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Lady Macbeth : " Nought's had, all's spent " 

Macbeth Act III Scene 2 

Copyright, 1901 





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The First Edition. Macbeth was first printed in the 
First Folio, where it occupies pp. 131 to 151, and is placed 
between Julius Cccsar and Hamlet. It is mentioned 
among the plays registered in the books of the Station- 
ers' Company by the publishers of the Folio as '' not 
formerly entered to other men." The text is perhaps 
one of the worst printed of all the plays, and textual 
criticism has been busy emending and explaining away 
the many difficulties of the play. Even the editors of 
the Second Folio were struck by the many hopeless 
corruptions, and attempted to provide a better text. 
The first printers certainly had before them a very 
faulty transcript, and critics have attempted to explain 
the discrepancies by assuming tha,t Shakespeare's 
original version had been tampered with by another 

"Macbeth" and Middleton^s " Witch." Some stri- 
king resemblances in the incantation scenes of Macbeth 
and Middleton's Witch have led to a somewhat generally 
accepted belief that Thomas Middleton was answerable 
for the alleged un-Shakespearian portions of Macbeth. 
This view has received confirmation from the fact that the 
stage-directions of Macbeth contain allusions to two 
songs which are found in Middleton's Witch (viz. " Come 
away, come aivay,'' III. v.; "Black Spirits and white," 
IV. i.). Moreover, these very songs are found in 


D'Avenant's re-cast of ]\Iacbeth (1674).* It is, however, 
possible that ]\Iiddleton took Shakespeare's songs and 
expanded them, and that D'Avenant had before him a 
copy containing additions transferred from Aliddleton's 
cognate scenes. This view is held by the most compe- 
tent of Middleton's editors, Mr. A. H. Bullen, who puts 
forward strong reasons for assigning the Witch to a later 
date than Macbeth, and rightly resents the proposals on 
the part of able scholars to hand over to Middleton some 
of the finest passages of the play.f Charles Lamb had 
already noted the essential differences between Shake- 
speare's and Aliddleton's Witches. '' Their names and 
some of their properties, which ]\Iiddleton has given to 
his hags, excite smiles. The Weird Sisters are serious 
things. Their presence cannot co-exist with mirth. But 
in a lesser degree, the Witches of Middleton are fine 
creatures. Their power, too, is in some measure over 
the mind. They raise jars, jealousies, strifes, like a thick 
scurf o'er life.'' {Specimens of English Dramatic Poets.) 

The Porter's Speech. Among the passages in Mac- 
beth that have been doubted are the soliloquy of the Por- 
ter, and the short dialogue that follows between the Por- 
ter and ]\Iacduf¥. Even Coleridge objected to " the low 
soliloquy of the Porter "; he beheved them to have been 

* The first of these songs is found in the edition of 1673, which 
contains also two other songs not found in the Folio version. 

t The following are among the chief passages supposed to re- 
semble Middleton's style, and rejected as Shakespeare's by the 
Clarendon Press editors: — Act I. Sc. ii., iii. 1-37; Act II. Sc. i. 61, 
iii. (Porter's part) ; Act III. Sc. v.; Act IV. Sc. i, 39-47, 125 132; 
iii. 140-159; Act V. (?) ii., v. 47-50; viii. 32-33, 35-75. 

The second scene of the First Act is certainly somewhat dis- 
appointing, and it is also inconsistent {cp. 11. 52, 53, with Sc. iii., 
11. ^2, ^2), and 112, etc.), but probably the scene represents the 
compression of a much longer account. The introduction of 
the superfluous Hecate is perhaps the strongest argument for re- 
jecting certain witch-scenes, viz.: Act III. Sc. v.; Act. IV. Sc. 
i- 39-47; Act IV. Sc. i. 125-132. 

MACBETH Preface 

written for the mob by some other hand, perhaps with 
Shakespeare's consent, though he was willing to make an 
exception in the case of the Shakespearian words, " 77/ 
devil-porter it no further; I had thought to let in some of all 
professions, that go the primrose way to the everlasting 
bonfire." But the Porter's Speech is as essential a part of 
the design of the play as is the Knocking at the Gate, 
the effect of which was so subtly analyzed by De Quincey 
in his well-known essay on the subject. " The effect was 
that it reflected back upon the murder a peculiar awe- 
fulness and a depth of solemnity . . . when the 
deed is done, when the work of darkness is perfect, then 
the world of darkness passes away like a pageantry in 
the clouds; the knocking at the gate is heard; and it 
makes known audibly that the reaction has commenced; 
the human has made its reflex upon the fiendish; the 
pulses of life are beginning to beat again; and the re- 
establishment of the goings-on of the world in which we 
live first makes us profoundly sensible of the awful 
parenthesis that has suspended them." 

The introduction of the Porter, a character derived 
from the Porter of Hell in the old Mysteries, is as dra- 
matically relevant, as are the grotesque words he utters; 
and both the character and the speech are thoroughly 
Shakespearian in conception {cp. The Porter in Macbeth, 
New Shak. Soc., 1874, by Prof. Hales). 

Date of Composition. The undoubted allusion to 
the union of England and Scotland under James I. (Act 
IV. sc. i. 120) gives us one limit for the date of Macbeth, 
viz., March, 1603, while a notice in the MS. Diary of 
Dr. Simon Forman, a notorious quack and astrologer, 
gives 1610 as the other limit; for in that year he saw the 
play performed at the Globe.* Between these two dates, 
in the year 1607, '' ^^^ Puritan, or, the Widow of W ailing 

* The Dairy is among the Ashmolean MSS. (208) in the Bod- 
leian Library ; its title is a Book of Plaies and Notes thereof for 
common Pollicie. Halliwell Phillipps privately reprinted the 


Street,'' was published, containing a distinct reference to 
Banquo's Ghost — " Instead of a jester we'll have a ghost 
in a white sheet sit at the upper end of the table.'' ^' 

It is remarkable that when James visited Oxford in 

1605 he was '' addressed on entering the city by three 
students of St. John's College, who alternately accosted 
his majesty, reciting some Latin verses, founded on the 
prediction of the weird sisters relative to Banquo and 
jMacbeth." The popularity of the subject is further at- 
tested by the insertion of the Historie of Makbeth in the 

1606 edition of Albion's England. The former incident 
may have suggested the subject to Shakespeare; the lat- 
ter fact may have been due to the popularity of Shake- 
speare's play. At all events authorities are almost unani- 
mous in assigning Maebeth to 1605- 1606; ^^^ this view is 
borne out by minor points of internal evidence, f As 
far as metrical characteristics are concerned the com- 
paratively large number of light-endings, twenty-one in 
all (contrasted with eight in Hamlet and ten in Julius 
Ccesar) places Maebeth near the plays of the Fourth 
Period.]: With an early play of this period, viz., Antony 

valuable and interesting booklet. The account of the play as 
given by Forman is not very accurate. 

* Similarly, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning 
Pestle, produced in 161 1 : — 

" When thou art at the table with thy friends, 
Merry in heart and HlVd with swelling wine, 
I'll come in midst of all thy pride and mirth. 
Invisible to all men but thyself." 
i E.g. II. iii. 5. "expectation of plenty" probably refers to the 
abundance of corn in the autumn of 1606; the reference to the 
" Equifocator" seems to allude to Garnet and other Jesuits who 
were tried in the spring of 1606. 

t Macbeth numbers but two weak-endings, while Hamlet and 
lulius Ccesar have none. Antony and Cleopatra has no less than 
seventy-one light-endings and twenty-eight weak-endings. It 
would seem that Shakespeare, in this latter play, broke away 
from his earlier style as with a mighty bound, 

MACBETH Preface 

and Cleopatra, it has strong ethical affinities (vide Preface 
to Antony and Cleopatra). 

The Sources of the Plot. Shakespeare derived his 
materials for Macbeth from Holinshed's Chronicle of Eng- 
land and Scotland, first published in 1577, and subse- 
quently in 1587; the latter was in all probability the edi- 
tion used by the poet. Holinshed's authority was 
Hector Boece, whose Scotorum Historiae was first printed 
in 1526; Boece drew from the work of the Scotch his- 
torian Fordun, who lived in the fourteenth century. 
Shakespeare's indebtedness to Holinshed for the plot 
of the present play is not limited to chapters dealing 
with Alacbeth; certain details of the murder of Duncan 
belong to the murder of King Duffe, the great grand- 
father of Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare's most note- 
worthy departure from his original is to be found in his 
characterization of Banquo. 

(A full summary of theories of The Legend of Mac- 
beth is to be found in Furness' Variorum edition, which 
contains also an excellent survey of the various criti- 
cisms on the characters.) 

The Macbeth of Legend has been whitened by recent 
historians; and the Macbeth of History, according to 
Freeman, seems to have been quite a worthy monarch 
{cp. Freeman's Norman Conquest, Skene's Celtic Scotland, 

Shakespeare, in all probability, took some hints from 
Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1548) for his witch-lore. 
It should also be noted that King James, a profound be- 
liever in witchcraft, published in 1599 his Demonologie, 
maintaining his belief against Scot's scepticism. In 1604 
a statute was passed to suppress witches. 

There may have been other sources for the plot; pos- 
sibly an older play existed on the subject of Macbeth; 
in Kempe's Nine Days' Wonder (1600) occur the follow- 
ing words: — " I met a proper upright youth, only for a 
little stooping in the shoulders, all heart to the heel, a 


penny poet, whose first making was the miserable story 
of Mac-doel, or Mac-dobeth, or Mac-somewhat," etc. 
Furthermore, a ballad (? a stage-play) on Macdobeth 
was registered in the year 1596. 

Duration of Action. The Time of the Play, as an- 
alyzed by Mr. P. A. Daniel {New Shakespeare Soc, 1877- 
79), is nine days represented on the stage, and inter- 
vals : — 

Day I, Act I. Sc. i. to iii. Day 2, Act I. Sc. iv. to vii. 
Day 3, Act II. Sc. i. to iv. An interval, say a couple of 
weeks. Day 4, Act III. Sc. i. to v. [Act III. Sc. vi., an 
impossible time.] Day 5, Act IV. Sc. i. Day 6, Act IV. 
Sc. ii. An interval. Ross's journey to England. Day 
7, Act IV. Sc. iii., Act V. Sc. i. An interval. Malcolm's 
return to Scotland. Day 8, Act V. Sc. ii. and iii. Day 9, 
Act V. Sc. iv. to viii. 


Critical Comments. 


I. Macbeth and Banquo, two commanding generals 
under King Duncan of Scotland, achieve a signal victory 
over a rebel army, although the latter is supported by 
Norwegian troops. On their return from battle the two 
Scottish generals are accosted by three witches, who hail 
Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and 
future king of Scotland. Afterwards they promise Ban- 
quo that his sons shall sit upon the throne. Macbeth is 
already Thane of Glamis, but nothing more. While the 
witches' announcement is yet sounding in his ears, mes- 
sengers from the king arrive and confer upon him, in 
Duncan's name, and because of his victory, the title of 
Thane of Cawdor. This verification of two terms of the 
witches' greeting leads Macbeth secretly to hope for the 
third — the throne itself. He communicates this wish to 
his wife, a cruel, unscrupulous woman, and their joint 
desire develops into a plot against the king. The mon- 
arch, suspecting nothing, seeks to do Macbeth still 
further honour by visiting him. 

II, During the visit the king is murdered by Mac- 
beth, aided by his wife. Malcolm and Donalbain, the 
king's sons, flee the country in terror; and Macbeth seeks 
to divert suspicion concerning the deed from himself to 
them. Since the sons have fled, Macbeth, as next heir, 


is crowned king of Scotland. The third prediction of 
the witches is accompHshed. 

III. ^Macbeth, however, is unsatisfied. He bethinks 
himself that Banquo also w^as promised something by the 
Weird Sisters — namely, that his children shall one day 
mount the throne. The thought is galling to Macbeth, 
who wishes to make the crown secure for his own pos- 
terity. He plots to kill Banquo and his only son, Fle- 
ance. To further the plot he makes a great feast and 
invites Banquo and Fleance particularly. On their way 
thither they are w^aylaid and Banquo is slain by murder- 
ers in Macbeth's employ, but Fleance escapes. 

While the slain Banquo's blood is yet warm and flow- 
ing, Macbeth's feast is spread. It is indeed a regal re- 
past, and King Macbeth himself says that but one fea- 
ture is lacking — the presence of his chief guest, Banquo. 
This he says to divert suspicion, for he has already re- 
ceived news of Banquo's violent end. But scarcely has 
he uttered the words when the ghost of Banquo appears 
at Macbeth's seat. No one sees him save Macbeth, but 
his alarm causes the banquet to break up in confusion. 

IV. ]\Iacbeth, harried by doubts and fears, resolves 
upon and obtains another interview with the wntches. 
He is warned to beware of ]\Iacduff; he is promised that 
"none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"; he is 
advised to fear naught till Birnam wood shall come 
against him. Still unsatisfied, he demands again to 
know if Banquo's issue shall reign in the kingdom, and 
from wdiat the witches show he becomes convinced that 
the crown is assigned to them. The first news that 
greets him upon leaving the witches is that ]\Iacduff has 
escaped to England to join forces wath Malcolm, the late 
king's eldest son. Enraged, ^Macbeth storms MacdufT's 
castle and puts Lady Macduff and her children to the 

V. The queen meanwhile is almost insane over the 


MACBETH Comments 

thought of her own share in Macbeth's crimes. She 
walks in her sleep and endeavors to wash imaginary 
blood-stains from her hands. Finally she expires, *' as 
'tis thought, by self and violent hands." 

^Macbeth also is growing tired of life, but the hag's 
last prophecies spur him to renewed effort. He is al- 
most unmanned, therefore, when word is brought that 
Birnam wood is moving against him; for this was one 
of the apparently impossible threats of the witches. The 
moving woods were really branches of the trees of Bir- 
nam lopped of¥ and carried by the invading troops of 
Malcolm and Macdufif to protect their advance against 
him. Still Macbeth believes himself invulnerable, and 
fearing none save one " that was not born of woman," 
he rushes forth to battle. He fights with almost super- 
human strength and valor till he meets Macduff, against 
whom he remembers that he has been warned by the 
witches. At first he shrinks from fighting Macduff, but 
when brought to bay, exclaims : " I bear a charmed life, 
which must not yield to one of woman born." " De- 
spair thy charm," retorts his foe, " Macduff was from 
his mother's womb untimely ripp'd." And in the ensu- 
ing duel Macbeth is slain. Malcolm is hailed king of 
Scotland. McSpaddex: Shakespearian Synopses. 


