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The Tragedy of Macbeth

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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
  • 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
  • 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. 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.