their pillows: 890
    They stared, and were distracted; no man's life
    Was to be trusted with them.
  • Macbeth. O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
    That I did kill them.
  • Macduff. Wherefore did you so? 895
  • Macbeth. Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:
    The expedition my violent love
    Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
    His silver skin laced with his golden blood; 900
    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 daggers
    Unmannerly breech'd with gore: who could refrain,
    That had a heart to love, and in that heart 905
    Courage to make 's love known?
  • Lady Macbeth. Help me hence, ho!
  • Macduff. Look to the lady.
  • Malcolm. [Aside to DONALBAIN] Why do we hold our tongues,
    That most may claim this argument for ours? 910
  • Donalbain. [Aside to MALCOLM] What should be spoken here,
    where our fate,
    Hid in an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us?
    Let 's away;
    Our tears are not yet brew'd. 915
  • Malcolm. [Aside to DONALBAIN] Nor our strong sorrow
    Upon the foot of motion.
  • Banquo. Look to the lady:
    [LADY MACBETH is carried out]
    And when we have our naked frailties hid, 920
    That suffer in exposure, let us meet,
    And question this most bloody piece of work,
    To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us:
    In the great hand of God I stand; and thence
    Against the undivulged pretence I fight 925
    Of treasonous malice.
  • Macduff. And so do I.
  • All. So all.
  • Macbeth. Let's briefly put on manly readiness,
    And meet i' the hall together. 930
  • 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. 935
  • Donalbain. To Ireland, I; our separated fortune
    Shall keep us both the safer: where we are,
    There's daggers in men's smiles: the near in blood,
    The nearer bloody.
  • Malcolm. This murderous shaft that's shot 940
    Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
    Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse;
    And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
    But shift away: there's warrant in that theft
    Which steals itself, when there's no mercy left. 945



Act II, Scene 4

Outside Macbeth’s castle.


[Enter ROSS and an old Man]

  • Old Man. Threescore and ten I can remember well:
    Within the volume of which time I have seen
    Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night 950
    Hath trifled former knowings.
  • Ross. Ah, good father,
    Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act,
    Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, 'tis day,
    And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp: 955
    Is't night's predominance, or the day's shame,
    That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
    When living light should kiss it?
  • Old Man. 'Tis unnatural,
    Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last, 960
    A falcon, towering in her pride of place,
    Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.
  • Ross. And Duncan's horses—a thing most strange and certain—
    Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,
    Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, 965
    Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make
    War with mankind.
  • Old Man. 'Tis said they eat each other.
  • Ross. They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes
    That look'd upon't. Here comes the good Macduff. 970
    [Enter MACDUFF]
    How goes the world, sir, now?
  • Macduff. Why, see you not?
  • Ross. Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?
  • Macduff. Those that Macbeth hath slain. 975
  • Ross. Alas, the day!
    What good could they pretend?
  • Macduff. They were suborn'd:
    Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons,
    Are stol'n away and fled; which puts upon them 980
    Suspicion of the deed.
  • Ross. 'Gainst nature still!
    Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up
    Thine own life's means! Then 'tis most like
    The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth. 985
  • Macduff. He is already named, and gone to Scone
    To be invested.
  • Ross. Where is Duncan's body?
  • Macduff. Carried to Colmekill,
    The sacred storehouse of his predecessors, 990
    And guardian of their bones.
  • Ross. Will you to Scone?
  • Macduff. No, cousin, I'll to Fife.
  • Ross. Well, I will thither.
  • Macduff. Well, may you see things well done there: adieu! 995
    Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!
  • Ross. Farewell, father.
  • Old Man. God's benison go with you; and with those
    That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!



Act III, Scene 1

Forres. The palace.


[Enter BANQUO]

  • Banquo. Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,
    As the weird women promised, and, I fear,
    Thou play'dst most foully for't: yet it was said
    It should not stand in thy posterity, 1005
    But that myself should be the root and father
    Of many kings. If there come truth from them—
    As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—
    Why, by the verities on thee made good,
    May they not be my oracles as well, 1010
    And set me up in hope? But hush! no more.
    [Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king, LADY]
    MACBETH, as queen, LENNOX, ROSS, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants]
  • Macbeth. Here's our chief guest.
  • Lady Macbeth. If he had been forgotten, 1015
    It had been as a gap in our great feast,
    And all-thing unbecoming.
  • Macbeth. To-night we hold a solemn supper sir,
    And I'll request your presence.
  • Banquo. Let your highness 1020
    Command upon me; to the which my duties
    Are with a most indissoluble tie
    For ever knit.
  • Macbeth. Ride you this afternoon?
  • Banquo. Ay, my good lord. 1025
  • Macbeth. We should have else desired your good advice,
    Which still hath been both grave and prosperous,
    In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow.
    Is't far you ride?
  • Banquo. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 1030
    'Twixt this and supper: go not my horse the better,
    I must become a borrower of the night
    For a dark hour or twain.
  • Macbeth. Fail not our feast.
  • Banquo. My lord, I will not. 1035
  • Macbeth. We hear, our bloody cousins are bestow'd
    In England and in Ireland, not confessing
    Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
    With strange invention: but of that to-morrow,
    When therewithal we shall have cause of state 1040
    Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu,
    Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
  • Banquo. Ay, my good lord: our time does call upon 's.
  • Macbeth. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot;
    And so I do commend you to their backs. Farewell. 1045
    [Exit BANQUO]
    Let every man be master of his time
    Till seven at night: to make society
    The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
    Till supper-time alone: while then, God be with you! 1050
    [Exeunt all but MACBETH, and an attendant]
    Sirrah, a word with you: attend those men
    Our pleasure?
  • Attendant. They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
  • Macbeth. Bring them before us. 1055
    [Exit Attendant]
    To be thus is nothing;
    But to be safely thus.—Our fears in Banquo
    Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
    Reigns that which would be fear'd: 'tis much he dares; 1060
    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
    Whose being I do fear: and, under him,
    My Genius is rebuked; as, it is said, 1065
    Mark Antony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
    When first they put the name of king upon me,
    And bade them speak to him: then prophet-like
    They hail'd him father to a line of kings:
    Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, 1070
    And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
    Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
    No son of mine succeeding. If 't be so,
    For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind;
    For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd; 1075
    Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
    Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
    Given to the common enemy of man,
    To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
    Rather than so, come fate into the list. 1080
    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]
    Was it not yesterday we spoke together? 1085
  • First Murderer. It was, so please your highness.
  • Macbeth. Well then, now
    Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know
    That it was he in the times past which held you
    So under fortune, which you thought had been 1090
    Our innocent self: this I made good to you
    In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you,
    How you were borne in hand, how cross'd,
    the instruments,
    Who wrought with them, and all things else that might 1095
    To half a soul and to a notion crazed
    Say 'Thus did Banquo.'
  • 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 1100
    Your patience so predominant in your nature
    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? 1105
  • 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
    All by the name of dogs: the valued file 1110
    Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
    The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
    According to the gift which bounteous nature
    Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive
    Particular addition. from the bill 1115
    That writes them all alike: and so of men.
    Now, if you have a station in the file,
    Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say 't;
    And I will put that business in your bosoms,
    Whose execution takes your enemy off, 1120
    Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
    Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
    Which in his death were perfect.
  • Second Murderer. I am one, my liege,
    Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world 1125
    Have so incensed that I am reckless what
    I do to spite the world.
  • First Murderer. And I another
    So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
    That I would set my lie on any chance, 1130
    To mend it, or be rid on't.
  • Macbeth. Both of you
    Know Banquo was your enemy.
  • First Murderer. [with Second Murderer] True, my lord.
  • Macbeth. So is he mine; and in such bloody distance, 1135
    That every minute of his being thrusts
    Against my near'st of life: and though I could
    With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
    And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
    For certain friends that are both his and mine, 1140
    Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
    Who I myself struck down; and thence it is,
    That I to your assistance do make love,
    Masking the business from the common eye
    For sundry weighty reasons. 1145
  • 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
    I will advise you where to plant yourselves; 1150
    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
    That I require a clearness: and with him—
    To leave no rubs nor botches in the work— 1155
    Fleance his son, that keeps him company,
    Whose absence is no less material to me
    Than is his father's, must embrace the fate
    Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart:
    I'll come to you anon. 1160
  • First Murderer. [With Second Murderer] We are resolved, my lord.
  • 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. 1165