Summary of the Macbeth Legend. 

Duncan, by his m.other Beatrice a grandson of Mal- 
colm n., succeeded to the throne on his grandfather's 
death, in 1033: he reigned only six years. Macbeth, his 
near relation, also a grandchild of ^Malcolm H., though 
by the mother's side, was stirred up by ambition to con- 
test the throne with the possessor. The Lady of Mac- 
beth also, whose real name was Graoch, had deadly in- 
juries to avenge on the reigning prince. She was the 


granddaughter of Kenneth IV., killed 1003, fighting 
against Malcolm 11. ; and other causes for revenge ani- 
mated the mind of her who has been since painted as 
the sternest of women. The old annalists add some in- 
stigations of a supernatural kind to the influence of a 
vindictive woman over an ambitious husband. Three 
women, of more than human stature and beauty, ap- 
peared to Macbeth in a dream or vision, and hailed him 
successively by the titles of Thane of Cromarty, Thane 
of Moray, which the king afterwards bestowed on him, 
and finally by that of King of Scots; this dream, it is 
said, inspired him with the seductive hopes so well ex- 
pressed in the drama. 

Macbeth broke no law of hospitality in his attempt 
on Duncan's life. He attacked and slew the king at a 
place called Bothgowan, or the Smith's House, near 
Elgin, in 1039, and not, as has been supposed, in his 
own castle of Inverness. The act was bloody, as was 
the complexion of the times ; but, in very truth, the claim 
of Macbeth to the throne, according to the rule of Scot- 
tish succession, was better than that of Duncan. As a 
king, the tyrant so much exclaimed against was, in real- 
ity, a firm, just, and equitable prince. Apprehensions of 
danger from a party which Malcolm, the eldest son of 
the slaughtered Duncan, had set on *foot in Northum- 
berland, and still maintained in Scotland, seem, in pro- 
cess of time, to have soured the temper of Macbeth, and 
rendered him formidable to his nobility. Against Mac- 
dufif, in particular, the powerful Maormor of Fife, he had 
uttered some threats which occasioned that chief to fly 
from the court of Scotland. Urged by this new coun- 
sellor, Siward, the Danish Earl of Northumberland, in- 
vaded Scotland in the year 1054, displaying his banner in 
behalf of the banished Malcolm. Macbeth engaged the 
foe in the neighborhood of his celebrated castle of Dun- 
sinane. He was defeated, but escaped from the battle, 
and was slain at Lumphanan in 1056. 

Sir Walter Scott. 

MACBETH Comments 



This drama shows us the gathering, the discharge, and 
the dispelhng of a domestic and poUtical storm, which 
takes its pecuHar view from the individual character of 
the hero. It is not in the spirit of mischief that animates 
the '' weird sisters," nor in the passionate and strong- 
willed ambition of Lady Macbeth, that we find the main- 
spring of this tragedy, but in the disproportioned though 
poetically tempered soul of Macbeth himself. A char- 
acter like this, of extreme selfishness, with a most irri- 
table fancy, must produce, even in ordinary circum- 
stances, an excess of morbid apprehen^iveness; wdiich, 
however, as we see in him, is not inconsistent with the 
greatest physical courage, but generates of necessity the 
most entire moral cowardice. When, therefore, a man 
like this, ill enough qualified even for the honest and 
straightforward transactions of life, has brought himself 
to snatch at an ambitious object by the commission of 
one great sanguinary crime, the new and false position 
in which he finds himself by his very success will but 
startle and exasperate him to escape, as Alacbeth says, 
from " horrible imaginings " by the perpetration of 
greater and greater actual horrors, till inevitable de- 
struction comes upon us amidst universal execration. 
Such, briefly, are the story and the moral of Macbeth. 
The passionate ambition and indomitable will of his lady, 
though agents indispensable to urge such a man to the 
one decisive act which is to compromise him in his own 
opinion and that of the world, are by no means primary 
springs of the dramatic action. Nor do the " \yeird sis- 
ters " themselves do more than aid collaterally in impel- 
ling a man, the inherent evil of whose nature and purpose 
has predisposed him to take their equivocal suggestions 
in the most mischievous sense. And, finally, the very 
thunder-cloud which, from the beginning almost to the 



ending, wraps this fearful tragedy in physical darkness 
and lurid glare, does but reflect and harmonize with the 
moral blackness of the piece. ... 

The very starting-point for an inquiry into the real, 
inherent, and habitual nature of Macbeth, independent 
of those particular circumstances which form the action 
of the play, lies manifestly, though the critics have com- 
monly overlooked it, in the question. With whom does 
the scheme of usurping the Scottish crown by the mur- 
der of Duncan actually originate? We sometimes find 
Lady Macbeth talked of as if she were the first contriver 
of the plot, and suggester of the assassination; but this 
notion is refuted, not only by implication, in the whole 
tenor of the piece, but most explicitly in I. vii. 48-52. 
Alost commonly, however, the zi'itcJics (as we find the 
" weird sisters " pertinaciously miscalled by all sorts of 
players and of critics) have borne the imputation of be- 
ing the first to put this piece of mischief in the hero's 
mind. Yet the prophetic words in which the attainment 
of royalty is promised him contain not the remotest hint 
as to the means by which he is to arrive at it. They 
are simply " All hail, Macbeth ! that shalt be king here- 
after " — an announcement which, it is plain, should have 
rather inclined a man who was not already harbouring 
a scheme of guilty ambition to wait quietly the course 
of events. According to Macbeth's own admission, the 
words of the " weird sisters " on this occasion convey 
anything rather than an incitement to murder to the 
mind of a man who is not meditating it already. This 
supernatural soliciting is only made such to the mind of 
Alacbeth by the fact that he is already occupied with a 
purpose of assassination. 

Fletcher: Studies of SJiakcspcarc. 

Macbeth's doubts and difficulties, his shrinkings and 
misgivings, spring from the peculiar structure and move- 
ment of his intellect, as sympathetically inflamed and 


MACBETH Comments 

wrought upon by the poison of meditated guilt. His 
whole state of man suffers an insurrection; conscience 
forthwith sets his understanding and imagination into 
morbid, irregular, convulsive action, insomuch that the 
former disappears in the tempestuous agitation of 
thought which itself stirs vip: his will is buffeted and 
staggered with prudential reasonings and fantastical 
terrors, both of which are self-generated out of his dis- 
ordered and unnatural state of mind. Here begins his 
long and fatal course of self-delusion. He misderives 
his scruples, misplaces his apprehensions, mistranslates 
the whispers and wTithings of conscience into the sug- 
gestions of prudence, the forecastings of reason, the 
threatenings of danger. His strong and excitable im- 
agination, set on fire of conscience, fascinates and spell- 
binds the other faculties, and so gives an objective force 
and effect to its internal workings. Under this guilt- 
begotten hallucination " present fears are less than hor- 
rible imaginings." Thus, instead of acting directly in 
the form of remorse, conscience comes to act circuit- 
ously through imaginary terrors, which again react on 
the conscience, as fire is kept burning by the current of 
air which itself generates. Hence his apparent freedom 
from compunctious visitings even when he is really most 
subject to them. It is probably from oversight of this 
that some have set him down as a timid, cautious, re- 
morseless villain, withheld from crime only by a shrink- 
ing, selfish apprehensiveness. He does indeed seem 
strangely dead to the guilt and morbidly alive to the 
dangers of his enterprise; free from remorses of con- 
science, and filled with imaginary fears: but whence his 
imcontrollable irritability of imagination? how comes it 
that his mind so swarms with horrible imaginings, but 
that his imagination itself is set on fire of heU? So that 
he seems remorseless, because in his mind the agonies of 
remorse project and translate themselves into the spec- 
tres of a conscience-stricken imagination. 

Hudson: The Works of Shakespeare. 


We are sometimes told that Shakespeare did not in- 
tend to make Macbeth a psychological study; he did 
make him so, and it is sufficient that we find his intent 
in the result. . . . The poetic mind on which the 
presages and suggestions of supernatural things could 
work: a nature sensitive, intellectual emotion, so that 
one can imagine him even in his contemplation of com- 
ing crimes weeping for the pain of the destined victim; 
self-torturing, self-examination, playing with conscience, 
so that action and reaction of poetic thought might send 
emotional waves through the brain while the resolution 
was as grimly fixed as steel and the heart as cold as ice; 
a poet supreme in the power of words, with vivid imagi- 
nation and glowing sympathy of intellect; a villain, cold- 
blooded, selfish, remorseless, with the true villain's nerve 
and callousness when pressed to evil work, and the phys- 
ical heroism of those who are born to kill; a moral na- 
ture with only sufficient weakness to quail (?) momen- 
tarily before superstitious terrors; a man of sentiment 
and not of feeling — such was the mighty dramatic char- 
acter which Shakespeare gave to the world in Macbeth. 
Irving: The Character of Macbeth. 


Character of Lady Macbeth. 

Lady Macbeth, like all in Shakespeare, is a class indi- 
vidualized: — of high rank, left much alone, an.d feeding 
herself with day-dreams of ambition, she mistakes the 
courage of fantasy for the power of bearing the con- 
sequences of the realities of guilt. Hers is the mock 
fortitude of a mind deluded by ambition; she shames her 
husband with a superhuman audacity of fancy which she 
cannot support, but sinks in the season of remorse, and 
dies in suicidal agony. Her speech : — 

Come, you spirits 
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex mc here, etc. 


MACBETH Comments 

is that of one who had habitually familiarized her imagi- 
nation to dreadful conceptions, and was trying to do so 
still more. Her invocations and requisitions are all the 
false eftorts of a mind accustomed only hitherto to the 
shadows of the imagination,' vivid enough to throw the 
every-day substances of life into shadow, but never as 
yet brought into direct contact with their own corre- 
spondent realities. 

Coleridge: Azotes and Lectures upon Sliakespeare. 

It is particularly observable that in Lady ]\Iacbeth's 
concentrated, strong-nerved ambition, the ruling pas- 
sion of her mind, there is yet a touch of womanhood: 
she is ambitious less for herself than for her husband. 
It is fair to think this, because we have no reason to draw 
any other inference either from her words or her actions. 
In her famous soliloquy, after reading her husband's let- 
ter, she does not once refer to herself. It is of him she 
thinks: she wishes to see her husband on the throne, and 
to place the sceptre within his grasp. The strength of 
her affection adds strength to her ambition. Although 
in the old story of Boethius we are told that the wife of 
Macbeth *' burned with unquenchable desire to bear the 
name of queen," yet in the aspect under which Shake- 
speare has represented the character to us the selfish 
part of this ambition is kept out of sight. We must 
remark also, that in Lady Macbeth's reflections on her 
husband's character, and on that milkiness of nature 
which she fears " may impede him from the golden 
round," there is no indication of female scorn: there is 
exceeding pride, but no egotism, in the sentiment or th^ 
expression; no want of wifely or womanly respect and 
love for him, but, on the contrary, a sort of unconscious- 
ness of her own mental superiority, which she betrays 
rather than asserts, as interesting in itself as it is most 
admirably conceived and delineated. Nor is there any- 
thing vulgar in her ambition; as the strength of her 



affections lends to it something profound and concen- 
trated, so her splendid imagination invests the object of 
her desire with its own radiance. We cannot trace in 
her grand and capacious mind that it is the mere baubles 
and trappings of royalty which dazzle and allure her: 
hers is the sin of the " star-bright apostate/' and she 
plunges wdth her husband into the abyss of guilt to pro- 
cure for " all their days and nights sole sovereign sway 
and masterdom." She revels, she luxuriates, in her 
dream of power. She reaches at the golden diadem 
which is to sear her brain; she perils life and soul for 
its attainment, with an enthusiasm as perfect, a faith as 
settled, as that of the martyr who sees at the stake 
heaven and its crowns of glory opening upon him. . . . 
Lady Macbeth having proposed the object to herself, 
and arrayed it with an ideal glory, fixes her eye steadily 
upon it, soars far above all womanish feelings and 
scruples to attain it, and stoops upon her victim with the 
strength and velocity of a vulture; but having committed 
unflinchingly the crime necessary for the attainment of 
her purpose, she stops there. After the murder of Dun- 
can, we see Lady Macbeth, during the rest of the play, 
occupied in supporting the nervous w^eakness and sus- 
taining the fortitude of her husband. . . . But she 
is nowhere represented as urging him on to new crimes ; 
so far from it that, when Macbeth darkly hints his pur- 
posed assassination of Banquo, and she inquires his 
meaning, he replies. 

Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck. 
Till thou approve the deed. 

The same may be said of the destruction of Macduff's 
familv. Every one must perceive how our detestation of 
the woman had been increased, if she had been placed 
before us as suggesting and abetting those additional 
cruelties into which Macbeth is hurried by his mental 

Lastly, it is clear that in a mind constituted like that 


MACBETH Comments 

of Lady Macbeth conscience must wake some time or 
other, and bring with it remorse closed by despair, and 
despair by death. This great moral retribution was to 
be displayed to us — but how? Lady Alacbeth is not a 
woman to start at shadows ; she mocks at air-drawn dag- 
gers; she sees no imagined spectres rise from the tomb 
to appal or accuse her. The towering bravery of Jicr 
mind disdains the visionary terrors which haunt her 
weaker husband. We know, or rather feel, that she 
who could give a voice to the most direful intent, and 
call on the spirits that wait on mortal thoughts to " unsex 
her," and " stop up all access and passage of remorse " — 
to that remorse would have given nor tongue nor sound; 
and that rather than have uttered a complaint, she would 
have held her breath and died. To have given her a 
confidant, though in the partner of her guilt, would have 
been a degrading resource, and have disappointed and 
enfeebled all our previous impressions of her character; 
yet justice is to be done, and we are to be made ac- 
quainted with that which the woman herself would have 
suffered a thousand deaths rather than have betrayed. 
In the sleeping scene we have a glimpse into the depths 
of that inward hell. 

Mrs. Jameson: Characteristics of Women. 

To make and share a husband's fortune was her [Lady 
Macbeth's] only motive, and the only driving-power she 
could supply to that was love: her character was most 
inartificially contrived out of one or two broad elements 
of womankind; a Semele to invite the solar ray that con- 
sumed her. To be a woman was her sole resource. 

Let us notice, therefore, how prompt was her first in- 
spiration, and how quickly it recoiled exhausted from its 
terrible victory. 

