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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 3 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 2, Scene 3



Court of Macbeth's castle

Enter a PORTER. Knocking within

Enter a PORTER. Knocking within

PORTER

Hereís a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old [plenty of] turning the key.

(if he were the porter in hell, heíd have to turn the key a lot)

PORTER

Hereís a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key.

 

Knock within

Knock within

Knock, knock, knock! [pretending heís the porter in hell] Whoís there, i' th' name of Beelzebub [a devil]? Hereís a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty [he hoarded grain expecting a rise in prices]. [talking to the imaginary farmer] Come in time, have napkins [for wiping his brow] enough about you, here youíll sweat for ít.

Knock, knock, knock! Whoís there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Hereís a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here youíll sweat for ít.

Knock within

Knock within

Knock, knock! Whoís there, in th' other devilís name? Faith, hereís an equivocator [gave ambiguous answers at a trial] that could swear in both the scales against either scale [purposely ambiguous use of a word Ė scale - with several meanings], who committed treason enough for Godís sake [a contemporary priest lied for Godís sake], yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.

Knock, knock! Whoís there, in th' other devilís name? Faith, hereís an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for Godís sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.

Knock within

Knock within

Knock, knock, knock! Whoís there? Faith, hereís an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose [stole from one customerís order to make anotherís]. Come in, tailor. Here you may roast your goose [also, a pressing iron].

Knock, knock, knock! Whoís there? Faith, hereís an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor. Here you may roast your goose.

Knock within

Knock within

Knock, knock! Never at quiet. What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. Iíll devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose [soft and easy] way to the everlasting bonfire [hell].

Knock, knock! Never at quiet. What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. Iíll devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire.

Knock within

Knock within

Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter [leave a tip].

Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

Opens the gate

Opens the gate

Enter MACDUFF and LENNOX

Enter MACDUFF and LENNOX

MACDUFF

Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,

That you do lie so late?

(did you go to bed so late that you canít get up to answer the knocking now?)

 

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 (3 a.m.). And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

 

PORTER

'Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock. And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

 

MACDUFF

What three things does drink especially provoke?

 

MACDUFF

What three things does drink especially provoke?

 

PORTER

Marry, sir, nose-painting [colors the nose red], sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him and disheartens him, makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates [see above] him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie [a dream], leaves him.

 

PORTER

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.

 

MACDUFF

I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.

gave thee the lie=laid thee prostrate, like a wrestling opponent

 

MACDUFF

I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.

 

PORTER

[taking a lie to mean a falsehood] That it did, sir, i' th' very throat on me; but I requited him [got even with him] for his lie [lying prostrate], and, I think, being too strong for him, though he took up my legs [lifted me off my legs] sometimes, yet I made a shift [contrived] to cast him [cast him off].

 

PORTER

That it did, sir, i' th' very throat on me; but I requited him for his lie, and, I think, being too strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast him.

 

MACDUFF

Is thy master stirring?

 

MACDUFF

Is thy master stirring?

 

Enter MACBETH

Enter MACBETH

Our knocking has awaked him. Here he comes.

Our knocking has awaked him. Here he comes.

LENNOX

Good morrow, noble sir.

 

LENNOX

Good morrow, noble sir.

 

MACBETH

     Good morrow, both.

 

MACBETH

     Good morrow, both.

 

MACDUFF

Is the king stirring, worthy thane?

 

MACDUFF

Is the king stirring, worthy thane?

 

MACBETH

     Not yet.

 

MACBETH

     Not yet.

 

MACDUFF

He did command me to call timely on him.

timely=early

I have almost slipped the hour.

 

MACDUFF

He did command me to call timely on him.

I have almost slipped the hour.

 

MACBETH

     Iíll bring you to him.

 

MACBETH

     Iíll bring you to him.

 

MACDUFF

I know this is a joyful trouble to you,

But yet ítis one.

 

MACDUFF

I know this is a joyful trouble to you,

But yet ítis one.

 

MACBETH

The labor we delight in physics pain.

physics=is a medicine for

This is the door.

 

MACBETH

The labor we delight in physics pain.

This is the door.

 

MACDUFF

Iíll make so bold to call,

For ítis my limited service.

limited=appointed

 

MACDUFF

Iíll make so bold to call,

For ítis my limited service.