Act III, Scene 2

The palace.


[Enter LADY MACBETH and a Servant]

  • Lady Macbeth. Is Banquo gone from court?
  • Servant. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night.
  • Lady Macbeth. Say to the king, I would attend his leisure 1170
    For a few words.
  • Servant. Madam, I will.


  • Lady Macbeth. Nought's had, all's spent,
    Where our desire is got without content: 1175
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
    Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
    [Enter MACBETH]
    How now, my lord! why do you keep alone,
    Of sorriest fancies your companions making, 1180
    Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
    With them they think on? Things without all remedy
    Should be without regard: what's done is done.
  • Macbeth. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it:
    She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice 1185
    Remains in danger of her former tooth.
    But let the frame of things disjoint, both the
    worlds suffer,
    Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
    In the affliction of these terrible dreams 1190
    That shake us nightly: better be with the dead,
    Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
    Than on the torture of the mind to lie
    In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
    After life's fitful fever he sleeps well; 1195
    Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
    Can touch him further.
  • Lady Macbeth. Come on;
    Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks; 1200
    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;
    Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
    Unsafe the while, that we 1205
    Must lave our honours in these flattering streams,
    And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
    Disguising what they are.
  • Lady Macbeth. You must leave this.
  • Macbeth. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! 1210
    Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.
  • Lady Macbeth. But in them nature's copy's not eterne.
  • Macbeth. There's comfort yet; they are assailable;
    Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
    His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons 1215
    The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
  • Lady Macbeth. What's to be done?
  • Macbeth. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, 1220
    Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night,
    Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
    And with thy bloody and invisible hand
    Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
    Which keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow 1225
    Makes wing to the rooky wood:
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
    While 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. 1230
    So, prithee, go with me.



Act III, Scene 3

A park near the palace.


[Enter three Murderers]

  • First Murderer. But who did bid thee join with us?
  • Third Murderer. Macbeth. 1235
  • Second Murderer. He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers
    Our offices and what we have to do
    To the direction just.
  • First Murderer. Then stand with us.
    The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day: 1240
    Now spurs the lated traveller apace
    To gain the timely inn; and near approaches
    The subject of our watch.
  • Third Murderer. Hark! I hear horses.
  • Banquo. [Within] Give us a light there, ho! 1245
  • Second Murderer. Then 'tis he: the rest
    That are within the note of expectation
    Already are i' the court.
  • First Murderer. His horses go about.
  • Third Murderer. Almost a mile: but he does usually, 1250
    So all men do, from hence to the palace gate
    Make it their walk.
  • Second Murderer. A light, a light!

[Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE with a torch]

  • Third Murderer. 'Tis he. 1255
  • First Murderer. Stand to't.
  • 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! 1260
    Thou mayst revenge. O slave!

[Dies. FLEANCE escapes]

  • Third Murderer. Who did strike out the light?
  • First Murderer. Wast not the way?
  • Third Murderer. There's but one down; the son is fled. 1265
  • Second Murderer. We have lost
    Best half of our affair.
  • First Murderer. Well, let's away, and say how much is done.



Act III, Scene 4

The same. Hall in the palace.


[A banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH,] [p]ROSS, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants]

  • Macbeth. You know your own degrees; sit down: at first
    And last the hearty welcome.
  • Lords. Thanks to your majesty.
  • Macbeth. Ourself will mingle with society, 1275
    And play the humble host.
    Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
    We will require her welcome.
  • Lady Macbeth. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends;
    For my heart speaks they are welcome. 1280

[First Murderer appears at the door]

  • Macbeth. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
    Both sides are even: here I'll sit i' the midst:
    Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure
    The table round. 1285
    [Approaching the door]
    There's blood on thy face.
  • First Murderer. 'Tis Banquo's then.
  • Macbeth. 'Tis better thee without than he within.
    Is he dispatch'd? 1290
  • First Murderer. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.
  • Macbeth. Thou art the best o' the cut-throats: yet he's good
    That did the like for Fleance: if thou didst it,
    Thou art the nonpareil.
  • First Murderer. Most royal sir, 1295
    Fleance is 'scaped.
  • 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:
    But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in 1300
    To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo's safe?
  • First Murderer. Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides,
    With twenty trenched gashes on his head;
    The least a death to nature.
  • Macbeth. Thanks for that: 1305
    There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
    Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
    No teeth for the present. Get thee gone: to-morrow
    We'll hear, ourselves, again.