A full-blooded virago who has murder in her heart, 
but supposes that any chance to commit it is a long way 



off, would not betray emotion if Fate suddenly tossed a 
chance into her lap. Lady Macbeth's nerves are not 
well padded against such a shock. The husband's letter 
astonishes and exalts her soul; but the old desires, never 
before so animated, seem fruitless as ever, since neither 
time nor place concur. In the height of this turmoil, 
an attendant enters to say, " The king comes here to- 
night." The tidings appal her: has Providence gone 
mad, to trust Duncan with her in this temper? The 
man is mad to say it. Coming! To-night! ''And 
when goes hence?" Her looks and speech recoil from 
the coincidence. Then she breaks into that soliloquy 
which is not the ranting of a mannish murderess who 
is in a frenzy to get at her victim. The Hues quiver 
with the excitement of a delicate nature that is over- 
strained and dreads to fail. Vexed and chagrined at 
womanly proclivities which will be apt to follow their 
bent against her purpose, she invokes spirits to unsex 
her, to make thick the blood that runs too limpidly and 
warm, and clot '* the access and passage to remorse." 
It fills us with dismay to see how far a susceptible 
womanhood can be transported by a vehement pas- 

She does not give Macbeth time to observe that to 
murder Duncan will exact of him the murder of Mal- 
colm also, who is designated by the king to succeed him. 
She is in no temper to reflect that the taking-off of 
Duncan will plunge the husband into ever-renewing 
complications: her transport carries him away to fruitless 
crime. But the first blow spends her terrible ardor and 
disenchants her of murder. She can force it upon her 
husband, but is not endowed with the complexly woven 
tissue of talents and motives that can sustain reaction. 
His muscle drags him through successive scenes of 
feigning, inures him to the contemplation of fresh mur- 
ders, and keeps his foot well planted to thrust and parry 
the foes of his own making. She is all made for love, 
and for the uttermost that love can suggest : there is no 


MACBETH Comments 

masculine fiber in her heart; it is packed with the in- 
visible, fine-strung nerves of a feminine disposition. 
And they have been stretched to such a tension that, 
since no solider flesh sheathes and protects them as they 
relax, we see them ravelled: they no longer sustain the 
firm heart-beat and regulate the blood. There are 
symptoms, even before the murder is committed, that 
her strength threatens to be inadequate. She must 
have recourse to wine, to borrow courage from it that 
may last till morning; and her mood is so intense that 
the light body can absorb large draughts of it. 

" That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold." . . . 

This fascination of spilt blood, this woman's instinct 
to see her husband through the first surprise, this dread 
of some defect in his behaviour, this soHcitude to repair 
it by some spirit of her own, takes her into a scene which 
deals one stroke too much upon her emotion. For the 
morn broke rapidly, as if to resent the criminal advan- 
tage which the midnight took. She has had no chance 
to calculate what efifect this murder will have upon 
human sensibilities when they are taken by it unawares. 
She sees the awfulness of it suddenly reflected from the 
faces and gestures of MacdufY, Banquo, and the rest. 
It beats at the gate, across which she has braced a 
woman's arm, and breaks it in; and a mob of reproaches 
rush over her. What have those delicate hands been 
doing? What is this hideous issue of her slender body, 
just born, stark naked, in the horror of these men? 
Nature, in making her, was so little in the male mood, so 
intently following the woman's model, that it left out 
the element which carries Macbeth through this scene. 
"Help me hence, ho!" her sex cries. It is 
the revulsion of nature in a feminine soul. Love has 
exhaled all its hardihood into the deed which is just now 
discovered. ... 

Her fortitude just eked her out to reach the gracious 
action that dismissed the guests, as she wished " A kind 



good-night to all! " Yes, good-night to all — to us also. 
She gains the shelter of her chamber: then she entirely 
disappears from the action of the tragedy, to sicken in 
seclusion with the consciousness that her fatal love has 
purveyed successive murders for her household. She 
can be of no further use to Shakespeare now: such a 
terrible requisition of genius has exhausted her; she is 
removed from our view and consigned to the offices of 
women. For the courage that was screwed to the stick- 
ing-place was screwed by love's wrest one turn too far. 
But another kind of woman — massive, cruel, prompted 
by unmixed ambition, guided by pure hatefulness — 
would have had no trouble in assuming the dogged reso- 
lution with which ^Macbeth began henceforth to outface 
Fate. Not so this soul, who has known " how tender 
'tis to love the babe " that milks her. 

So, not long after, a cry of women struggles through 
the castle, and bids Macbeth's desperate engrossment 
know that the " brief candle " of her night-walking sor- 
row has gone out. He has no time to permit his queen 
to die, but she has slipped from his arms. Alas! another 
shape of Nature's womanhood by Nature destroyed. 
Malcolm may suspect that she destroyed herself, but 
Shakespeare furnished no pretext for that palace rumour. 
And it so disconcerts the pathos which he intended 
should accumulate around the temper of her crime that 
many commentators suspect the scene, upon this and 
other considerations, of having been tampered with. 
Malcolm may call her '' fiend-like," if he will. 'Tis par- 
donably honest EngHsh from a son who slept one night 
so near to a murdered father. What was to Malcolm a 
righteous phrasing of the deed does not cover Shake- 
speare's implication of the mood which led to it. The 
great poet delivers to us a sprig of rosemary, for re- 
membrance of Nature in a woman, but enjoins us to tie 
it up with rue. 

Weiss: Wit, Humor, and Shakspeare, 


MACBETH Comments 

Lady Macbeth's Influence Over Her 

Macbeth is excitably imaginative, and his imagination 
ahernately stimulates and enfeebles him. The facts in 
their clear-cut outline disappear in the dim atmosphere 
of surmise, desire, fear, hope, which the spirit of Mac- 
beth effuses around the fact. But his wife sees things 
in the clearest and most definite outline. Her delicate 
frame is filled with high-strung nervous energy. With 
her to perceive is forthwith to decide, to decide is to act. 
Having resolved upon her end, a practical logic con- 
vinces her that the means are implied and determined. 
Macbeth resolves, and falters back from action; now he 
is restrained by his imagination, now by his fears, now 
by lingering velleities towards a loyal and honourable 
existence. He is unable to keep in check or put under 
restraint any one of the various incoherent powers of his 
nature, which impede and embarrass each the action of 
the other. Lady Macbeth gains, for the time, sufficient 
strength by throwing herself passionately into a single 
purpose, and by resolutely repressing all that is incon- 
sistent with that purpose. Into the service of evil she 
carries some of the intensity and energy of asceticism — 
she cuts off from herself her better nature, she yields no 
weak paltering with conscience. " I have given suck," 
she exclaims, " and know how tender 'tis to love the 
babe that milks me"; she is unable to stab Duncan be- 
cause he resembles her father in his sleep; she is ap- 
palled by the copious blood in which the old man lies, 
and the horror of the sight cHngs to her memory; the 
smell of the blood is hateful to her and almost insupport- 
able; she had not been without apprehension that her 
feminine nature might fail to carry her through the ter- 
rible ordeal, through which she yet resolved that it 
should be compelled to pass. She must not waste an 



atom of her strength of will, which has to serve for two 
murderers — for her husband as well as for herself. She 
puts into requisition with the aid of wine and of stimu- 
lant words the reserve of nervous force which lay un- 
used. No witches have given her "Hail"; no airy 
dagger marshals her the way she is going; nor is she 
afterwards haunted by the terrible vision of Banquo's 
gory head. As long as her will remains her own she 
can throw herself upon external facts, and maintain her- 
self in relation with the definite, actual surroundings; it 
is in her sleep, when the will is incapable of action, that 
she is persecuted by the past which perpetually renews 
itself, not in ghostly shapes, but by the imagined recur- 
rence of real and terrible incidents. 

The fears of Lady Macbeth upon the night of Dun- 
can's murder are the definite ones that the murderers 
may be detected, that some omission in the pre-arranged 
plan may occur, that she or her husband may be sum- 
moned to appear before the traces of their crime have 
been removed. More awful considerations would press 
in upon her and overwhelm her sanity, but that she 
forcibly repels them for the time: 

These deeds must not be thought 
After these ways ; so, it will make us mad. 

To her the sight of Duncan dead is as terrible as to Mac- 
beth; but she takes the daggers from her husband; and 
with a forced jest, hideous in the self-violence which it 
impHes, she steps forth into the dark corridor: 

If he do bleed 
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, 
For it must seem their guilt. 

*' A play of fancy here is like a gleam of ghastly sun- 
shine striking across a stormy landscape." The knock- 
ing at the gate clashes upon her overstrained nerves and 
thrills her; but she has determination and energy to 


MACBETH Comments 

direct the actions of Macbeth, and rouse him from the 
mood of abject depression which succeeded his crime. 
A white flame of resolution glows through her delicate 
organization, like light through an alabaster lamp: 

Infirm of purpose ! 
Give me the daggers : the sleeping and the dead 
Are but as pictures : 'tis the eye of childhood 
That fears a painted devil. 

If the hold which she possesses over her own faculties 
should relax for a moment, all would be lost. For 
dreadful deeds anticipated and resolved upon, she has 
strength, but the surprise of a novel horror, on which 
she has not counted, deprives her suddenly of conscious- 
ness; when Macbeth announces his butchery of Duncan's 
grooms, the lady swoons — not in feigning but in fact — 
and is borne away insensible. 

Dowden: Shakspere. 


The Witches. 

The old watches of superstition were foul, ugly, mis- 
chievous beings, generally actuated by vulgar envy or 
hate; not so much wicked as mean, and therefore apt to 
excite disgust, but not to inspire terror or awe; who 
could inflict injury, but not guilt; could work men's 
physical ruin, but not win them to work their own 
spiritual ruin. The Weird Sisters of Shakespeare, as 
hath been often remarked, are essentially different, and 
are beholden to them for little if anything more than 
the drapery of the representation. Resembling old 
women, save that they have long beards, they bubble up 
in human shape, but own no human relations; are with- 
out age, or sex, or kin; without birth or death; passion- 



less and motiveless. A combination of the terrible and 
the grotesque, unlike the Furies of ^schylus they are 
petrific, not to the senses, but to the thoughts. x\t first, 
indeed, on merely looking at them, we can scarce help 
laughing, so uncouth and grotesque is their appearance; 
but afterwards, on looking into them, we find them ter- 
rible beyond description; and the more we look, the 
more terrible do they become: the blood almost curdhng 
in our veins, as, dancing and singing their infernal glees 
over embryo murders, they unfold to our thoughts the 
cold, passionless, inexhaustible malignity and deformity 
of their nature. Towards Alacbeth they have nothing of 
personal hatred or revenge: their malice is of a higher 
strain, and savours as little of any such human ranklings 
as the thunderstorms and elemental perturbations amidst 
which they come and go. But with all their essential 
wickedness there is nothing gross, or vulgar, or sensual 
about them. They are the very purity of sin incarnate; 
the vestal virgins, so to speak, of hell; in whom every- 
thing seems reversed; whose ascent is downwards; 
whose proper eucharist is a sacrament of evil; and the 
law of whose being is violation of law! 

The later critics, Coleridge especially, dwell much on 
what they conceive to be the most distinctive and essen- 
tial feature of Shakespeare's art, affirming it to be the 
organic involution of the universal in the particular; that 
his characters are classes individualized; that his men 
and women are those of his own age and nation indeed, 
yet not in such sort but that they are equally the men 
and women of all ages and nations; for which cause they 
can never become obsolete, or cease to be natural and 
true. Herein the Weird Sisters are thoroughly Shake- 
spearian, there being nothing in his whole circle of char- 
acter wherein this method of art is more profoundly 
exemplified. ... In their literal character the 
Weird Sisters answer to something that was, and is not; 
in their symbolical character they answer to something 
that was, and is, and will abide; for they represent the 


MACBETH Comments 

mysterious action and reaction between the evil mind 
and external nature. 

For the external world serves in some sort as a look- 
ing-glass, wherein man beholds the image of his fallen 
nature; and he still regards that image as his friend or 
his foe, and so parleys with it or turns from it, according 
as his will is more disposed to evil or to good. For the 
evil suggestions, which seem to us written in the face or 
speaking from the mouth of external objects and occa- 
sions, are in reality but projections from our own evil 
hearts; these are instances wdierein "we do receive but 
what we give''; the things we look upon seem inviting us 
to crime, whereas in truth our wishes construe their in- 
nocent meanings into wicked invitations. In the spirit 
and virtue of which principle the Weird Sisters symbolize 
the inward moral history of each and every man, and 
therefore may be expected to live in the faith of reason 
so long as the present moral order or disorder of things 
shall last. So that they may be aptly enough described 
as poetical or mythical impersonations of evil influences. 
And the secret of their power over Macbeth 
lies mainly in that they present to him his embryo wishes 
and half-formed thoughts : at one time they harp his fear 
aright, at another time his hope; and that, too, even be- 
fore such hope and fear have distinctly reported them- 
selves in his consciousness; and by thus harping them, 
strengthen them into resolution and develop them into 
act. As men often know they would something, yet 
know not clearly what, until they hear it spoken by an- 
other; and sometimes even dream of being told things 
which their minds have been tugging at, but could not 
put into words. 

All which may serve to suggest the real nature and 
scope of the effect which the Weird Sisters have on the 
action of the play. 

Hudson: The Works of Shakespeare. 




Knocking at the Gate. 

From my boyish days I had always felt a great per- 
plexity on one point in Macbeth. It was this: — The 
knocking at the gate which succeeds to the murder of 
Duncan produced to my feelings an effect for which I 
never could account. The effect was that it reflected 
back upon the murder a peculiar awfulness and a depth 
of solemnity; yet, however obstinately I endeavored with 
my understanding to comprehend this, for many years 
I never could see why it should produce such an effect. 
At length I solved it to my ow^n satisfaction; 
and my solution is this: — Murder, in ordinary cases, 
where the sympathy is wholly directed to the case of the 
murdered person, is an incident of coarse and vulgar 
horror; and for this reason — that it flings the interest 
exclusively upon the natural but ignoble instinct by 
which we cleave to life: an instinct which, as being in- 
dispensable to the primal law of self-preservation, is the 
same in kind (though different in degree) amongst all 
living creatures. This instinct, therefore, because it an- 
nihilates all distinctions, and degrades the greatest of 
men to the level of the ''poor beetle that we tread on," 
exhibits human nature in its most abject and humiliating 
attitude. Such an attitude would little suit the purposes 
of the poet. What then must he do? He must throw 
the interest on the murderer. Our sympathy must be 
with him (of course I mean a sympathy of comprehen- 
sion, a sympathy by which we enter into his feelings, and 
are made to understand them — not a sympathy of pity or 
approbation). In the murdered person, all strife of 
thought, all flux and reflux of passion and of purpose, 
are crushed by one overwhelming panic; the fear of in- 
stant death smites him " with its petrific mace." But in 
the murderer, such a murderer as a poet will condescend 
to, there must be raging some great storm of passion — 


MACBETH Comments 

jealousy, ambition, vengeance, hatred — which will create 
a hell within him; and into this hell we are to look. 
De Quincey: On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth. 