 

Exit MACDUFF

Exit MACDUFF

LENNOX

Goes the king hence today?

 

LENNOX

Goes the king hence today?

 

MACBETH

     He does. He did appoint so.

 

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' th' air, strange screams of death,

And prophesying with accents terrible

Of dire combustion and confused events

New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird

obscure bird=night-inhabiting owl

Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth

Was feverous and did shake.

(Elizabethans believed that there was a connection between natural events and events in their lives)

 

LENNOX

The night has been unruly. Where we lay,

Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,

Lamentings heard i' th' air, strange screams of death,

And prophesying with accents terrible

Of dire combustion and confused events

New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird

Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth

Was feverous and did shake.

 

MACBETH

     'Twas a rough night.

 

MACBETH

     'Twas a rough night.

 

LENNOX

My young remembrance cannot parallel

A fellow to it.

 

LENNOX

My young remembrance cannot parallel

A fellow to it.

 

Enter MACDUFF

Enter MACDUFF

MACDUFF

     O horror, horror, horror!

Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!

 

MACDUFF

     O horror, horror, horror!

Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!

 

MACBETH & LENNOX

Whatís the matter?

 

MACBETH & LENNOX

Whatís the matter?

 

MACDUFF

Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.

Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope

sacrilegious=law-breaking

The Lordís anointed temple and stole thence

The life o' th' building!

 

MACDUFF

Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.

Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope

The Lordís anointed temple, and stole thence

The life o' th' building!

 

MACBETH

     What is ít you say? ďThe lifeĒ?

 

MACBETH

     What is ít you say? ďThe lifeĒ?

 

LENNOX

Mean you his majesty?

 

LENNOX

Mean you his majesty?

 

MACDUFF

Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight

With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak.

Gorgon=mythical creature who turned to stone anyone who looked at her

See, and then speak yourselves.

 

MACDUFF

Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight

With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak.

See, and then speak yourselves.

 

Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX

Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX

Awake, awake!

Ring the alarum bell. Murder and treason!

Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! Awake!

Shake off this downy sleep, deathís counterfeit,

And look on death itself! Up, up, and see

The Great Doomís image! Malcolm! Banquo!

great doom=end of the world

As from your graves rise up and walk like sprites

sprites=ghosts

To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.

countenance=behold

 

Awake, awake!

Ring the alarum bell. Murder and treason!

Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! Awake!

Shake off this downy sleep, deathís counterfeit,

And look on death itself! Up, up, and see

The great doomís image! Malcolm! Banquo!

As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,

To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.

 

Bell rings. Enter LADY MACBETH

Bell rings. Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

Whatís the business,

That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley

hideous trumpet=clamor, such as at the Last Judgment

parley=conference

The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!

 

LADY MACBETH

Whatís the business,

That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley

The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!

 

MACDUFF

     O gentle lady,

'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:

The repetition, in a womanís ear,

Would murder as it fell [upon].

 

MACDUFF

     O gentle lady,

'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:

The repetition, in a womanís ear,

Would murder as it fell.

 

Enter BANQUO

Enter BANQUO

O Banquo, Banquo,

Our royal masterís murdered!

 

O Banquo, Banquo,

Our royal masterís murdered!

 

LADY MACBETH

     Woe, alas!

What, in our house?

 

LADY MACBETH

     Woe, alas!

What, in our house?

 

BANQUO

Too cruel any where.

Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,

And say it is not so.

 

BANQUO

Too cruel any where.

Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,

And say it is not so.

 

Enter MACBETH, LENNOX, and ROSS

Enter MACBETH, LENNOX, and ROSS

MACBETH

Had I but died an hour before this chance,

I had lived a blessŤd time, for from this instant

Thereís nothing serious in mortality.

serious in mortality=worthwhile in human life

All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead.

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees

drawn=poured out

lees=dregs

Is left this vault to brag of.

vault=world under the sky

 

MACBETH

Had I but died an hour before this chance,

I had lived a blessŤd time, for from this instant

Thereís 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.

 

Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

DONALBAIN

What is amiss?

 

DONALBAIN

What is amiss?

 

MACBETH

You are, and do not know ít.

The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood

Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.

 

MACBETH

You are, and do not know ít.

The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood

Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.

 

MACDUFF

Your royal fatherís murdered.