[Exit Murderer]

  • Lady Macbeth. My royal lord,
    You do not give the cheer: the feast is sold
    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; 1315
    Meeting were bare without it.
  • Macbeth. Sweet remembrancer!
    Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
    And health on both!
  • Lennox. May't please your highness sit. 1320
    [The GHOST OF BANQUO enters, and sits in]
    MACBETH's place]
  • Macbeth. Here had we now our country's honour roof'd,
    Were the graced person of our Banquo present;
    Who may I rather challenge for unkindness 1325
    Than pity for mischance!
  • Ross. His absence, sir,
    Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your highness
    To grace us with your royal company.
  • Macbeth. The table's full. 1330
  • Lennox. Here is a place reserved, sir.
  • Macbeth. Where?
  • Lennox. Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your highness?
  • Macbeth. Which of you have done this?
  • Lords. What, my good lord? 1335
  • Macbeth. Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
    Thy gory locks at me.
  • Ross. Gentlemen, rise: his highness is not well.
  • Lady Macbeth. Sit, worthy friends: my lord is often thus,
    And hath been from his youth: pray you, keep seat; 1340
    The fit is momentary; upon a thought
    He will again be well: if much you note him,
    You shall offend him and extend his passion:
    Feed, and regard him not. Are you a man?
  • Macbeth. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that 1345
    Which might appal the devil.
  • Lady Macbeth. O proper stuff!
    This is the very painting of your fear:
    This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said,
    Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts, 1350
    Impostors to true fear, would well become
    A woman's story at a winter's fire,
    Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
    Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
    You look but on a stool. 1355
  • Macbeth. Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo!
    how say you?
    Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
    If charnel-houses and our graves must send
    Those that we bury back, our monuments 1360
    Shall be the maws of kites.

[GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes]

  • Lady Macbeth. What, quite unmann'd in folly?
  • Macbeth. If I stand here, I saw him.
  • Lady Macbeth. Fie, for shame! 1365
  • Macbeth. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
    Ere human statute purged the gentle weal;
    Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
    Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,
    That, when the brains were out, the man would die, 1370
    And there an end; but now they rise again,
    With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
    And push us from our stools: this is more strange
    Than such a murder is.
  • Lady Macbeth. My worthy lord, 1375
    Your noble friends do lack you.
  • Macbeth. I do forget.
    Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends,
    I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
    To those that know me. Come, love and health to all; 1380
    Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine; fill full.
    I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
    And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
    Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,
    And all to all. 1385
  • Lords. Our duties, and the pledge.


  • Macbeth. Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!
    Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
    Thou hast no speculation in those eyes 1390
    Which thou dost glare with!
  • Lady Macbeth. Think of this, good peers,
    But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other;
    Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
  • Macbeth. What man dare, I dare: 1395
    Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
    The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
    Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
    Shall never tremble: or be alive again,
    And dare me to the desert with thy sword; 1400
    If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
    The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
    Unreal mockery, hence!
    [GHOST OF BANQUO vanishes]
    Why, so: being gone, 1405
    I am a man again. Pray you, sit still.
  • Lady Macbeth. You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
    With most admired disorder.
  • Macbeth. Can such things be,
    And overcome us like a summer's cloud, 1410
    Without our special wonder? You make me strange
    Even to the disposition that I owe,
    When now I think you can behold such sights,
    And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
    When mine is blanched with fear. 1415
  • Ross. What sights, my lord?
  • Lady Macbeth. I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
    Question enrages him. At once, good night:
    Stand not upon the order of your going,
    But go at once. 1420
  • Lennox. Good night; and better health
    Attend his majesty!
  • Lady Macbeth. A kind good night to all!

[Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH]

  • Macbeth. It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood: 1425
    Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
    Augurs and understood relations have
    By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?
  • Lady Macbeth. Almost at odds with morning, which is which. 1430
  • Macbeth. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person
    At our great bidding?
  • Lady Macbeth. Did you send to him, sir?
  • Macbeth. I hear it by the way; but I will send:
    There's not a one of them but in his house 1435
    I keep a servant fee'd. I will to-morrow,
    And betimes I will, to the weird sisters:
    More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
    By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
    All causes shall give way: I am in blood 1440
    Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
    Returning were as tedious as go o'er:
    Strange things I have in head, that will to hand;
    Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.
  • Lady Macbeth. You lack the season of all natures, sleep. 1445
  • Macbeth. Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
    Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
    We are yet but young in deed.



Act III, Scene 5

A Heath.


[Thunder. Enter the three Witches meeting HECATE]

  • First Witch. Why, how now, Hecate! you look angerly.
  • Hecate. Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
    Saucy and overbold? How did you dare
    To trade and traffic with Macbeth
    In riddles and affairs of death; 1455
    And I, the mistress of your charms,
    The close contriver of all harms,
    Was never call'd to bear my part,
    Or show the glory of our art?
    And, which is worse, all you have done 1460
    Hath been but for a wayward son,
    Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
    Loves for his own ends, not for you.
    But make amends now: get you gone,
    And at the pit of Acheron 1465
    Meet me i' the morning: thither he
    Will come to know his destiny:
    Your vessels and your spells provide,
    Your charms and every thing beside.
    I am for the air; this night I'll spend 1470
    Unto a dismal and a fatal end:
    Great business must be wrought ere noon:
    Upon the corner of the moon
    There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
    I'll catch it ere it come to ground: 1475
    And that distill'd by magic sleights
    Shall raise such artificial sprites
    As by the strength of their illusion
    Shall draw him on to his confusion:
    He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear 1480
    He hopes 'bove wisdom, grace and fear:
    And you all know, security
    Is mortals' chiefest enemy.
    [Music and a song within: 'Come away, come away,' &c]
    Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see, 1485
    Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me.