Quality of the Play. 

I regard Macbeth, upon the whole, as the greatest 
treasure of our dramatic literature. We may look as 
Britons at Greek sculpture, and at Italian paintings, 
with a humble consciousness that our native art has 
never reached their perfection; but in the drama we can 
confront ylEschylus himself with Shakespeare; and of all 
modern theatres, ours alone can compete with the Greek 
in the unborrowed nativeness and sublimity of its super- 
stition. In the grandeur of tragedy Macbeth has no 
parallel, till we go back to the Prometheus and the Furies 
of the Attic stage. I could even produce, if it were not 
digressing too far from my subject, innumerable in- 
stances of striking similarity between the metaphorical 
mintage of Shakespeare's and of ^schylus's style — a 
similarity, both in beauty and in the fault of excess, that 
unless the contrary had been proved, would lead me to 
suspect our great dramatist to have been a studious 
Greek scholar. But their resemblance arose from the 
consanguinity of nature. In one respect, the tragedy of 
Macbeth always reminds me of ^schylus's poetry. It 
has scenes and conceptions absolutely too bold for repre- 
sentation. What stage could do justice to ^schylus, 
when the Titan Prometheus makes his appeal to the ele- 
ments; and when the hammer is heard in the Scythian 
Desert that rivets his chains? Or when the Ghost of 
Clytemnestra rushes into Apollo's temple, and rouses 
the sleeping Furies? I wish to imagine these scenes. I 
should be sorry to see the acting of them attempted. In 
like manner, there are parts of Macbeth which I delight 



to read much more than to see In the theatre. 
Nevertheless, I feel no inconsistency in reverting from 
these remarks to my first assertion, that all in all, Mac- 
beth is our greatest possession in dramatic poetry. 

Campbell: Life of Mrs. Siddons. 

As regards wealth of thought, Macbeth ranks far below 
Hamlet; it lacks the wide, free, historic perfection which 
vnjidius Ccesar raises us above the horror of his tragic 
fall. It cannot be compared with Othello for complete- 
ness, depth of plot, or full, rich illustration of character. 
But, in our opinion, it excels all that Shakspeare, or 
any other poet, has created, in the simple force of the 
harmonious, majestic current of its action, in the trans- 
parency of its plan, in the nervous power and bold sweep 
of its language, and in its prodigal wealth of poetical 

Kreyssig: Vorlesiingen iiber Shakspeare. 

The Tragedy of Macbeth. 


> noblemen of Scotland. 


Duncan^ king of Scotland. 

Malcolm, ) 

T-. - liis sons. 


Macbeth, ) , x- w l- ^ 

t generals of the king s army. 

Ban QUO, ) 

Macduff, ~^ 





Caithness, ^ 

Fleance, son to Banquo. 

SiWARD, earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces. 

Young Siward, his son. 

Seyton, an officer attending on Macbeth. 

Boy, son to Macduff. 

An English Doctor. 

A Scotch Doctor. 

A Sergeant. 

A Porter. 

An Old Man. 

Lady Macbeth. 
Lady Macduff. 
Gentlewoman attending on Lady Macbeth. 

Three Witches. 

Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers, Attendants, and 

Scene: Scotland; England. 

The Tragedy of Macbeth. 

Scene I. 

A desert plaec. 
Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches. 

First Witch. When shall we three meet again 

In thunder, lightning, or in rain? 
Sec. Witch. When the hurlyburly 's done, 

When the battle 's lost and won. 
Third Witch. That will be ere the set of sun. 
First Witch. Where the place? 
Sec. Witch. Upon the heath. 

Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth. 
First Witch. I come, Graymalkin. 
All. Paddock calls: — anon! 

Fair is foul, and foul is fair. lo 

Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Exeunt. 

Scene II. 

A camp near Forres. 

Alarum zvithin. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Len- 
nox, zvith Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant. 

Dim. What bloody man is that? He can report, 
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt 
The newest state. 

Mai. This is the sergeant 


Act I. Sc. ii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

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. 

Scr. 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 lo 

The multiplying villanies of nature 
Do swarm upon him — from the western isles 
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supphed; 
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 — 
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; 20 

Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him. 
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps. 
And fix'd his head upon our battlements. 

Dun. O valiant cousin! worthy gentleman! 

Ser. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection 

Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, 
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, 31 

With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men. 
Began a fresh assault. 

Dun. Dismay'd not this 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. ii. 

Our captains, Alacbeth and Banquo? 

Ser. Yes ; 

As sparrows eagles, or the hare the Hon. 
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, 
Or memorize another Golgotha, 40 

I cannot tell — 
But I am faint; my gashes cry for help. 

Dun. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; 
They smack of honour both. Go get him surgeons. 

[Exit Sergeant, attended. 
Who comes here? 

Enter Ross. 

Mai. The worthy thane of Ross. 

Len. What a haste looks through his eyes! So should 
he look 
That seems to speak things strange. 

Ross. God save the king! 

Dun. Whence camest thou, worthy thane? 

Ross. From Fife, great king; 

Where the Norweyan banners f^out the sky 
And fan our people cold. Norway himself 50 

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, 
Confronted him with self-comparisons, 
Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm. 
Curbing his lavish spirit : and, to conclude, 


Act I. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

The victory fell on us. 

Dun. Great happiness! 

Ross. That now 

Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition; 
Nor would we deign him burial of his men 60 

Till he disbursed, at Saint Colme's Inch, 
Ten thousand dollars to our general use. 

Dun. 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. 

Dun. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won. 


Scene III. 

A heath. 
Thunder. Enter the three Witches. 

First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister? 

Sec. Witch. Killing swine. 

TJiird Witch. Sister, where thou? 

First Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, 

And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd. 
' Give me,' quoth I : 

'Aroint thee, witch! ' the rump-fed ronyon cries. 

Her husband 's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger : 

But in a sieve I'll thither sail. 

And, like a rat without a tail, 

I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do. 10 

Sec. Witch. I'll give thee a wind. 
First Witch. Thou 'rt kind. 
Third Witch. And I another. 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. iii, 

First Witch. I myself have all the other; 

And the very ports they blow, 

All the quarters that they know 

r the shipman's card. 

I will drain him dry as hay: 

Sleep shall neither night nor day 

Hang upon his pent-house lid; 20 

He shall live a man forbid: 

Weary se'nnights nine times nine 

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine: 

Though his bark cannot be lost, 

Yet it shall be tempest-tost. 

Look what I have. 
Sec. Witch. Show me, show me. 
First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb. 

Wreck 'd as homeward he did come. [Drum zuithin. 
Third Witch. A drum, a drum ! 30 

Macbeth doth come. 
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. 

Peace ! the charm 's wound up. 

Enter Macbeth and Banquo. 

Macb. So foul and fair a day I have not seen. 

Ban. How far is 't call'd to Forres? What are these 
So wither'd, and so wild in their attire, 40 

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 understan ,1 


Act I. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

By each at once her choppy finger laying 
Upon her skinny hps : you should be women, 
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 
That you are so. 

Macb. Speak, if you can: what are vou? 

First Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of 

Sec. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of 

Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king here- 
after! 50 

Ban. 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 

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, 

Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear 60 

Your favours nor your hate. 

First Witch. Hail! 

Sec. Witch. Hail! 

Third Witch. Hail! 

First Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. 

Sec. 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! 

Mach. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more: 70 
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis ; 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. iii. 

But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor Hves, 
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king 
Stands not within the prospect of behef, 
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence 
You owe this strange inteUigence? or why 
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way 
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you. 

[ Witches vanish. 

Ban, The earth hath bubbles as the water has, 

And these are of them : whither are they vanish'd ? 80 

Macb. Into the air, and what seem'd corporal melted 
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd! 

Ban. Were such things here as we do speak about? 
Or have we eaten on the insane root 
That takes the reason prisoner? • 

Macb. Your children shall be kings. 

Ban. You shall be king. 

Macb. And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so? 

Ban. 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 90 

Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, 
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, 
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, 


Act I. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

And pour'd them down before him, 
Ang. We are se.nt lOO 

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. 

In which addition, hail, most worthy thane! 

For it is thine. 
Ba7i. What, can the devil speak true? 

Macb. The thane of Cawdor lives : why do you dress me 

In borrow'd robes? 
Ang. Who was the thane lives yet, 

But under heavy judgement bears that life no 

Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was com- 

With those of Norway, or did line the rebel 

With hidden help and vantage, or that with both 

He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not; 

But treasons capital, confess'd and proved. 

Have overthrown him. 
Macb. [Aside} Glamis, and thane of Cawdor: 

The greatest is behind. — Thanks for your pains. — 
Do you not hope your children shall be kings, 
When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me 
Promised no less to them? 
Ban. That, trusted home, 120 

Might yet enkindle you unto the crown. 
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange: 
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm. 
The instruments of darkness tell us truths, 
Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's 


MACBETH Actl. Sc. iii. 

In deepest consequence. 
Cousins, a word, I pray you. 

Macb. [Aside] Two truths are told, 

As happy prologues to the swelling act 
Of the imperial theme. — I thank you, gentlemen. — 
[Aside] This supernatural soliciting 130 

Cannot be ill; cannot be good: if ill, 
Why hath it given me earnest of success. 
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor: 
If good, w^hy 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 
Are less than horrible imaginings: 
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, 
Shakes so my single state of man that function 140 
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is 
But what is not. 

Ba)i. Look, how our partner 's rapt. 

Maeb. [Aside] If chance will have me king, why, chance 
may crown me. 
Without my stir. 

Ban. New honours come upon him. 

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their 

But with the aid of use. 

Macb. [Aside] Come what come may, 

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. 

Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure. 

Macb. Give me your favour: my dull brain was wrought 
With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains 
Are register'd where every day I turn 151 

The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. 


Act. I. Sc. iv. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Think upon what hath chanced, and at more time, 
The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak 
Our free hearts each to other. 

Ban. Very gladly. 

Macb. Till then, enough. Come, friends. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. 

Forres. The palace. 

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalhain, Eennox, 
and Attendants. 

Dun. Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not 
Those in commission yet return'd? 

Mai. My liege. 

They are not yet come back. But I have spoke 
With one that saw him die, who did report 
That very frankly he confess'd his treasons, 
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. 
To throw away the dearest thing he owed lo 

As 'twere a careless trifle. 

Dun. There 's no art 

To find the mind's construction in the face: 
He was a gentleman on whom I built 
An absolute trust. 

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus. 

O worthiest cousin! 
The sin of my ingratitude even now 
Was heavy on me: thou art so far before, 
That swiftest wing of recompense is slow 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. iv. 

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, 20 
More is thy due than more than all can pay. 

Macb. 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 

Safe toward your love and honour. 

Dun. 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 30 
No less to have done so: let me infold thee 
And hold thee to my heart. 

Ban. There if I grow, 

The harvest is your own. 

Dun. My plenteous joys, 

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 
The Prince of Cumberland: which honour must 
Not unaccompanied invest him only, 40 

But signs of nobleness, Hke stars, shall shine 
On all deservers. From hence to Inverness, 
And bind us further to you. 

Mach. 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. 

Dun. My worthy Cawdor! 

Macb. [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; 50 
Let not light see my black and deep desires: 
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be 
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. [Exit. 

Dim. 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, 
Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome: 
It is a peerless kinsman. [Flourish. Exeunt. 

Scene V. 

Inverness. Machetlis castle. 

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter. 

LadyM. 'They met me in the day of success; and 
I have learned by the perfectest report, they 
have more in them than mortal knowledge. 
When I burned in desire to question them 
further, they made themselves air, into which 
they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the 
wonder of it, came missives from the king, who 
all-hailed me "Thane of Cawdor"; by which 
title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and 
referred me to the coming on of time, with 10 
"Hail, king that shalt be!" This have I 
thought good to deliver thee, my dearest part- 
. ner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the 
dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. v. 

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; 

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 20 

The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst 

That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, 
And yet wouldst wrongly win : thou 'Idst have, great 

That which cries ' Thus thou must do, if thou have 

And that which rather thou dost fear to do 
Than wishest should be undone.' Hie thee hither, 
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear. 
And chastise with the valour of my tongue 
All that impedes thee from the golden round. 
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem 30 

' To have thee crown'd withal. 

Enter a Messenger. 

What is your tidings? 

Mess. The king comes here to-night. 

Lady M. Thou 'rt mad to say it : 

Is not thy master with him? who, were 't so, 
Would have inform'd for preparation. 

Mess. 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 M. Give him tending; 

He brings great news. [Exit Messenger. 



The raven himself is hoarse 
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan 40 

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits 
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, 
And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full 
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood. 
Stop up the access and passage to remorse, 
That no compunctious visitings of nature 
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep pace between 
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, 
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, 
Wherein your sightless substances 50 

You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night. 
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. 

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. 
Macb. My dearest love, 

Duncan comes here to-night. 
Lady M. And when goes hence? 60 

Macb. To-morrow, as he purposes. 
Lady iV. O, never 

Shall sun that morrow see! 

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men 

May read strange matters. To beguile the time, 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. vi. 

Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, 
Your hand, youf tongue: look like the innocent 

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 70 
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 

Macb. We will speak further. 

LadyM. Only look up clear; 

To alter favour ever is to fear: 
Leave all the rest to me. [Exeunt. 

Scene VL 

Before Macbeth: s castle. 

Hautboys and torches. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, 
Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and Attendants. 

Dun. This castle hath a pleasure seat; the air 
Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself 
Unto our gentle senses. 

Ban. 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 
Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle : 
Where they most'b!'eed and haunt, I have observed 
The air is delicate. 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 
Dun. See, see, our honour'd hostess! 10 

The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, 
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you 


Act I. Sc. vii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

How you shall bid God 'ild us for your pains, 
And thank us for your trouble. 