 

MACDUFF

Your royal fatherís murdered.

 

MALCOLM

     Oh, by whom?

 

MALCOLM

     Oh, by whom?

 

LENNOX

Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ít.

Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.

So were their daggers, which unwiped we found

Upon their pillows. They stared, and were distracted.

No manís life was to be trusted with them.

 

LENNOX

Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ít.

Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.

So were their daggers, which unwiped we found

Upon their pillows. They stared, and were distracted.

No manís life was to be trusted with them.

 

MACBETH

Oh, yet I do repent me of my fury,

That I did kill them.

 

MACBETH

Oh, yet I do repent me of my fury,

That I did kill them.

 

MACDUFF

Wherefore did you so?

 

MACDUFF

Wherefore did you so?

 

MACBETH

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

Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.

Th' expedition of my violent love

expedition=speedy action

Outran the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,

His silver skin laced with his golden blood,

And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature

For ruinís wasteful entrance; there, the murderers,

Steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers

Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain,

breeched=covered as with breeches?

That had a heart to love and in that heart

Courage to make ís love known?

to make Ďs love known=to act upon it

 

MACBETH

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

Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.

Th' expedition of my violent love

Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,

His silver skin laced with his golden blood,

And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature

For ruinís wasteful entrance; there, the murderers,

Steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers

Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain,

That had a heart to love, and in that heart

Courage to make ís love known?

 

LADY MACBETH

     Help me hence, ho!

 

LADY MACBETH

     Help me hence, ho!

 

MACDUFF

Look to the lady.

 

MACDUFF

Look to the lady.

 

MALCOLM

(aside to DONALBAIN ) Why do we hold our tongues,

That most may claim this argument for ours?

that=we who

argument=discussion

MALCOLM

(aside to DONALBAIN ) Why do we hold our tongues,

That most may claim this argument for ours?

 

DONALBAIN

(aside to MALCOLM) What should be spoken here, where our fate,

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

Letís away. Our tears are not yet brewed.

(danger, hidden, mightawait us)

 

DONALBAIN

(aside to MALCOLM) What should be spoken here, where our fate,

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

Letís away. Our tears are not yet brewed.

 

MALCOLM

(aside to DONALBAIN) Nor our strong sorrow

Upon the foot of motion.

(our strong sorrow is not yet moving us)

 

MALCOLM

(aside to DONALBAIN) Nor our strong sorrow

Upon the foot of motion.

 

BANQUO

     Look to the lady.

 

BANQUO

     Look to the lady.

 

Exit LADY MACBETH, attended

Exit LADY MACBETH, attended

And when we have our naked frailties hid,

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

thence=from there

Against the undivulged pretense I fight

undivulged pretense=secret design of treasonous malice

Of treasonous malice.

 

And when we have our naked frailties hid,

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 pretense I fight

Of treasonous malice.

 

MACDUFF

And so do I.

 

MACDUFF

And so do I.

 

ALL

     So all.

 

ALL

     So all.

 

MACBETH

Letís briefly put on manly readiness

And meet i' th' hall together.

 

MACBETH

Letís briefly put on manly readiness,

And meet i' th' hall together.

 

ALL

     Well contented.

 

ALL

     Well contented.

 

Exeunt all but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

Exeunt all but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

MALCOLM

What will you do? Letís not consort with them.

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office

Which the false man does easy. Iíll to England.

which the false man does easy=that the false man (he who is consorting) does easily

 

MALCOLM

What will you do? Letís not consort with them.

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office

Which the false man does easy. Iíll to England.

 

DONALBAIN

To Ireland, I. Our separated fortune

Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,

where we are=here

Thereís daggers in menís smiles. The near in blood,

The nearer bloody.

 

DONALBAIN

To Ireland, I. Our separated fortune

Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,

Thereís daggers in menís smiles. The near in blood,

The nearer bloody.

 

MALCOLM

This murderous shaft thatís shot

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way

lighted=spent its force

Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse,

And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,

But shift away. Thereís warrant in that theft

shift away=quietly disappear

warrant in that theft which steals itself=justification in that theft that steals itself

Which steals itself when thereís no mercy left.

 

MALCOLM

This murderous shaft thatís shot

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way

Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse,

And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,

But shift away. Thereís warrant in that theft

Which steals itself when thereís no mercy left.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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