  • First Witch. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.



Act III, Scene 6

Forres. The palace.


[Enter LENNOX and another Lord]

  • Lennox. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,
    Which can interpret further: only, I say,
    Things have been strangely borne. The
    gracious Duncan
    Was pitied of Macbeth: marry, he was dead: 1495
    And the right-valiant Banquo walk'd too late;
    Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd,
    For Fleance fled: men must not walk too late.
    Who cannot want the thought how monstrous
    It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain 1500
    To kill their gracious father? damned fact!
    How it did grieve Macbeth! did he not straight
    In pious rage the two delinquents tear,
    That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?
    Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too; 1505
    For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive
    To hear the men deny't. So that, I say,
    He has borne all things well: and I do think
    That had he Duncan's sons under his key—
    As, an't please heaven, he shall not—they 1510
    should find
    What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.
    But, peace! for from broad words and 'cause he fail'd
    His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear
    Macduff lives in disgrace: sir, can you tell 1515
    Where he bestows himself?
  • Lord. The son of Duncan,
    From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth
    Lives in the English court, and is received
    Of the most pious Edward with such grace 1520
    That the malevolence of fortune nothing
    Takes from his high respect: thither Macduff
    Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid
    To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward:
    That, by the help of these—with Him above 1525
    To ratify the work—we may again
    Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights,
    Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,
    Do faithful homage and receive free honours:
    All which we pine for now: and this report 1530
    Hath so exasperate the king that he
    Prepares for some attempt of war.
  • Lennox. Sent he to Macduff?
  • Lord. He did: and with an absolute 'Sir, not I,'
    The cloudy messenger turns me his back, 1535
    And hums, as who should say 'You'll rue the time
    That clogs me with this answer.'
  • Lennox. And that well might
    Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance
    His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel 1540
    Fly to the court of England and unfold
    His message ere he come, that a swift blessing
    May soon return to this our suffering country
    Under a hand accursed!
  • Lord. I'll send my prayers with him. 1545



Act IV, Scene 1

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.


[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

  • First Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
  • Second Witch. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
  • Third Witch. Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time. 1550
  • First Witch. Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison'd entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter'd venom sleeping got, 1555
    Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.
  • All. Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
  • Second Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the cauldron boil and bake; 1560
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
    Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble, 1565
    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,
    Witches' mummy, maw and gulf 1570
    Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
    Liver of blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Silver'd in the moon's eclipse, 1575
    Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, 1580
    For the ingredients of our cauldron.
  • 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. 1585

[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]

  • Hecate. O well done! I commend your pains;
    And every one shall share i' the gains;
    And now about the cauldron sing,
    Live elves and fairies in a ring, 1590
    Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music and a song: 'Black spirits,' &c]

[HECATE retires]

  • Second Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes. 1595
    Open, locks,
    Whoever knocks!


  • Macbeth. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
    What is't you do? 1600
  • All. A deed without a name.
  • Macbeth. I conjure you, by that which you profess,
    Howe'er you come to know it, answer me:
    Though you untie the winds and let them fight
    Against the churches; though the yesty waves 1605
    Confound and swallow navigation up;
    Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
    Though castles topple on their warders' heads;
    Though palaces and pyramids do slope
    Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure 1610
    Of nature's germens tumble all together,
    Even till destruction sicken; answer me
    To what I ask you.
  • First Witch. Speak.
  • Second Witch. Demand. 1615
  • Third Witch. We'll answer.
  • First Witch. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths,
    Or from our masters?
  • Macbeth. Call 'em; let me see 'em.
  • First Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 1620
    Her nine farrow; grease that's sweaten
    From the murderer's gibbet throw
    Into the flame.
  • All. Come, high or low;
    Thyself and office deftly show! 1625

[Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head]

  • Macbeth. Tell me, thou unknown power,—
  • First Witch. He knows thy thought:
    Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
  • First Apparition. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; 1630
    Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.


  • Macbeth. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;
    Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one
    word more,— 1635
  • First Witch. He will not be commanded: here's another,
    More potent than the first.

[Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child]

  • Second Apparition. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!
  • Macbeth. Had I three ears, I'ld hear thee. 1640
  • Second Apparition. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
    The power of man, for none of woman born
    Shall harm Macbeth.


  • Macbeth. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee? 1645
    But yet I'll make assurance double sure,
    And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
    That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
    And sleep in spite of thunder.
    [Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand] 1650
    What is this
    That rises like the issue of a king,
    And wears upon his baby-brow the round
    And top of sovereignty?
  • All. Listen, but speak not to't. 1655
  • Third Apparition. Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care
    Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
    Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
    Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
    Shall come against him. 1660


  • Macbeth. That will never be
    Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
    Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
    Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood 1665
    Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth
    Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath
    To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
    Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art
    Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever 1670
    Reign in this kingdom?
  • All. Seek to know no more.
  • Macbeth. I will be satisfied: deny me this,
    And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
    Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this? 1675


  • First Witch. Show!
  • Second Witch. Show!
  • Third Witch. Show!
  • All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; 1680
    Come like shadows, so depart!
    [A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in]
    his hand; GHOST OF BANQUO following]
  • Macbeth. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down!
    Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair, 1685
    Thou other gold-bound brow, is like the first.
    A third is like the former. Filthy hags!
    Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!
    What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
    Another yet! A seventh! I'll see no more: 1690
    And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass
    Which shows me many more; and some I see
    That two-fold balls and treble scepters carry:
    Horrible sight! Now, I see, 'tis true;
    For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me, 1695
    And points at them for his.
    [Apparitions vanish]
    What, is this so?
  • First Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
    Stands Macbeth thus amazedly? 1700
    Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
    And show the best of our delights:
    I'll charm the air to give a sound,
    While you perform your antic round:
    That this great king may kindly say, 1705
    Our duties did his welcome pay.