Lady M. All our service 

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, 
We rest your hermits. 

Dun. Where 's the thane of Cawdor? 20 

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 
To his hom.e before us. Fair and noble hostess. 
We are your guest to-night. 

Lady M. Your servants ever 

Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt, 
To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, 
Still to return your own. 

Dun. Give me your hand; 

Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly, 
And shall continue our graces towards him. 30 

By your leave, hostess. [Exeunt. 

Scene VII. 

Macbeth' s castle. 

Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Serv- 
ants with dishes and service, and pass over the stage. 
Then enter Macbeth. 

Macb. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well 
It were done quickly: if the assassination 


MACBETH Act I. Sc. vii. 

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 'Id jump the life to come. But in these cases 
We still have judgement here; that we but teach 
Bloody instructions, which being taught return 
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice lo 
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice 
To our own lips. He 's here in double trust: 
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, 
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, 
Who should against his murderer shut the door. 
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan 
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been 
So clear in his great office, that his virtues 
Will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against 
The deep damnation of his taking-ofif; 20 

And pity, like a naked new-born babe. 
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed 
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 
And falls on the other. 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

How now! what news? 
LadyM. He has almost supp'd: why have you left the 

Macb. Hath he ask'd for me? 


Act I. Sc. vii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Lady M. Know you not he has? 30 

Macb. 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, 
Not cast aside so soon. 

Lady M. 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 

Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard 

To be the same in thine own act and valour 40 

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, 

Letting ' I dare not ' wait upon ' I would,' 

Like the poor cat i' the adage? 

Macb. Prithee, peace: 

I dare do all that may become a man ; 
Who dares do more is none. 

Lady M. 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 50 
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place 
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both : 
They have made themselves, and that their fitness 

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, 
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums. 
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you 


MACBETH Act 1. Sc. vii. 

Have done to this. 

Macb. If we should fail? 

LadyJ\L We fail! 

But screw your courage to the sticking-place, 60 

And we '11 not fail. When Duncan is asleep — 

Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey 

Soundly invite him — his two chamberlains 

Will 1 with wine and wassail so convince, 

That memory, the warder of the brain, 

Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason 

A limbec only; when in swinish sleep 

Their drenched natures lie as in a death. 

What cannot you and I perform upon 

The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon 70 

His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt 

Of our great quell? 

Macb. Bring forth men-children only; 

For thy undaunted mettle should compose 
Nothing but males. Will it not be received. 
When wx have mark'd with blood those sleepy two 
Of his own chamber, and used their very daggers. 
That they have done 't? 

Lody M. Who dares receive it other, 

As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar 
Upon his death? 

Macb. I am settled, and bend up 

Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. 80 

Away, and mock the time with fairest show: 
False face must hide what the false heart doth know. 


10 D 




Scene I. 

Inverness. Court of Macbeth' s eastlc. 
Enter Banquo, and Fleance bearing a torch before him. 

Ban. How goes the night, boy? 

Fie. The moon is down; I have not heard the clock. 

Ban. And she goes down at twelve. 

Fie. I take 't, 'tis later, sir. 

Ban. Hold, take my sword. There 's husbandry in 
Their candles are all out. Take ihee that too. 
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, 
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 Seri'aiit zcitJi a torch. 

Give me my sword. 
Who 's there? lo 

Maeb. A friend. 

Ban. What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's a-bed: 
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and 
Sent forth great largess to your oflices: 
This diamond he greets your wife withal, 
By the name of most kind hostess; and shut up 
In measureless content. 

Maeb. Being unprepared, 

Our will became the servant to defect. 
Which else should free have wrought. 

Ban. All 's well. 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. i. 

I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters: 20 

To you they have show'd some truth. 
Macb. I think not of them: 

Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve, 

We would spend it in some words upon that busi- 

If you would grant the time. 
Ban. At your kind'st leisure. 

Macb. If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis. 

It shall make honour for you. 
Ban. ' So I lose none 

In seeking to augment it, but still keep 

My bosom franchised and allegiance clear, 

I shall be counsell' d. 
Macb. Good repose the while! 

Ban. Thanks, sir: the like to you! 

[ExciDit Banqiio and Fleance. 

Macb. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, 
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. 

[Exit Servant. 
Is this a dagger which I see before me. 
The handle toward my hand? Come, let i\ie clutch 

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. 
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but 
A dagger of the mind, a false creation, 
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? 
I see thee yet, in form as palpable 40 

As this which now I draw. 

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, 
Which was not so before. There 's no such thing: 
It is the bloody business which informs 
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half-world 
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse 50 
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates 
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, 
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. 61 

[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. [Exit. 

Scene II. 

The same. 
Enter Lady Macbeth. 

Lady M. 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. 
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it : 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. n. 

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, 

Whether they Hve or die. 
Macb. [Within'] Who 's there? what, ho! 

Lady M. Alack, I am afraid they have awaked lo 

And 'tis not done : the attempt and not the deed 

Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready; 

He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled 

My father as he slept, I had done 't. 

Enter Macbeth. 

My husband! 
Macb. I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a 

Lady M. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. 

Did not you speak? 
Macb. When? 

Lady M: Now. 

Macb. As I descended? 

LadyM. Ay. 
Macb. Hark! 

Who lies i' the second chamber? 
Lady M. Donalbain. 20 

Macb. This is a sorry sight. [Looking on his hands. 

Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. 
Macb. There 's one did laugh in 's sleep, and one cried 

That they did wake each other: I stood and heard 
them : 

But they did say their prayers, and addressed them 

Again to sleep. 



LadyM. There are two lodged together. 

Macb. One cried ' God bless us! ' and ' Amen ' the other. 
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands: 
Listening their fear, I could not say ' Amen,' 
When they did say ' God bless us ! ' 

Lady M. Consider it not so deeply. 30 

Macb. But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'? 
I had most need of blessing, and ' Amen ' 
Stuck in my throat. 

Lady AL These deeds must not be thought 

After these ways; so, it will make us mad. 

Macb. Methought I heard a voice cry ' Sleep no more! 
Macbeth does murder sleep ' — the innocent sleep, 
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care. 
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 ^L What do you mean? 40 

Macb. Still it cried ' Sleep no more! ' to all the house: 
' Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor 
Shall sleep no more: Alacbeth shall sleep no more.' 

LadyM. Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy 
You do unbend your noble strength, to think 
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. 

Macb. I '11 go no more: 50 

I am afraid to think what I have done; 
Look on 't again I dare not. 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. ii. 

Lady M. Infirm of purpose! 

Give me the daggers : the sleeping and the dead 
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. 

Macb. 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 60 
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather 
The multitudinous seas incarnadine, 
Making the green one red. 

Re-enter Lady Macbeth. 

Lady M. My hands are of your colour, but I shame 

To wear a heart so white. [Knocking within.] I 

hear a knocking 
At the south entry: retire we to our chamber: 
A little water clears us of this deed: 
How easy is it then! Your constancy 
Hath left you unattended. [Knocking zvithin.] Hark ! 

more knocking: 
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us 70 

And show us to be watchers : be not lost 
So poorly in your thoughts. 
Macb. To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself. 

[Knocking within. 
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou 

couldst! [Exeunt, 


Act II. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Scene III. 

The same. 
Enter a Porter. Knocking within. 

Porter. Here 's a knocking, indeed! If a man were 
porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning 
the key. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, 
knock! Who 's there, i' the name of Beelzebub? 
Here 's a farmer, that hanged himself on th' ex- 
pectation of plenty: come in time; have nap- 
kins enow about you; here you '11 sweat for 't. 
[Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who's 
there, in th' other devil's name? Faith, here 's 
an equivocator, that could swear in both the lo 
scales against either scale; who committed trea- 
son enough for God's sake, yet could not equiv- 
ocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator. 
[Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! 
Who 's there? Faith, here 's an English tailor 
come hither, for stealing out of a French hose: 
come in, tailor; here you may roast your goose. 
[Knocking zvithin.] Knock, knock; never at 
quiet! What are you? But this place is too 
cold for hell. I '11 devil-porter it no further: I 
had thought to have let in some of all profes- 20 
sions, that go the primrose way to the everlast- 
ing bonfire. [Knocking zvithin.] Anon, anon! 
I pray you, remember the porter. 

[Opens the gate. 

Enter Macduff and Lennox. 

Macd. Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed. 
That you do lie so late? 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. iii. 

Port. Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second 
cock: and drink, sir, is a great provoker of 
three things. 

Macd. What three things does drink especially pro- 
voke? 30 

Port. Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep and urine. 
Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes; it 
provokes the desire, but it takes away the per- 
formance ; 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 con- 
clusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and giving 
him the lie, leaves him. 40 

Macd. I believe drink gave thee the lie last night. 

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

Macd. Is thy master stirring? 

Enter Macbeth. 

Our knocking has awaked him ; here he comes. 
Lcn. Good morrow, noble sir. 
Macb. Good morrow, both. 

Macd. Is the king stirring, worthy thane? 
Macb. Not yet. 

Macd. He did command me to call timely on him; 50 

I had almost slipp'd the hour. 
Macb. I '11 bring you to him. 

Macd. I know this is a joyful trouble to you; 


Act II. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

But yet 'tis one. 

Mach. The labour we delight in physics pain. 
This is the door. 

Macd. I '11 make so bold to call, 

For "tis my limited service. [Exit. 

Lcn. Goes the king hence to-day? 

Macb. He does: he did appoint so. 

Len. 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 

And prophesying with accents terrible 6i 

Of dire combustion and confused events 
New hatch'd to the woful time: the obscure bird 
Clamour'd the livelong night : some say, the earth 
Was feverous and did shake. 
Mach. Twas a rough night. 

Len. My young remembrance cannot parallel 
A fellow to it. 

Re-enter Macduff. 

Macd. O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart 
Cannot conceive nor name thee. 

^^^^^- 1 What 's the matter? 

Lcn. \ 

Macd. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece. 70 

Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope 

The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 

The Hfe o' the building. 
Macb. What is 't you say? the life? 

Len. Mean you his majesty? 
Macd. Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight 

With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak; 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. iii. 

See, and then speak yourselves. 

[Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox. 
Awake, awake ! 
Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason! 
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake! 80 

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. 

[Bell rings. 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

Lady M. What 's the business. 

That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley 

The sleepers of the house? speak, speak! 
Macd. 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. 

O Banquo, Banquo! 90 

Our royal master 's murder'd. 
LadyM. Woe, alas! 

What, in our house? 
Ban. ' Too cruel any where. 

Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself, 

And say it is not so. 

Re-enter Macbeth and Lennox, Txith Ross. 

Macb. Had I but died an hour before this chance, 
I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant 


Act II. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 


There 's nothing serious in mortahty: 

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. lOO 

Enter Malcolm and Donalbain. 

Don. What is amiss? 

Mach. 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. 

Macd. Your royal father 's murder'd. 

Mai. * D, by whom? 

Len. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done 't: 
Their hands and faces were all badged wnth blood; 
So were their daggers, which unwiped we found 
Upon their pillows: 

They stared, and were distracted; no man's life 
Was to be trusted with them. no 

Mach. O, yet I do repent me of my fury, 
That I did kill them. 

Macd. Wherefore did you so? 

Mach. Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, 
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man: 
The expedition of my violent love 
Outrun the pauser reason. Here lay Duncan, 
His silver skin laced with his golden blood, 
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: wdio could refrain. 
That had a heart to love, and in that heart 122 

Courage to make 's love known? 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. iii. 

LadyM. Help me hence, ho! 

Macd. Look to the lady. 

Mai. [Aside to Don.] Why do we hold our tongues, 
That most may claim this argument for ours? 

Don. [Aside to Mai] 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. 

Mai. [Aside to Don.] Xor our strong sorrow 

Upon the foot of motion. 

Ban. Look to the lady: 130 

[Lady Macbeth is carried out. 
And when we have our naked frailties hid, 
That sufifer 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 
Of treasonous malice. 

Macd. And so do L 

All. So all. 

Mach. Let 's briefly put on manly readiness, 
And meet i' the hall together. 

^11 Well contented. 

[Exeunt all hut Malcolm and Donalbain. 

A/a/. What will you do? Let's not consort with 
them: ^40 

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office 
Which the false man does easy. I '11 to England. 

Don. 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. 
Mai This murderous shaft that 's shot 

Hath not yet Hghted, 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 150 
Which steals itself when there 's no mercy left. 


Scene IV. 

Outside MachetKs castle. 
Enter Ross with an old Man. 

OldM. Threescore and ten I can remember well: 
Within the volume of which time I have seen 
Hours dreadful and things strange, but this sore 

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: 
Is 't night's predominance, or the day's shame. 
That darkness does the face of earth entomb, 
When living light should kiss it? 

OldM. 'Tis unnatural, 10 

Even like the deed that 's done. On Tuesday last 
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, 


MACBETH Act II. Sc. iv. 

Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make 

War with mankind. 
Old M. Tis said they eat each other. 

Ross. They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes, 

That look'd upon 't. 

Enter Macduff. 

Here comes the good Macduff. 20 

How goes the world, sir, now? 
Macd. Why, see you not? 

Ross. Is 't known who did this more than bloody deed? 
Macd. Those that Macbeth hath slain. 
Ross. Alas, the day! 

What good could they pretend? 
Macd. They were suborn'd: 

Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's two sons, 

Are stol'n away and fled, which puts upon them 

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. 30 

Macd. He is already named, and gone to Scone 

To be invested. 
Ross. Where is Duncan's body? 

Macd. Carried to Colme-kill, 

The sacred storehouse of his predecessors 

And guardian of their bones. 
Ross. Will you to Scone? 

Macd. No, cousin, I '11 to Fife. 
Ross. Well, I will thither. 

Macd. Well, may you see things well done there: adieu! 


Lest our old robes sit easier than our new! 
Ross. Farewell, father. 
Old M. God's benison go with you and with those 40 

That would make good of bad and friends of foes! 


Scene I. 

Forres. The palaee. 

Enter Banquo. 

Ban. 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. 
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 
And set me up in hope? But hush, no more. 10 

Sennet sounded. Enter Maebeth, as king; Lady Macbeth, as 
queen; Lennox, Ross, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants. 

Macb. Here 's our chief guest. 

Lady M. If he had been forgotten, 

It had been as a gap in our great feast, 

And all-thing unbecoming. 
Macb. To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir, 

And I '11 request your presence. 
Ban. Let your highness 

Command upon me, to the which my duties 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. i. 

