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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 4 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 3, Scene 4



A hall in the palace

Banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and attendants.

Banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and attendants.

MACBETH

You know your own degrees [rank]; sit down. At first

And last [all, regardless of degree], the hearty welcome.

 

MACBETH

You know your own degrees; sit down. At first

And last, the hearty welcome.

 

The LORDS sit

The LORDS sit

LORDS

     Thanks to your majesty.

 

LORDS

     Thanks to your majesty.

 

MACBETH

Ourself will mingle with society

And play the humble host.

Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time

keeps her state=continues to sit in her chair of state

We will require her welcome.

 

MACBETH

Ourself will mingle with society

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.

 

LADY MACBETH

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

For my heart speaks they are welcome.

 

Enter FIRST MURDERER at the door

Enter FIRST MURDERER at the door

MACBETH

See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.

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

 both sides are even=both sides of the table are filled

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

measure=toast

The table round.

 

MACBETH

See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.

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

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

The table round.

 

(aside to FIRST MURDERER) There’s blood upon thy face.

(aside to FIRST MURDERER) There’s blood upon thy face.

FIRST MURDERER

'Tis Banquo’s then.

 

FIRST MURDERER

'Tis Banquo’s then.

 

MACBETH

'Tis better thee without than he within.

(better murderer’s outside than inside Banquo’s veins)

Is he dispatched?

 

MACBETH

'Tis better thee without than he within.

Is he dispatched?

 

FIRST MURDERER

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

 

FIRST MURDERER

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

 

MACBETH

Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats:

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

If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

nonpareil=absolute best

 

MACBETH

Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats:

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

If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

 

FIRST MURDERER

Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.

 

FIRST MURDERER

Most royal sir, 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 cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in

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

saucy=impudent

safe=safely dispatched

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 cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in

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

 

FIRST MURDERER

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

With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,

trenched=deep

The least a death to nature.

 

FIRST MURDERER

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

With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,

The least a death to nature.

 

MACBETH

     Thanks for that.

There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled

lies=is immobile

worm=Fleance

Hath nature that in time will venom breed;

No teeth for th' present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow

We’ll hear ourselves again.

 

MACBETH

     Thanks for that.

There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled

Hath nature that in time will venom breed;

No teeth for th' present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow

We’ll hear ourselves again.

 

Exit FIRST MURDERER

Exit FIRST MURDERER

LADY MACBETH

     My royal lord,

You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold

give the cheer=play the convivial host

sold=like a meal at an inn

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

vouched=asserted as a hosted party

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

From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;

from thence=away from home

Meeting were bare without it.

meeting were=formal gatheerings would be

(unless the guests are often welcomed, a feast is just a meal like one at home)

 

LADY MACBETH

     My royal lord,

You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold

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

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

From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;

Meeting were bare without it.

 

MACBETH

     Sweet remembrancer!

Now, good digestion wait on appetite,

(good digestion follows a good appetite)

And health on both!

(good health follows both good digestion and good appetite)

 

MACBETH

     Sweet remembrancer!

Now, good digestion wait on appetite,

And health on both!

 

LENNOX

May ’t please your highness sit.

 

LENNOX

May ’t please your highness sit.

 

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO, who sits in MACBETH’s place

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO, and sits in MACBETH’s place

MACBETH

Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,

our country’s honor roofed=all of Scotland’s nobility under one roof

[if only] Were the graced person of our Banquo present,

Who may I rather challenge for unkindness

unkindness=rudeness for not being here

Than pity for mischance.

mischance=something bad that has happened to him

 

MACBETH

Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,

Were the graced person of our Banquo present,

Who may I rather challenge for unkindness

Than pity for mischance.

 

ROSS

     His absence, sir,

Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your highness

To grace us with your royal company?

 

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.

 

MACBETH

The table’s full.

 

LENNOX

Here is a place reserved, sir.

 

LENNOX

Here is a place reserved, sir.

 

MACBETH

Where?

 

MACBETH

Where?

 

LENNOX

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

 

LENNOX

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

 

MACBETH

Which of you have done this?

 

MACBETH

Which of you have done this?

 

LORDS

     What, my good lord?

 

LORDS

     What, my good lord?

 

MACBETH

(to GHOST) Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake

Thy gory locks at me.

 

MACBETH

(to GHOST) Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake

Thy gory locks at me.

 

ROSS

Gentlemen, rise. His highness is not well.

 

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.

The fit is momentary; upon a thought

upon a thought=in a moment

He will again be well. If much you note him,

You shall offend him and extend his passion.

Feed and regard him not. (aside to MACBETH) Are you a man?

 

LADY MACBETH

Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus

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

The fit is momentary; upon a thought

He will again be well. If much you note him,

You shall offend him and extend his passion.

Feed and regard him not. (aside to MACBETH) Are you a man?

 

MACBETH

Ay, and a bold one that dare look on that

Which might appal the devil.

 

MACBETH

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

Which might appal the devil.