[Music. The witches dance and then vanish, with HECATE]

  • Macbeth. Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
    Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
    Come in, without there! 1710

[Enter LENNOX]

  • Lennox. What's your grace's will?
  • Macbeth. Saw you the weird sisters?
  • Lennox. No, my lord.
  • Macbeth. Came they not by you? 1715
  • 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?
  • Lennox. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word 1720
    Macduff is fled to England.
  • Macbeth. Fled to England!
  • Lennox. Ay, my good lord.
  • Macbeth. Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:
    The flighty purpose never is o'ertook 1725
    Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
    The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
    To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
    The castle of Macduff I will surprise; 1730
    Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
    His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
    That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
    This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
    But no more sights!—Where are these gentlemen? 1735
    Come, bring me where they are.



Act IV, 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. 1740
  • Lady Macduff. He had none:
    His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
    Our fears do make us traitors.
  • Ross. You know not
    Whether it was his wisdom or his fear. 1745
  • Lady Macduff. Wisdom! to leave his wife, to leave his babes,
    His mansion and his titles in a place
    From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
    He wants the natural touch: for the poor wren,
    The most diminutive of birds, will fight, 1750
    Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
    All is the fear and nothing is the love;
    As little is the wisdom, where the flight
    So runs against all reason.
  • Ross. My dearest coz, 1755
    I pray you, school yourself: but for your husband,
    He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
    The fits o' the season. I dare not speak
    much further;
    But cruel are the times, when we are traitors 1760
    And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
    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: 1765
    Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
    To what they were before. My pretty cousin,
    Blessing upon you!
  • Lady Macduff. Father'd he is, and yet he's fatherless.
  • Ross. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer, 1770
    It would be my disgrace and your discomfort:
    I take my leave at once.


  • Lady Macduff. Sirrah, your father's dead;
    And what will you do now? How will you live? 1775
  • Son. As birds do, mother.
  • Lady Macduff. What, with worms and flies?
  • Son. With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
  • Lady Macduff. Poor bird! thou'ldst never fear the net nor lime,
    The pitfall nor the gin. 1780
  • Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set for.
    My father is not dead, for all your saying.
  • Lady Macduff. Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
  • Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband?
  • Lady Macduff. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market. 1785
  • Son. Then you'll buy 'em to sell again.
  • Lady Macduff. Thou speak'st with all thy wit: and yet, i' faith,
    With wit enough for thee.
  • Son. Was my father a traitor, mother?
  • Lady Macduff. Ay, that he was. 1790
  • 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.
  • Son. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie? 1795
  • Lady Macduff. Every one.
  • Son. Who must hang them?
  • Lady Macduff. Why, the honest men.
  • Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools,
    for there are liars and swearers enow to beat 1800
    the honest men and hang up them.
  • Lady Macduff. Now, God help thee, poor monkey!
    But how wilt thou do for a father?
  • Son. If he were dead, you'ld weep for
    him: if you would not, it were a good sign 1805
    that I should quickly have a new father.
  • Lady Macduff. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st!

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known,
    Though in your state of honour I am perfect. 1810
    I doubt some danger does approach you nearly:
    If you will take a homely man's advice,
    Be not found here; hence, with your little ones.
    To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage;
    To do worse to you were fell cruelty, 1815
    Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve you!
    I dare abide no longer.


  • Lady Macduff. Whither should I fly?
    I have done no harm. But I remember now 1820
    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,
    To say I have done no harm? 1825
    [Enter Murderers]
    What are these faces?
  • First Murderer. Where is your husband?
  • Lady Macduff. I hope, in no place so unsanctified
    Where such as thou mayst find him. 1830
  • First Murderer. He's a traitor.
  • Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain!
  • First Murderer. What, you egg!
    [Stabbing him]
    Young fry of treachery! 1835
  • Son. He has kill'd me, mother:
    Run away, I pray you!
    [Exit LADY MACDUFF, crying 'Murder!' Exeunt]
    Murderers, following her] 1840


Act IV, Scene 3

England. Before the King’s palace.