Are with a most indissoluble tie 
For ever knit. 

Macb. Ride you this afternoon? 

Ban. Ay, my good lord. 20 

Macb. We should have else desired your good advice, 
Which still hath been both grave and prosperous, 
In this day's council; but we '11 take to-morrow. 
Is 't far you ride? 

Ban. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 

'Twixt this and supper: go not my horse the better, 
I must become a borrower of the night 
For a dark hour or twain. 

Macb. Fail not our feast. 

Ban. '\ly lord, I will not. 

Macb. We hear our bloody cousins are bestow'd 30 

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 
Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse: adieu. 
Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you? 

Ban. Ay, my good lord: our time does call upon 's. 

Macb. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot. 
And so I do commend you to their backs. 
Farewell. [Exit Banqiio. 40 

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! 
[Exeunt all but Macbeth and an Attendant. 
Sirrah, a word with you: attend those men 
Our pleasure? 



Attend. They are, my lord, without the palace-gate. 

Macb. Bring them before us. [Exit Attendant. 

To be thus is nothing; 
But to be safely thus: our fears in Banquo 
Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature 50 

Reigns that which would be fear'd: 'tis much he 

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 
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: 60 

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown 
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; 
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! 70 
Rather than so, come, fate, into the list, 
And champion me to the utterance! Who 's there? 

Re-enter Attendant, with two Murderers. 

Now go to the door, and stay there till we call. 

[Exit Attendant. 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. i. 

Was it not yesterday we spoke together? 

First Miir. It was, so please your highness. 

Macb. 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 
Our innocent self: this I made good to you 
In our last conference; pass'd in probation with 
you, ^o 

How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the in- 
Who wrought with them, and all things else that 

To half a soul and to a notion crazed 
Say ' Thus did Banquo.' 

First Miir. You made it known to us. 

Mach. I did so; and went further, which is now 
Our point of second meeting. Do you find 
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 90 
And beggar'd yours for ever? 

First Miir. We are men, my liege. 

Macb. 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 
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 lOO 

That writes them all alike: and so of men. 
Now if you have a station in the file, 
Not i' the w^orst rank of manhood, say it, 
And I will put that business in your bosoms 
Whose execution takes your enemy off, 
Grapples you to the heart and love of us, 
Who wear our health but sickly in his life. 
Which in his death were perfect. 

Sec. Mnr. I am one, my liege, 

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world 
Have so incensed that I am reckless what no 

I do to spite the world. 

First Mnr. And I another 

So weary w4th disasters, tugg'd with fortune, 
That I would set my life on any chance. 
To mend it or be rid on 't. 

Macb. Both of you 

Know Banquo was your enemy. 

Both Mur. True, my lord. 

Macb. So is he mine, and in such bloody distance 
That every minute of his being thrusts 
Against my near'st of life: and though I could 
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight 
And bid my wall avouch it, yet I must not, 120 

For certain friends that are both his and mine. 
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. 

Sec, Mur. We shall, my lord, 


MACBETH Act 111. Sc. ii. 

Perform what you command us. 

First Miir. Though our lives — 

Macb. Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour 
at most 
I will advise you where to plant yourselves, 
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time, 130 
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 — 
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 '11 come to you anon. 

Both Miir. We are resolved, my lord. 

Macb. I '11 call upon you straight: abide within 140 

[Exeunt Murderers. 
It is concluded: Banquo thy soul's flight, 
If it find heaven, must find it out to-night. [Exit. 

Scene II. 

The palace. 

Enter Lady Macbeth and a Servant. 

LadyM. Is Banquo gone from court? 

Serv. Ay, madam, but returns again to-night. 

Lady M. Say to the king, I would attend his leisure 

For a few words. 
Serv. Madam, I will. [Exit. 

Lady M. Nought 's had, all 's spent, 

Where our desire is got without content: 



'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; 9 
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died 
With them they think on? Things without all 

Should be without regard: what 's done is done. 

Macb. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it: 

She '11 close and be herself, whilst our poor malice 

Remains in danger of her former tooth. 

But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds 

Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep 
In the affliction of these terrible dreams 
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 21 

In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave; 
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well; 
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison, 
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, 
Can touch him further. 

Lady M. Come on ; 

Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks; 
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night. 

Macb. So shall I, love; and so, I pray, be you: 

Let your remembrance apply to Banquo; 30 

Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue: 
Unsafe the while, that we * 

Must lave our honours in these flattering streams, 
And make our faces visards to our hearts, 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. iii. 

Disguising what they are. 

Lady M. You must leave this. 

Macb. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! 

Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives. 

Lady M. But in them nature's copy 's not eterne. 

Macb. There 's comfort yet; they are assailable; 

Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown 40 

His cloister'd flight; ere to black Hecate's summons 
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums 
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done 
A deed of dreadful note. 

LadyM. What 's to be done? 

Macb. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck. 
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 

Makes wing to the rooky wood: ' 51 

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, 
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 
Thou marvell'st at my words: but hold thee still; 
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill: 
So, prithee, go with me. [Exeunt. 

Scene III. 

A park near the palace. 

Enter three Murderers. 

First Mur. But who did bid thee join with us? 

Third Mur. Macbeth. 

Sec. Mur. He needs not our mistrust; since he delivers 



Our offices, and what we have to do, 

To the direction just. 
First Miir. Then stand with us. 

The west yet ghmmers with some streaks of day: 

Now spurs the lated traveher apace 

To gain the timely inn, and near approaches 

The subject of our watch. 
Third Mur. Hark! I hear horses. 

Ban. [Within] Give us a hght there, ho! 
Sec. Mur. Then 'tis he : the rest 

That are within the note of expectation lo 

Already are i' the court. 
First Mur. His horses go about. 

Third Miir. Almost a mile: but he does usually — 

So all men do — from hence to the palace gate 

Make it their w^alk. 
Sec. Mur. A light, a Hght! 

Enter Banquo, and Flcancc zvith a torch. 

Third Mur. 'Tis he. 

First Mur. Stand to 't. 

Ban. It will be rain to-night. 

First Mw. Let it come down. 

[ They set upon Banquo. 
Ban. O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! 

Thou mayst revenge. O slave! 

[Dies. Fleance escapes. 
Third Mur. \Mio did strike out the light? 
First Mur. Was 't not the way? 

Third Mur. There 's but one down; the son is fled. 
Sec. Mur. We have lost 20 

Best half of our affair. 
First Mur. Well, let 's away and say how much is done. 



MACBETH Act III. Sc. iv. 

Scene IV. 

Hall in the palace. 

A banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, 
Ross, Lennox, Lords, aiid Attendants. 

Macb. You know your own degrees; sit down: at first 

And last a hearty welcome. 
Lords. Thanks to your majesty. 

Macb. 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 M. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends, 

For my heart speaks they are welcome. 

Enter first Murderer to the door. 

Macb. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks. 

Both sides are even: here 1 '11 sit i' the midst: lo 

Be large in mirth; anon we '11 drink a measure 

The table round. [Approaching the door] There 's 
blood upon thy face. 
Mur. 'Tis Banquo's then. 
Macb. 'Tis better thee without than he within. 

Is he dispatch'd? 
Mur. I\Iy lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him. 
Macb. 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. 
Mur. ^lost royal sir, 

Fleance is 'scaped. 20 

Macb. [Aside] Then comes my fit again: I had else been 



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 

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

Mur. Ay, my good lord: safe in a ditch he bides, 
With twenty trenched gashes on his head; 
The least a death to nature. 

Macb. Thanks for that. 

[Aside] There the grown serpent lies; the worm 

that 's fled 
Hath nature that in time will venom breed, 30 

No teeth for the present. Get thee gone: to-morrow 
We '11 hear ourselves again. [Exit Murderer. 

Lady M. 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; 
Meeting were bare without it. 

Macb. Sweet remembrancer! 

Now good digestion wait on appetite. 
And health on both! 

Leu. May 't please your highness sit. 

[The Ghost of Bajiqiio enters, and sits in Macbeth' s plaee. 

Macb. Here had we now our country's honour roof'd, 40 

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 high- 

To grace us with vour roval company. 
Macb, The table 's full.^ 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. iv. 

Len. Here is a place reserved, sir. 

Macb. Where? 

Len, Here, my good lord. What is 't that moves your 

Macb. Which of you have done this? 

Lords. What, my good lord? 

Macb. Thou canst not say I did it: never shake 50 

Thy gory locks at me. 

Ross. Gentlemen, rise; his highness is not well. 

LadyM. 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. Are you a man? 

Macb. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that 
Which might appal the devil. 

LadyM. O proper stuff! 60 

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. 
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. 

Macb. Prithee, see there! behold! look! lo! how say 
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too. 
If charnel-houses and our graves must send 71 

Those that we bury back, our monuments 
Shall be the maws of kites. [Exit Ghost. 

LadyM. What, quite unmann'd in folly? 


Macb. If I stand here, I saw him. 

Lady M . Fie, for shame ! 

Macb. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time, 
Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal ; 
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd 
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, 80 

With twenty mortal murders on their crowns, 
And push us from our stools: this is more strange 
Than such a murder is. 

Lady M. My worthy lord, 

Your noble friends do lack you. 

Macb. 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 

Then I '11 sit dow^n. Give me some wine, fill full. 
I drink to the general joy o' the whole table. 
And to our dear friend Banquo, wdiom we miss; 90 
Would he were here! to all and him we thirst. 
And all to all. 

Lords. Our duties, and the pledge. 

Re-enter Ghost. 

Macb. Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide 

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; 

Thou hast no speculation in those eyes 

Which thou dost glare with. 
Lady ^L Think of this, good peers, 

But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other; 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. iv. 

Only it spoils the pleasure of the time. 

Macb. What man dare, I dare: 

Approach thou hke the rugged Russian bear, lOO 
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; 
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me 
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow! 
Unreal mockery, hence! [Exit Ghost. 

\Miy, so: being gone, 
I am a man again. Pray you, sit still. 

LadyM. You have displaced the mirth, broke the good 
With most admired disorder. 

Macb. Can such things be, no 

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 blanch'd with fear. 

Ross. What sights, my lord? 

LadyM. I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and 
Question enrages him: at once, good night: 
Stand not upon the order of your going, 
But go at once. 

Lcn. Good night; and better health 120 

Attend his majesty! 

LadyM. A kind good night to all! 

[Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady M. 



Macb. It will have blood : they say blood will have blood: 
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak; 
Augures and understood relations have 
By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought 

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

Lady M. Almost at odds with morning, which is which. 

Macb. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person 
At our great bidding? 

LadyM. Did you send to him, sir? 

Macb. I hear it by the way, but I will send: 130 

There 's not a one of them but in his house 
I keep a servant fee'd. I w^ill to-morrow, 
And betimes I will, to the v/eird 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 
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. 140 

Lady M. You lack the season of all natures, sleep. 

Macb. Come, we '11 to sleep. My strange and self-abuse 
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use: 
We are yet but young in deed. [Exeunt, 

Scene V. 

A heath. 

Thunder. Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate. 

First Witch. Why, how now, Hecate! you look angerly. 
Hec. Have I not reason, beldams as you are, 
Saucy and over-bold? How did you dare 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. v. 

To trade and traffic with Macbeth 

In riddles and affairs of death; 

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 lo 

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 

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 '11 spend 20 

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 '11 catch it ere it come to ground: 

And that distillVl 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 30 

His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace and fear: 

And you all know security 

Is mortals' chiefest enemy. 

[Music and a song zvithin : ' Come azvay, 
come azvay' etc. 


Act III. Sc. vi. TH£ TRAGEDY OF 

Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see, 
Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me. [Exit. 

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

Scene VI. 

Forres. The palace. 

Enter Lennox and another Lord. 

Lcn. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts. 
Which can interpret farther; only I say 
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious 

Was pitied of Macbeth: marry, he was dead: 
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 
To kill their gracious father? damned fact! lo 

Kow 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; 
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 should 

What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance. 20 
But, peace! for from broad words, and 'cause he 

His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear, 


MACBETH Act III. Sc. vi. 

Macduff lives in disgrace: sir, can you tell 
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 
That the malevolence of fortune nothing 
Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff 
Is gone to pray the holy king, upon his aid 30 

To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward: 
That by the help of these, with Him above 
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 
Hath so exasperate the king that he 
Prepares for some attempt of war. 

Lni. Sent he to ^Macduff? 

Lord. He did: and with an absolute ' Sir, not I,' 40 

The cloudy messenger turns me his back. 
And hums, as who should say ' You'll rue the time 
That clogs me with this answer/ 

Lcn. And that well might 

Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance 
His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel 
Fly to the court of England and unfold 
His message ere he come, that a swift blessing 
May soon return to this our suffering country 
Under a hand accursed! 

Lord. I '11 send my prayers with him. 



Scene I. 

A cavern. In the middle, a boiling caiddron. 

Thunder, Enter the three Witches. 

First Witch. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. 
Sec. Witch. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined. 
Third Witch. Harpier cries ' 'Tis time, 'tis time.' 
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, 

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot. 
All. Double, double toil and trouble; lo 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 
Sec. Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake, 

In the cauldron boil and bake; 

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 howlet's wing. 

For a charm of powerful trouble, 

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 
All. Double, double toil and trouble; 20 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 
Third Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, 

Witches' mummy, maw and gulf 

Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark. 

Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark, 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. i. 

Liver of blaspheming Jew, 

Gall of goat and slips of yew 

Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse, 

Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips, 

Finger of birth-strangled babe 30 

Ditch-deliver'd by a drab, 

Make the gruel thick and slab: 

Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, 

For the ingredients of our cauldron. 
AIL Double, double toil and trouble; 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 
Sec. Witch. Cool it with a baboon's blood. 

Then the charm is firm and good. 

Enter Hecate to the other three Witches. 

Hec. O, well done! I commend your pains; 

And every one shall share i' the gains: 40 

And now about the cauldron sing, 

Like elves and fairies in a ring, 

Enchanting all that you put in. 

[Music and a song: ' Black spirits,' etc. 
[Hecate retires. 
Sec. Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs. 

Something wicked this way comes: 

Open, locks, 

Whoever knocks! 

Enter Macbeth. 

Macb. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags' 

What is't you do? 
^^^- A deed without a name. 

Macb. I conjure you, by that which you profess, 50 

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 

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 

Of nature's germins tumble all together, 

Even till destruction sicken; answer me 60 

To what I ask you. 
First Witch. Speak. 