 

LADY MACBETH

     O proper stuff!

proper stuff=stuff and nonsense

This is the very painting of your fear.

painting=some artificial representation

This is the air-drawn dagger which you said

air-drawn=fanciful

Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts,

flaws and starts=outbursts

Impostors to true fear, would well become

A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,

Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!

grandam=grandmother

Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,

You look but on a stool.

on a stool=at a chair

 

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. Oh, these flaws and starts,

Impostors to true fear, would well become

A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,

Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!

Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,

You look but on a stool.

 

MACBETH

Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?

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

If charnel houses and our graves must send

charnel houses=storehouses for human bones

Those that we bury back, our monuments [now empty of ghosts]

Shall be the maws of kites.

maws of kites=stomachs of crows

(might as well let crows scavenge the bodies)

 

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

Shall be the maws of kites.

 

Exit GHOST

Exit GHOST

MACBETH

If I stand here, I saw him.

 

MACBETH

If I stand here, I saw him.

 

LADY MACBETH

     Fie, for shame!

 

LADY MACBETH

     Fie, for shame!

 

MACBETH

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

Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;

(before laws cleansed the commonwealth)

Ay, and since, too, murders have been performed

since=since then

Too terrible for the ear. The time has been

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

And there an end. But now they rise again

With twenty mortal murders on their crowns

(more than enough deadly wounds on their heads)

And push us from our stools. This is more strange

Than such a murder is.

 

MACBETH

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

Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;

Ay, and since too, murders have been performed

Too terrible for the ear. The time has been

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

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,

Your noble friends do lack you.

 

LADY MACBETH

My worthy lord,

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.

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

 

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.

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

 

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO

I drink to the general joy o' th' whole table,

And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;

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

And all to all.

 

I drink to the general joy o' th' whole table,

And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;

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

And all to all.

 

LORDS

     Our duties, and the pledge.

the pledge=the toast that you have proposed

 

LORDS

     Our duties, and the pledge.

 

They drink

They drink

MACBETH

(seeing the GHOST) Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the

earth hide thee.

avaunt=away!

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.

Thou hast no speculation in those eyes

speculation=vision

Which thou dost glare with!

 

MACBETH

(seeing the GHOST) Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.

Thou hast no speculation in those eyes

Which thou dost glare with!

 

LADY MACBETH

     Think of this, good peers,

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

custom=usual practice

Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

 

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.

Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,

like=in the likeness of

The armed rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger;

armed=armored

Hyrcan=from Hyrcania, near the Caspian Sea

Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves

that=the shape of the ghost of Banquo

Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,

And dare me to the desert with thy sword.

to the desert=to a deserted place

If trembling I inhabit then, protest me

protest=proclaim

The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!

baby=doll

Unreal mockery, hence!

 

MACBETH

What man dare, I dare.

Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,

The armed rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger;

Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves

Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,

And dare me to the desert with thy sword.

If trembling I inhabit then, protest me

The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!

Unreal mockery, hence!

 

Exit GHOST

Exit GHOST

Why so, being gone,

Why so, being gone,

Why so, being gone,

I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

 

Why so, being gone,

I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

 

LADY MACBETH

You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,

With most admired disorder.

admired=wondered at

 

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

Without our special wonder? You make me strange

strange=a stranger

Even to the disposition that I owe

owe=possess

When now I think you can behold such sights

And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks

When mine is blanched with fear.

 

MACBETH

     Can such things be,

And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,

Without our special wonder? You make me strange

Even to the disposition that I owe,

When now I think you can behold such sights,

And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,

When mine is blanched with fear.

 

ROSS

     What sights, my lord?

 

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.

 

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.

 

LENNOX

Good night, and better health

Attend his majesty!

 

LENNOX

Good night, and better health

Attend his majesty!

 

LADY MACBETH

A kind good night to all!

 

LADY MACBETH

A kind good night to all!

 

Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH

Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH

MACBETH

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

Stones have been known to move and trees to speak.

Augurs and understood relations have

augurs and understood relations=omens and occult significances

By magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth

magot pies=magpies

brought forth=revealed

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

secret’st man of blood=murderer

night=time of night

 

MACBETH

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

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.

 

LADY MACBETH

Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

 

MACBETH

How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person

At our great bidding?

 

MACBETH

How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person

At our great bidding?

 

LADY MACBETH

     Did you send to him, sir?

 

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

I keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow—

fee’s=paid to spy

And betimes I will—[go] to the weird sisters.

betimes=in the morning

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

causes=considerations

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

Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

returning=mending my ways

o’er=forward

Strange things I have in head, that will to hand,

will to hand=will be acted on

Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.

scanned=given consideration (thought about beforehand)

 

MACBETH

I hear it by the way; but I will send.

There’s not a one of them but in his house

I keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow—

And betimes I will—to the 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

Stepped 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 scanned.

 

LADY MACBETH

You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

 

LADY MACBETH

You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

 

MACBETH

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

strange=strange behavior

Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.

initiate=beginner’s

wants hard use=lacks experience

We are yet but young in deed.

 

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.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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