  • Malcolm. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
    Weep our sad bosoms empty.
  • Macduff. Let us rather
    Hold fast the mortal sword, and like good men 1845
    Bestride our down-fall'n birthdom: each new morn
    New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
    Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
    As if it felt with Scotland and yell'd out
    Like syllable of dolour. 1850
  • Malcolm. What I believe I'll wail,
    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, 1855
    Was once thought honest: you have loved him well.
    He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young;
    but something
    You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
    To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb 1860
    To appease an angry god.
  • Macduff. I am not treacherous.
  • Malcolm. But Macbeth is.
    A good and virtuous nature may recoil
    In an imperial charge. But I shall crave 1865
    your pardon;
    That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose:
    Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
    Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
    Yet grace must still look so. 1870
  • 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, 1875
    Let not my jealousies be your dishonours,
    But mine own safeties. You may be rightly just,
    Whatever I shall think.
  • Macduff. Bleed, bleed, poor country!
    Great tyranny! lay thou thy basis sure, 1880
    For goodness dare not cheque thee: wear thou
    thy wrongs;
    The title is affeer'd! Fare thee well, lord:
    I would not be the villain that thou think'st
    For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp, 1885
    And the rich East to boot.
  • Malcolm. Be not offended:
    I speak not as in absolute fear of you.
    I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
    It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash 1890
    Is added to her wounds: I think withal
    There would be hands uplifted in my right;
    And here from gracious England have I offer
    Of goodly thousands: but, for all this,
    When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head, 1895
    Or wear it on my sword, yet my poor country
    Shall have more vices than it had before,
    More suffer and more sundry ways than ever,
    By him that shall succeed.
  • Macduff. What should he be? 1900
  • Malcolm. It is myself I mean: in whom I know
    All the particulars of vice so grafted
    That, when they shall be open'd, black Macbeth
    Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state
    Esteem him as a lamb, being compared 1905
    With my confineless harms.
  • Macduff. Not in the legions
    Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd
    In evils to top Macbeth.
  • Malcolm. I grant him bloody, 1910
    Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
    Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
    That has a name: but there's no bottom, none,
    In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
    Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up 1915
    The cistern of my lust, and my desire
    All continent impediments would o'erbear
    That did oppose my will: better Macbeth
    Than such an one to reign.
  • Macduff. Boundless intemperance 1920
    In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
    The untimely emptying of the happy throne
    And fall of many kings. But fear not yet
    To take upon you what is yours: you may
    Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty, 1925
    And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink.
    We have willing dames enough: there cannot be
    That vulture in you, to devour so many
    As will to greatness dedicate themselves,
    Finding it so inclined. 1930
  • Malcolm. With this there grows
    In my most ill-composed affection such
    A stanchless avarice that, were I king,
    I should cut off the nobles for their lands,
    Desire his jewels and this other's house: 1935
    And my more-having would be as a sauce
    To make me hunger more; that I should forge
    Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal,
    Destroying them for wealth.
  • Macduff. This avarice 1940
    Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root
    Than summer-seeming lust, and it hath been
    The sword of our slain kings: yet do not fear;
    Scotland hath foisons to fill up your will.
    Of your mere own: all these are portable, 1945
    With other graces weigh'd.
  • Malcolm. But I have none: the king-becoming graces,
    As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
    Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
    Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, 1950
    I have no relish of them, but abound
    In the division of each several crime,
    Acting it many ways. Nay, had I power, I should
    Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
    Uproar the universal peace, confound 1955
    All unity on earth.
  • Macduff. O Scotland, Scotland!
  • Malcolm. If such a one be fit to govern, speak:
    I am as I have spoken.
  • Macduff. Fit to govern! 1960
    No, not to live. O nation miserable,
    With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,
    When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again,
    Since that the truest issue of thy throne
    By his own interdiction stands accursed, 1965
    And does blaspheme his breed? Thy royal father
    Was a most sainted king: the queen that bore thee,
    Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
    Died every day she lived. Fare thee well!
    These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself 1970
    Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast,
    Thy hope ends here!
  • Malcolm. Macduff, this noble passion,
    Child of integrity, hath from my soul
    Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts 1975
    To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth
    By many of these trains hath sought to win me
    Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me
    From over-credulous haste: but God above
    Deal between thee and me! for even now 1980
    I put myself to thy direction, and
    Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
    The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
    For strangers to my nature. I am yet
    Unknown to woman, never was forsworn, 1985
    Scarcely have coveted what was mine own,
    At no time broke my faith, would not betray
    The devil to his fellow and delight
    No less in truth than life: my first false speaking
    Was this upon myself: what I am truly, 1990
    Is thine and my poor country's to command:
    Whither indeed, before thy here-approach,
    Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men,
    Already at a point, was setting forth.
    Now we'll together; and the chance of goodness 1995
    Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?
  • Macduff. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
    'Tis hard to reconcile.

[Enter a Doctor]

  • Malcolm. Well; more anon.—Comes the king forth, I pray you? 2000
  • Doctor. Ay, sir; there are a crew of wretched souls
    That stay his cure: their malady convinces
    The great assay of art; but at his touch—
    Such sanctity hath heaven given his hand—
    They presently amend. 2005
  • Malcolm. I thank you, doctor.

[Exit Doctor]

  • Macduff. What's the disease he means?
  • Malcolm. 'Tis call'd the evil:
    A most miraculous work in this good king; 2010
    Which often, since my here-remain in England,
    I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
    Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
    All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
    The mere despair of surgery, he cures, 2015
    Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
    Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
    To the succeeding royalty he leaves
    The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
    He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy, 2020
    And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
    That speak him full of grace.

[Enter ROSS]

  • Macduff. See, who comes here?
  • Malcolm. My countryman; but yet I know him not. 2025
  • Macduff. My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.
  • Malcolm. I know him now. Good God, betimes remove
    The means that makes us strangers!
  • Ross. Sir, amen.
  • Macduff. Stands Scotland where it did? 2030
  • Ross. Alas, poor country!
    Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
    Be call'd our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
    But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
    Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air 2035
    Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
    A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
    Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives
    Expire before the flowers in their caps,
    Dying or ere they sicken. 2040
  • Macduff. O, relation
    Too nice, and yet too true!
  • Malcolm. What's the newest grief?
  • Ross. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker:
    Each minute teems a new one. 2045
  • Macduff. How does my wife?
  • Ross. Why, well.
  • Macduff. And all my children?
  • Ross. Well too.
  • Macduff. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace? 2050
  • Ross. No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
  • Macduff. But 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; 2055
    Which was to my belief witness'd 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,
    To doff their dire distresses. 2060
  • Malcolm. Be't their comfort
    We are coming thither: gracious England hath
    Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men;
    An older and a better soldier none
    That Christendom gives out. 2065
  • Ross. Would I could answer
    This comfort with the like! But I have words
    That would be howl'd out in the desert air,
    Where hearing should not latch them.
  • Macduff. What concern they? 2070
    The general cause? or is it a fee-grief
    Due to some single breast?
  • Ross. No mind that's honest
    But in it shares some woe; though the main part
    Pertains to you alone. 2075
  • 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
    That ever yet they heard. 2080
  • Macduff. Hum! I guess at it.
  • Ross. Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
    Savagely slaughter'd: to relate the manner,
    Were, on the quarry of these murder'd deer,
    To add the death of you. 2085
  • Malcolm. Merciful heaven!
    What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows;
    Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
    Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
  • Macduff. My children too? 2090
  • Ross. Wife, children, servants, all
    That could be found.
  • Macduff. And I must be from thence!
    My wife kill'd too?
  • Ross. I have said. 2095
  • Malcolm. Be comforted:
    Let's make us medicines of our great revenge,
    To cure this deadly grief.
  • Macduff. He has no children. All my pretty ones?
    Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? 2100
    What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
    At one fell swoop?
  • Malcolm. Dispute it like a man.
  • Macduff. I shall do so;
    But I must also feel it as a man: 2105
    I cannot but remember such things were,
    That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on,
    And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
    They were all struck for thee! naught that I am,
    Not for their own demerits, but for mine, 2110
    Fell slaughter on their souls. Heaven rest them now!
  • Malcolm. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief
    Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it.
  • Macduff. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes
    And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens, 2115
    Cut short all intermission; front to front
    Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself;
    Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
    Heaven forgive him too!
  • Malcolm. This tune goes manly. 2120
    Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
    Our lack is nothing but our leave; Macbeth
    Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above
    Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you may:
    The night is long that never finds the day. 2125



Act V, Scene 1

Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.


[Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman]

  • Doctor. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive
    no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?
  • Gentlewoman. Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen 2130
    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.
  • Doctor. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once 2135
    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?
  • Gentlewoman. That, sir, which I will not report after her. 2140
  • Doctor. You may to me: and 'tis most meet you should.
  • Gentlewoman. Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to
    confirm my speech.
    [Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper]
    Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; 2145
    and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
  • Doctor. How came she by that light?
  • Gentlewoman. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her
    continually; 'tis her command.
  • Doctor. You see, her eyes are open. 2150
  • Gentlewoman. Ay, but their sense is shut.
  • Doctor. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
  • Gentlewoman. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
    washing her hands: I have known her continue in
    this a quarter of an hour. 2155
  • 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 2160
    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.
  • Doctor. Do you mark that? 2165
  • Lady Macbeth. The thane of Fife 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. 2170
  • Gentlewoman. 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! 2175
  • Doctor. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.
  • Gentlewoman. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
    dignity of the whole body.
  • Doctor. Well, well, well,—
  • Gentlewoman. Pray God it be, sir. 2180
  • Doctor. This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known
    those which have walked in their sleep who have died
    holily in their beds.
  • Lady Macbeth. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so
    pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he 2185
    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! 2190


  • Doctor. Will she go now to bed?
  • Gentlewoman. Directly.
  • Doctor. Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
    Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds 2195
    To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
    More needs she the divine than the physician.
    God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
    Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
    And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night: 2200
    My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
    I think, but dare not speak.
  • Gentlewoman. Good night, good doctor.



Act V, Scene 2

The country near Dunsinane.


[Drum and colours. Enter MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS,] [p]LENNOX, and Soldiers]

  • Menteith. The English power is near, led on by Malcolm,
    His uncle Siward and the good Macduff:
    Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes
    Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm 2210
    Excite the mortified man.
  • Angus. Near Birnam wood
    Shall we well meet them; that way are they coming.
  • Caithness. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?
  • Lennox. For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file 2215
    Of all the gentry: there is Siward's son,
    And many unrough youths that even now
    Protest their first of manhood.
  • Menteith. What does the tyrant?
  • Caithness. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies: 2220
    Some say he's mad; others that lesser hate him
    Do call it valiant fury: but, for certain,
    He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
    Within the belt of rule.
  • Angus. Now does he feel 2225
    His secret murders sticking on his hands;
    Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
    Those he commands move only in command,
    Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
    Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe 2230
    Upon a dwarfish thief.
  • Menteith. Who then shall blame
    His pester'd senses to recoil and start,
    When all that is within him does condemn
    Itself for being there? 2235
  • Caithness. Well, march we on,
    To give obedience where 'tis truly owed:
    Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal,
    And with him pour we in our country's purge
    Each drop of us. 2240
  • Lennox. Or so much as it needs,
    To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds.
    Make we our march towards Birnam.

[Exeunt, marching]


Act V, 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,
    I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
    Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
    All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus: 2250
    'Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of woman
    Shall e'er have power upon thee.' Then fly,
    false thanes,
    And mingle with the English epicures:
    The mind I sway by and the heart I bear 2255
    Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.
    [Enter a Servant]
    The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
    Where got'st thou that goose look?
  • Servant. There is ten thousand— 2260
  • Macbeth. Geese, villain!
  • Servant. Soldiers, sir.
  • Macbeth. Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
    Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch?
    Death of thy soul! those linen cheeks of thine 2265
    Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
  • Servant. The English force, so please you.
  • Macbeth. Take thy face hence.
    [Exit Servant]
    Seyton!—I am sick at heart, 2270
    When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push
    Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
    I have lived long enough: my way of life
    Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
    And that which should accompany old age, 2275
    As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
    I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
    Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
    Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Seyton!

[Enter SEYTON]

  • Seyton. What is your gracious pleasure?
  • 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. 2285
  • Seyton. 'Tis not needed yet.
  • Macbeth. I'll put it on.
    Send out more horses; skirr the country round;
    Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour.
    How does your patient, doctor? 2290
  • Doctor. Not so sick, my lord,
    As she is troubled with thick coming fancies,
    That keep her from her rest.
  • Macbeth. Cure her of that.
    Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, 2295
    Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
    Raze out the written troubles of the brain
    And with some sweet oblivious antidote
    Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
    Which weighs upon the heart? 2300
  • Doctor. Therein the patient
    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. 2305
    Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast
    The water of my land, find her disease,
    And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
    I would applaud thee to the very echo,
    That should applaud again.—Pull't off, I say.— 2310
    What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug,
    Would scour these English hence? Hear'st thou of them?
  • Doctor. Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation
    Makes us hear something.
  • Macbeth. Bring it after me. 2315
    I will not be afraid of death and bane,
    Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.
  • Doctor. [Aside] Were I from Dunsinane away and clear,
    Profit again should hardly draw me here.



Act V, Scene 4

Country near Birnam wood.


[Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG] [p]SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, [p]LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching]

  • Malcolm. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
    That chambers will be safe. 2325
  • Menteith. We doubt it nothing.
  • Siward. What wood is this before us?
  • Menteith. The wood of Birnam.
  • Malcolm. Let every soldier hew him down a bough
    And bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow 2330
    The numbers of our host and make discovery
    Err in report of us.
  • Soldiers. It shall be done.
  • Siward. We learn no other but the confident tyrant
    Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure 2335
    Our setting down before 't.
  • Malcolm. 'Tis his main hope:
    For where there is advantage to be given,
    Both more and less have given him the revolt,
    And none serve with him but constrained things 2340
    Whose hearts are absent too.
  • Macduff. Let our just censures
    Attend the true event, and put we on
    Industrious soldiership.
  • Siward. The time approaches 2345
    That will with due decision make us know
    What we shall say we have and what we owe.
    Thoughts speculative their unsure hopes relate,
    But certain issue strokes must arbitrate:
    Towards which advance the war. 2350

[Exeunt, marching]


Act V, Scene 5

Dunsinane. Within the castle.


[Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours]

  • Macbeth. Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
    The cry is still 'They come:' our castle's strength
    Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie 2355
    Till famine and the ague eat them up:
    Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
    We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
    And beat them backward home.
    [A cry of women within] 2360
    What is that noise?
  • Seyton. It is the cry of women, my good lord.


  • Macbeth. I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
    The time has been, my senses would have cool'd 2365
    To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
    Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
    As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
    Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
    Cannot once start me. 2370
    [Re-enter SEYTON]
    Wherefore was that cry?
  • Seyton. The queen, my lord, is dead.
  • Macbeth. She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word. 2375
    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    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! 2380
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing. 2385
    [Enter a Messenger]
    Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly.
  • Messenger. Gracious my lord,
    I should report that which I say I saw,
    But know not how to do it. 2390
  • Macbeth. Well, say, sir.
  • Messenger. As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
    I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
    The wood began to move.
  • Macbeth. Liar and slave! 2395
  • Messenger. Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
    Within this three mile may you see it coming;
    I say, a moving grove.
  • Macbeth. If thou speak'st false,
    Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive, 2400
    Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
    I care not if thou dost for me as much.
    I pull in resolution, and begin
    To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
    That lies like truth: 'Fear not, till Birnam wood 2405
    Do come to Dunsinane:' and now a wood
    Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
    If this which he avouches does appear,
    There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
    I gin to be aweary of the sun, 2410
    And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
    Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
    At least we'll die with harness on our back.



Act V, Scene 6

Dunsinane. Before the castle.


[Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD, MACDUFF,] [p]and their Army, with boughs]

  • Malcolm. Now near enough: your leafy screens throw down.
    And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle,
    Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son,
    Lead our first battle: worthy Macduff and we 2420
    Shall take upon 's what else remains to do,
    According to our order.
  • Siward. Fare you well.
    Do we but find the tyrant's power to-night,
    Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight. 2425
  • Macduff. Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,
    Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.



Act V, Scene 7

Another part of the field.


[Alarums. Enter MACBETH]

  • Macbeth. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, 2430
    But, bear-like, I must fight the course. What's he
    That was not born of woman? Such a one
    Am I to fear, or none.


  • Young Siward. What is thy name? 2435
  • Macbeth. Thou'lt be afraid to hear it.
  • Young Siward. No; though thou call'st thyself a hotter name
    Than any is in hell.
  • Macbeth. My name's Macbeth.
  • Young Siward. The devil himself could not pronounce a title 2440
    More hateful to mine ear.
  • Macbeth. No, nor more fearful.
  • Young Siward. Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
    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.


[Alarums. Enter MACDUFF]

  • Macduff. That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!
    If thou be'st slain and with no stroke of mine,
    My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still.
    I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms
    Are hired to bear their staves: either thou, Macbeth, 2455
    Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge
    I sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;
    By this great clatter, one of greatest note
    Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune!
    And more I beg not. 2460

[Exit. Alarums]


  • 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; 2465
    The day almost itself professes yours,
    And little is to do.
  • Malcolm. We have met with foes
    That strike beside us.
  • Siward. Enter, sir, the castle. 2470

[Exeunt. Alarums]


Act V, Scene 8

Another part of the field.



  • Macbeth. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
    On mine own sword? whiles I see lives, the gashes
    Do better upon them. 2475


  • Macduff. Turn, hell-hound, turn!
  • Macbeth. Of all men else I have avoided thee:
    But get thee back; my soul is too much charged
    With blood of thine already. 2480
  • Macduff. I have no words:
    My voice is in my sword: thou bloodier villain
    Than terms can give thee out!

[They fight]

  • Macbeth. Thou losest labour: 2485
    As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air
    With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed:
    Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
    I bear a charmed life, which must not yield,
    To one of woman born. 2490
  • Macduff. Despair thy charm;
    And let the angel whom thou still hast served
    Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
    Untimely ripp'd.
  • Macbeth. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so, 2495
    For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
    And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
    That palter with us in a double sense;
    That keep the word of promise to our ear,
    And break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee. 2500
  • 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 on a pole, and underwrit,
    'Here may you see the tyrant.' 2505
  • Macbeth. I will not yield,
    To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
    And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
    Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
    And thou opposed, being of no woman born, 2510
    Yet I will try the last. Before my body
    I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
    And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'
    [Exeunt, fighting. Alarums]
    [Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours,] 2515
    MALCOLM, SIWARD, ROSS, the other Thanes, and Soldiers]
  • Malcolm. I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.
  • Siward. Some must go off: and yet, by these I see,
    So great a day as this is cheaply bought.
  • Malcolm. Macduff is missing, and your noble son. 2520
  • Ross. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:
    He only lived but till he was a man;
    The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd
    In the unshrinking station where he fought,
    But like a man he died. 2525
  • Siward. Then he is dead?
  • Ross. Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
    Must not be measured by his worth, for then
    It hath no end.
  • Siward. Had he his hurts before? 2530
  • Ross. Ay, on the front.
  • Siward. Why then, God's soldier be he!
    Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
    I would not wish them to a fairer death:
    And so, his knell is knoll'd. 2535
  • Malcolm. He's worth more sorrow,
    And that I'll spend for him.
  • Siward. He's worth no more
    They say he parted well, and paid his score:
    And so, God be with him! Here comes newer comfort. 2540

[Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH's head]

  • Macduff. Hail, king! for so thou art: behold, where stands
    The usurper's cursed head: the time is free:
    I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl,
    That speak my salutation in their minds; 2545
    Whose voices I desire aloud with mine:
    Hail, King of Scotland!
  • All. Hail, King of Scotland!


  • Malcolm. We shall not spend a large expense of time 2550
    Before we reckon with your several loves,
    And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
    Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
    In such an honour named. What's more to do,
    Which would be planted newly with the time, 2555
    As calling home our exiled friends abroad
    That fled the snares of watchful tyranny;
    Producing forth the cruel ministers
    Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,
    Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands 2560
    Took off her life; this, and what needful else
    That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace,
    We will perform in measure, time and place:
    So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
    Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. 2565

[Flourish. Exeunt]