Sec. Witch. Demand. 

I'hird Witch. We '11 answer. 

First Witch. Say, if thou 'dst rather hear it from our 

Or from our masters? 
Macb. Call 'em, let me see 'em. 

First Witch. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 

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! 

Thunder. First Apparition: an armed Head. 

Macb. Tell me, thou unknown power, — 
First Witch. He knows thy thought : 

Hear his speech, but say thou nought. 70 

First App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Mac- 
Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me: enough. 

Macb. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution thanks; 
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright: but one word 
more, — 



First Witch. He will not be commanded; here 's another, 
More potent than the first. 

Thunder. Second Apparition: a bloody Child. 

Sec.App. Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! 

Mach. Had I three ears, I 'Id hear thee. 

Sec. App. Be bloody, bold and resolute; laugh to scorn 
The power of man, for none of woman born 80 

Shall harm Macbeth. [Descends. 

Mach. Then live, Macdufif: what need I fear of thee? 
But yet I '11 make assurance doubly 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 crozvned, ivith a tree 
in his hand. 

What is this. 
That rises Hke the issue of a king, 
And wears upon his baby-brow the round 
And top of sovereignty? 

All Listen, but speak not to 't. 

Third App. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care 90 
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. [Descends, 

Mach. 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 
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 lOO 

Throbs to know one thing: tell me, if your art 
Can tell so much: shall Banquo's issue ever 
Reign in this kingdom? 

All. Seek to know no more. 

Macb. 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? 


First Witch. Show! 

Sec. Witch. Show! 

Third Witch. Show! 

All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; no 

Come like shadows, so depart! 

A shozi' of eight Kings, the last zcith a glass in his hand; 
Banquo's Ghost foUozving. 

Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo: down! 
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair. 
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 Hne stretch out to the crack of doom? 
Another yet! A seventh! I '11 see no more: 
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass 
Which show^s me many more; and some I see 120 
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry: 
Horrible sight! Now I see 'tis true; 
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me, 
And points at them for his. What, is this so? 

First Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so : but why 
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly? 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. i. 

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites. 

And show the best of our delights : 

I '11 charm the air to give a sound. 

While you perform your antic round, 130 

That this great king may kindly say 

Our duties did his welcome pay. 

\_Mttsic. The Witches danee, and then 
vanish, with Hecate. 
Macb. Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious 
Stand aye accursed in the calendar! 
Come in, without there! 

Enter Lennox. 

Len. What 's your grace's will? 

Macb. Saw you the weird sisters? 

Len. No, my lord. 

Macb. Came they not by you? 

Len. No indeed, my lord. 

Macb. 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? 140 

Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word 
Macduff is fled to England. 

Macb. Fled to England! 

Len. Ay, my good lord. 

Macb. [Aside] Time, thou anticipatest my dread ex- 
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook 
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 



The castle of Macduff I will surprise; 150 

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 '11 do before this purpose cool: 

But no more sights! — \\niere are these gentlemen? 

Come, bring me where they are. [Exeunt. 

Scene II. 

Fife. Macduif's castle. 
Enter Lady Macduff, her Son, and Ross. 

L. Macd. What had he done, to make him fly the land? 

Ross. You must have patience, madam. 

L. Macd. 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. 

L. Macd. 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, 10 

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. ]\Iy dearest coz, 

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 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. ii. 

But cruel are the times, when we are traitors 

And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumour 

From what we fear, yet know not what we fear, 20 

But float upon a wild and violent sea 

Each way and move. I take my leave of you: 

Shall not be long but I '11 be here again: 

Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward 

To what they were before. My pretty cousin, 

Blessing upon you! 

L. Macd. Father'd he is, and yet he 's fatherless. 

Ross. I am so much a fool, should I stay longer, 
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort: 
I take my leave at once. [Exit. 

L.Macd. Sirrah, your father's dead: 30 

And what will you do now? How will you live? 

Son. As birds do, mother. 

L. Macd. What, with worms and flies? 

Son. With what I get, I mean: and so do they. 

L.Macd. Poor bird! thou 'Idst never fear the net nor 
The pitfall nor the gin. 

Son. Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not 
set for. 
My father is not dead, for all your saying. 

L. Macd. Yes, he is dead: how wilt thou do for a father? 

Son. Nay, how will you do for a husband? 

L. Macd. Why, I can buy me twenty at any market, 40 

Son. Then you '11 buy 'em to sell again. 

L. Macd. Thou speak'st with all thy wit, and yet, i' faith. 
With wit enough for thee. 

Son. Was my father a traitor, mother? 

L. Macd. Ay, that he was. 

Son. W^hat is a traitor? 



L. Macd. Why, one that swears and lies. 
Son. And be all traitors that do so? 
L. Macd. Every one that does so is a traitor, and must 
be hanged. 50 

Son. And must they all be hanged that swear and lie? 
L. Macd. Every one. 
Son. Who must hang them? 
L. Macd. Why, the honest men. 
Son. Then the liars and swearers are fools ; for there 

are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest 

men and hang up them. 
L. Macd. Now, God help thee, poor monkey! 

But how wilt thou do for a father? 
Son. If he were dead, you 'Id weep for him : if you 60 

would not, it were a good sign that I should 

quickly have a new father. 
L.Macd. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st! 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. Bless you, fair dame! I am not to you known, 
Though in your state of honour I am perfect. 
I doubt some danger does approach you nearly: 
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, 70 

Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve 

I dare abide no longer. [Exit 

L.Macd. Whither should I fly? 

I have done no harm. But I remember now 
I am in this earthly world, where to do harm 
Is often laudable, to do good sometime 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. iii. 

Accounted dangerous folly: why then, alas, 
Do I put up that womanly defence. 
To say I have done no harm? — What are these 

Enter Murderers. 

First Mur. Where is your husband? 

L. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified 8o 

Where such as thou mayst find him. 
First Mur. c He 's a traitor. 

Son. Thou liest, thou shag-ear'd villain! 
First Mur. What, you ^gg\ 

[Stabbing him. 

Young fry of treachery! 

Son. He has kill'd me, mother: 

Run away, I pray you! [Dies. 

[Exit Lady Macduif, crying ' Murderer! ' 

[Exeunt murderers, following her. 

Scene III. 

England. Before the King's palace. 
Enter Malcolm and Macduff. 

Mai. Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there 
Weep our sad bosoms empty. 

Macd. Let us rather 

Hold fast the mortal sword, and Hke good men 
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. 
Mai What I believe, I'll wail; 


Act IV. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

What know, believe; and what I can redress, 
As I shall find the time to friend, I will. lo 

What you have spoke, it may be so perchance. 
This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues. 
Was once thought honest: you have loved him well; 
He hath not touch'd you yet. I am young; but 

You may deserve of him through me ; and wisdom 
To ofTer up a weak, poor, innocent lamb 
To appease an angry god. 

Macd. I am not treacherous. 

Mai But Alacbeth is. 

A good and virtuous nature may recoil 19 

In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your par- 
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 

Yet grace must still look so. 

Macd. I have lost my hopes. 

Mai. Perchance even there where I did find my doubts. 
Why in that rawness left you wife and child, 
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love, 
Without leave-taking? I pray you. 
Let not my jealousies be your dishonours, 
But mine ow^n safeties. You may be rightly just, 30 
Whatever I shall think. 

Macd. Bleed, bleed, poor country: 

Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure, 
For goodness dare not check thee: wear thou thy 

wrongs ; 
The title is afifeer'd. Fare thee well, lord: 
I would not be the villain that thou think'st 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. iii. 

For the whole space that 's in the tyrant's grasp 
And the rich East to boot. 

Mai. 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 40 
Is added to her wounds: I think w^ithal 
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. 
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. 

Macd. What should he be? 

Mai. It is myself I mean : in w^hom I know 50 

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 
With my confineless harms. 

Macd. Not in the legions 

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn'd 
In evils to top Macbeth. 

Mai. I grant him bloody, 

Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, 
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin 
That has a name: but there 's no bottom, none, 60 
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters, 
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up 
The cistern of my lust, and my desire 


Act IV. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OK 

All continent impediments would o'erbear, 
That did oppose my will: better Alacbeth 
Than such an one to reign. 

Macd. Boundless intemperance 

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 70 

Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenty, 
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 w'ill to orreatness dedicate themselves, 
Finding it so inclined. 

Mai. AMth 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: 80 

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. 

Macd. This avarice 

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, 
With other graces weigh'd. 90 

Mai. But I Have none: the king-becoming graces, 
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. iii. 

Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, 

Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude, 

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 

All unity on earth. 

Macd. O Scotland, Scotland! lOO 

Mai If such a one be fit to govern, speak: 
I am as I have spoken. 

Macd. Fit to govern! 

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. 
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, no 

Died every day she lived. Fare thee well! 
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself 
Have banish'd me from Scotland. O my breast, 
Thy hope ends here! 

Mai Macduff, this noble passion, 

Child of integrity, hath from my soul 
Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts 
To thy good truth and honour. DeviHsh 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 120 
Deal between thee and me! for even now 


Act IV. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

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, 
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, 131 

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 '11 together, and the chance of goodness 
Be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent? 
Macd. Such welcome and unwelcome things at once 
'Tis hard to reconcile. 

Enter a Doctor. 

Mai Well, more anon. Comes the king forth, I pray 
you? 140 

Doct. 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. 

Mel. I thank you, doctor. [Exit Doctor. 

Macd. What 's the disease he means? 

Mai 'Tis call'd the evil: 

A most miraculous work in this good king; 
Which often, since my here-remain in England, 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. iii. 

I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven, 

Himself best knows : but strangely-visited people, 

All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye, 151 

The mere despair of surgery, ne cures, 

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, 

And sundry blessings hang about his throne 

That speak him full of grace. 

Enter Ross. 

Macd. See, who comes here? 

Mai. My countryman; but yet I know him not. 160 

Macd. Aly ever gentle cousin, welcome hither. 

Mai. I know him now : Good God, betimes remove 
The means that makes us strangers! 

Ross. Sir, Amen. 

Macd. Stands Scotland where it did? 

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 

Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstasy: the dead man's knell 170 

Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good men's lives 
Expire before the flowers in their caps. 
Dying or ere they sicken. 

Macd. O, relation 

Too nice, and yet too true! 


Act IV. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Mai. What 's the newest grief? 

Ross. That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker; 
Each minute teems a new one. 

Macd. How does my wife? 

Ross. Why, well. 

Macd. And all my children? 

Ross. Well too. 

Macd. The tyrant has not batter'd at their peace? 

Ross. No; they were well at peace when I did leave 'em. 

Macd. Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes 't? 

Ross. When I came hither to transport the tidings, i8i 
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour 
Of many worthy fellows that were out; 
Which was to my behef 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. 

Mai. Be 't their comfort 

We are coming thither: gracious England hath 
Lent us good Si ward and ten thousand men; 190 
An older and a better soldier none 
That Christendom gives out. 

Ross. Would I could answer 

This comfort with the Hke! But I have words 
That would be howl'd out in the desert air, 
Where hearing should not latch them. 

Macd. What concern they? 

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 


MACBETH Act IV. Sc. iii. 

Pertains to you alone. 
Macd. If it be mine, 

Keep it not from me, quickly let me have it. 200 
Ross. Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever, 

Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound 

That ever yet they heard. 
Macd. 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. 
Mai. [Merciful heaven! 

What, man! ne'er pull your hat upon your brows; 

Give sorrow words : the grief that does not speak 

Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break. 
Macd. My children too? 
Ross. Wife, children, servants, all 211 

That could be found. 
Macd. And I must be from thence! 

My wife kill'd too? 
Ross. I have said. 

Mai. Be comforted: 

Let 's make us medicines of our great revenge, 

To cure this deadly grief. 
Macd. He has no children. All my pretty ones? 

Did you say all ? O hell-kite ! All ? 

What, all my pretty chickens and their dam 

At one fell swoop? 
Mai. Dispute it like a man. 
Macd. I shall do so; 220 

But I must also feel it as a man: 

I cannot but remember such things were, 



That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on, 
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff, 
They v>ere all struck for thee! naught that I am, 
Not for their own demerits, but for mine. 
Fell slaughter on their souls: heaven rest them now! 

Mai. Be this the whetstone of your sword: let grief 
Convert to anger; blunt not the heart, enrage it. 

Macd. O, I could play the woman with mine eyes, 230 
And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heav- 
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! 

Mai This tune goes manly. 

Come, go we to the king; our power is ready; 
Our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth 
Is ripe for shaking, and the powers above 
Put on their instruments. Receive what cheer you 
may; 239 

The night is long that never finds the day. [ Exeunt. 

Scene I. 

Dunsinanc. Ante-room in the eastle. 
Enter a Doctor of Physie and a W aiting-Gentlczvomun. 

Doct. I have two nights watched with you, but can 
perceive no truth in your report. When was it 
she last walked? 

Cent. Since his majesty went into the field, I have 
seen her rise from her bed, throw her night- 


MACBETH Aot V. Sc. i. 

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. 

Doct. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at lo 
once the benefit of sleep and do the eiifects of 
watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides 
her walking and other actual performances, 
what, at any time, have you heard her say? 

Gcnf. That, sir, which I will not report after her. 

Doct. You may to me, and 'tis most meet you should. 

Gciit. Neither to you nor any one, having no witness 
to confirm my speech. 

Enter Lady Macbeth, zvith a taper. 

Lo you, here she comes ! This is her very guise, 

and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; 20 

stand close. 
Doct. How came she by that light? 
Gent. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her 

continually; 'tis her command. 
Doct. You see, her eyes are open. 
Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut. 
Doct. Wliat is it she does now? Look, how she 

rubs her hands. 
Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem 

thus washing her hands : I have known her con- 30 

tinue in this a quarter of an hour. 
Lady M. Yet here 's a spot. 
Doct. Hark! she speaks: I will set down what 

comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the 

more strongly. 



LadyM. Out, damned spot! out, I say! One: two: 

why, then 'tis time to do 't. Hell is murky. 

Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What 

need we fear who knows it, when none can tell 

our power to account? Yet who would have 40 

thought the old man to have had so much blood 

in him? 
Doct. Do you mark that? 
LadyM. 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. 
Doct. Go to, go to; you have known what you 

should not. 
Gent. She has spoke what she should not, I am 50 

sure of that: heaven knows what she has 

LadyM. Here's the smell of the blood still: all the 

perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little 

hand. Oh, oh, oh! 
Doct. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely 

Gcjif. I would not have such a heart in my bosom 

for the dignity of the whole body. 
Doct. Well, well, well,— 60 

Gent. Pray God it be, sir. 
Doct. This disease is beyond my practice: yet I have 

kdbwn' those which have walked in their sleep 
• who have died holily in their beds. 
Lady M. Wash your hands ; put on your nightgown ; 

look not so pale: I tell you yet again, Banquo 's 

buried; he cannot come out on 's grave. 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. ii. 

Doct. Even so? 

LadyM. To bed, to bed; there's knocking at the 

gate: come, come, come, come, give me your 70 

hand: what 's done cannot be undone: to bed, 

to bed, to bed. [Exit. 

Doct. Will she go now to bed? 

Gent. Directly. 

Doct. Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds 
Do breed unnatural troubles : infected minds 
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, 80 
And still keep eyes upon her. So good night: 
]\Iy mind she has mated and amazed my sight: 
I think, but dare not speak. 

Gent. Good night, good doctor. 


Scene II. 

The country near Dunsinane. 

Drum and colours. Enter Menteith, Caithness, Angus, 
Lennox, and Soldiers. 

Ment. 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 
Excite the mortified man. 

Ang. Near Birnam wood 

Shall we w^ell meet them ; that way are they coming. 

Caith. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother? 


Act V. Sc. ii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Lcn. For certain, sir, he is not: I have a file 
Of all the gentry: there is Siward's son. 
And many imrough youths, that even now lo 

Protest their first of manhood. 

Ment. What does the tyrant? 

Caith. Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies: 

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. 

Aug. Now does he feel 

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 20 

Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe 
Upon a dwarfish thief. 

Ment. Who then shall blame 

His pester'd senses to recoil and start, 
When all that is within him does condemn 
Itself for being there? 

Caith. 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. 

Lcn. Or so much as it needs 

To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds. 
Make we our march towards Birnam. 31 

{Exeunt, marching. 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. iii. 

Scene III. 

Dunsinanc. A room in tha castle. 
Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants. 

Macb. 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 : 
' Fear not, Macbeth; no man that 's born of woman 
Shall e'er have power upon thee.' Then fly, false 

And mingle with the English epicures: 
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear 
Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear. lo 

Ejiter a Servant. 

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon! 

Where got'st thou that goose look? 
Serv. There is ten thousand — 
Macb. Geese, villain? 

Serz'. Soldiers, sir. 

Macb. Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear, 

Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch? 

Death of thy soul! those Hnen cheeks of thine 

Are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face? 
Serv. The English force, so please you. 
Macb. Take thy face hence. [Exit Servant. 

Seyton! — I am sick at heart, 

When I behold — Seyton, I say! — This push 20 

Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now. 

I have lived long enough : my way of life 


Act V. Sc. iii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Is fall'ii into the sear, the yellow leaf, 
And that which should accompany old age, 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
I must not look to have; but, in their stead, 
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, 
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare noi. 

Enter Seyton. 

Sey. What 's your gracious pleasure? 
Mach. What news more? 30 

Sey. All is confirm 'd, my lord, which was reported. 
Mach. I '11 fight, till from my bones my flesh be hack'd. 

Give me my armour. 
Sey. 'Tis not needed yet. 

Mach. I '11 put it on. 

Send out moe horses, skirr the country round; 

Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine ar- 

How does your patient, doctor? 
Doct. ' Not so sick, my lord, 

As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies, 

That keep her from her rest. 
Macb. Cure her of that. 

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, 40 

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, 

Raze out the written troubles of the brain, 

And with some sweet oblivious antidote 

Cleanse the stufT'd bosom of that perilous stuff 

Which weighs upon the heart? 
Doct. Therein the patient 

Must mxinister to himself. 
Macb. Throw physic to the dogs, I '11 none of it. 

Come, put mine armour on; give me my staff, 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. iv. 

Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me. 
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast 
The water of my land, find her disease 51 

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. 
What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug. 
Would scour these English hence? Hear'st thou 
of them? 

Doct. Ay, my good lord; your royal preparation 
Makes us hear something. 

Macb. Bring it after me. 

I will not be afraid of death and bane 
Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane. 60 

Doct. [Aside'\ Were I from Dunsinane away and clear. 
Profit again should hardly draw me here. [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. 

Country near Birnam wood. 

Drum and colours. Enter Malcolm, old Sizuard and his 
Son, Macduff, Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, 
Ross, and Soldiers, marching. 

Mai. Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand 

That chambers will be safe. 
Ment. We doubt it nothing. 

Sizv. What wood is this before us? 

Ment. The wood of Birnam. 

Mai. Let every soldier hew him down a bough. 

And bear 't before him : thereby shall we shadow 

The numbers of our host, and make discovery 

Err in report of us. 



Soldiers. It shall be done. 

Siw. We learn no other but the confident tyrant 

Keeps still in Dunsinane, and will endure 

Our setting down before 't. 
Mai. 'Tis his main hope: lo 

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 

Whose hearts are absent too. 
Macd. Let our just censures 

Attend the true event, and put we on 

Industrious soldiership. 
Siw. The time approaches, 

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 nuist arbitrate: 20 

Towards which advance, the war. 

[Exeunt, marching. 

Scene V. 

Dunsinane. JVithiii the castle. 

Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, zvith drum and colours. 

Macb. 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 
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 zvomen within. 
What is that noise? 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. v. 

Sey. It is the cry of women, my good lord. [Exit. 

Mach. I have almost forgot the taste of fears : 

The time has been, my senses would have cool'd lO 
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, famiUar to my slaughterous thoughts, 
Cannot once start me. 

Re-enter Seyton. 

Wherefore was that cry? 

Sey. The queen, my lord, is dead. 

Mach. She should have died hereafter; 

There would have been a time for such a word. 
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 
Creeps in this petty pace from, day to day, 20 

To the last syllable of recorded time; 
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! 
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. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Thou comest to use thy tongue; thy story quickly. 
Mess. Gracious my lord, 3° 

I should report that which I say I saw, 

But know not how to do it. 
Mach. Well, say, sir. 

Mess, As I did stand my watch upon the hill, 


Act V. Sc. vi. THE TRAGEDY OF 

I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought, 
The wood began to move. 

Macb. Liar and slave! 

Mess. Let me endure your wrath, if 't be not so : 
Within this three mile may you see it coming; 
I say, a moving grove. 

Macb. If thou speak'st false, 

Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive. 
Till famine cling thee : if thy speech be sooth, 40 
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 
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 a-weary of the sun, 49 

And wish the estate o' the world were now undone. 
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack! 
At least we '11 die with harness on our back. [Exeunt. 

Scene VL 

Dunsinane. Before the castle. 

Drum and colours. Enter Malcolm, old Siward, Macduff, 
and their Army, with boughs. 

Mai. Now near enough; your leavy screens throw down. 
And show Hke those you are. You, worthy uncle, 
Shall, with my cousin, your right noble son, 
Lead our first battle : worthy Macduff and we 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. vii. 

Shall take upon 's what else remains to do, 

According to our order. 
Sizi\ Fare you well. 

Do we but find the tyrant's power to-night, 

Let us be beaten, if we cannot fight. 
Macd. Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath, 

Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death. lo 


Scene VII. 

Another part of the field. 

Alarums. Enter Macbeth. 

Macb. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, 

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. 

Enter young Sizi^^ard. 

Yd. Sizv. What is thy name? 

Macb. Thou 'It be afraid to hear it. 

Yo. Sizi'. No; though thou call'st thyself a hotter name 

Than any is in hell. 
Macb. My name 's Macbeth. 

Yo. Sizv. The devil himself could not pronounce a title 

More hateful to mine ear. 
Macb. No, nor more fearful. 

Fo. ^m-. Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword lo 

I '11 prove the lie thou speak'st. 

[They fight, and young Sizvard is slain. 
Macb. Thou wast born of woman. 

But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, 

Brandish'd by man that 's of a woman born. [Exit. 

Act V. Sc. viii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

Alarums. Enter Macduff. 

Macd. 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, 
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 21 

Seems bruited: let me find him, fortune! 
And more I beg not. [Exit. Alarums. 

Enter Malcolm and old Sizuard. 

Siw. This way, my lord; the castle 's gently render'd; 

The tyrant's people on both sides do fight; 

The noble thanes do bravely in the war; 

The day almost itself professes yours. 

And little is to do. 
Mai. We have met with foes 

That strike beside us. 
Siw. Enter, sir, the castle. 

[Exeunt. Alarum. 

Scene VIII. 

Another part of the field. 

Enter Macbeth. 

Macb. Why should I play the Roman fool, and die 

On mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes 
Do better upon them. 

MACBETH Act V. Sc. viii. 

Enter Macduff. 

Macd. Turn, hell-hound, turn! 

Macb. Of all men else I have avoided thee: 

But get thee back; my soul is too much charged 
With blood of thine already. 

Macd. I have no words: 

]\Iy voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain 
Than terms can give thee out! [They fight. 

Macb. Thou losest labour: 

As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air 
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed: lo 
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests; 
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield 
To one of woman born. 

Macd. Despair thy charm. 

And let the angel whom thou still hast served 
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's w^omb 
.Untimely ripp'd. 

Macb. Accursed be that tongue that tells me so, 
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; 20 

That keep the word of promise to our ear, 
And break it to our hope. I '11 not fight with thee. 

Macd. Then yield thee, coward, 

And live to be the show and gaze o' the time: 
We '11 have thee, as our rarer monsters are, 
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit, 
' Here may you see the tyrant/ 

Macb. I will not yield, 

To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, 

10 H 


Act V. Sc. viii. THE TRAGEDY OF 

And to be baited with the rabble's curse. 
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, 30 
And thou opposed, being of no woman born, 
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, fightiiig. Alanuns. 

Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum and colours, Maleol:>:, 
old Siward, Ross, the other Thanes, and Soldiers. 

Mai. I would the friends wx miss were safe arrived. 
Sii<\ Some must go off: and yet, by these I see, 

So great a day as this is cheaply bought. 
Mai. Macduff is missing, and your noble son. 
Ross. Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt: 

He only lived but till he was a man; 40 

The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd 

In the unshrinking station where he fought, 

But like a man he died. 
Siw. 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. 
Sizi^\ Had he his hurts before? 

Ross. Ay, on the front. 
Sizv. Why then, God's soldier be he I 

Had 1 as many sons as I have hairs, 

I would not wish them to a fairer death: 

And so his knell is knoU'd. 
Mai. He 's worth more sorrow, 50 

And that I '11 spend for him. 
Sizv. He 's worth no more: 


MACBETH Act V. Sc. vin. 

They say he parted well and paid his score: 
And so God be with him! Here comes newer com- 

Re-enter Macduff, zvith Macbetlis head. 

Macd. 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; 
Whose voices I desire aloud with mine: 
Hail, King of Scotland! 

All. Hail, King of Scotland! 


Mai. We shall not spend a large expense of time 60 

Before we reckon with your several loves. 
And make us even with you. My thanes and kins- 
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland 
In such an honour named. What 's more to do. 
Which would be planted newly Vv-ith the time. 
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 70 
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. 

[Flourish. Exeunt. 




A one, 2l man (Theobald from 
Davenant, " a Thane " ; 
Grant White, "a man"); 
III, iv. 131. 

Absolute, positive; III. vi. 40. 

Abuse, deceive; II. i. 50. 

Acheron, the river of the in- 
fernal regions; III. v. 15. 

Adder's fork, the forked 
tongue of the adder; IV. i. 16, 

Addition, title; I. iii. 106. 

Address' d them, prepared 
themselves; II. ii. 24. 

Adhere, were in accordance; I. 
vii. 52. 

Admired, wondrous-strange; 
III. iv. no. 

Advise, instruct ; III. i. 129. 

Afeard, afraid ; I. iii. 96. 

Affection, disposition; IV. iii. 

Affeer'd, confirmed; IV. iii. 34. 
Alarm, call to arms; V. ii. 4. 
Alarum'd, alarmed ; II. i. 53. 
All, any; III. ii. 11. 
; "and all to all," i. e. and 

we all (drink) to all; III. iv. 

All-thing, in every way ; III. i. 


A-making, in course of prog- 
ress; III. iv. 34. 

Angel, genius, demon ; V. viii. 

Angerly, angrily; III. v.. i. 

Annoyance, hurt, harm; V. i. 

Anon, immediately; I. i. 10. 

Anon, anon, " coming, com- 
ing " ; the general answer of 
waiters ; II. iii. 23. 

An't, if it (Folios, "and't")', 

III. vi. 19. 

Antic, grotesque, old-fash- 
ioned; IV. i. 130. 

Anticipatest, dost prevent; IV. 
i. 144. 

Apace, quickly; III. iii. 6. 

Apply, be devoted; III. ii. 30. 

Approve, prove ; I. vi. 4. 

Argument, subject, theme; II. 
iii. 126. 

Arm'd, encased in armour; III. 
iv. loi. 

Aroint thee, begone; I. iii. 6. 

Artificial, made by art; III. v. 

As, as if; II. iv. 18. 
Assay; "the great a. of art," 
the greatest effort of skill ; 

IV. iii. 143. 

Attend, await; III. ii. 3. 

Augures, auguries; (?) au- 
gurs; III. iv. 124. 

Authorised by, given on the au- 
thority of; III. iv. 66. 
Avouch, assert; III. i. 120. 




Baby of a girl, (?) girl's doll; 
according to others, " feeble 
child of an immature moth- 
er "; III. iv. io6. 

Badged, smeared, marked (as 
with a badge) ; II. iii. io6. 

Bane, evil, harm; V. iii. 59. 

Battle, division of an army ; V. 
vi. 4. 

Beguile, deceive; I. v. 64. 

Bellman "the fatal bellman"; 
II. ii. 3. (Cp. illustration.) 

From a XVIth cent, black-letter ballad. 

Bellona, the goddess of war ; I. 

ii. 54. 
Bend up, strain ; I. vii. 79. 
Benison, blessing; II. iv. 40. 
Bent, determined ; III. iv. 134. 
Best, good, suitable; III. iv. 5. 
Bestow' d, staying; III. i. 30. 
Bestows himself, has settled; 

III. vi. 24. 
Bestride, stand over in posture 

of defence ; IV. iii. 4. 
Bides, lies ; III. iv. 26. 
Bill, catalogue ; III. i. 100. 
Birnam, a high hill twelve 

miles from Dunsinane; IV. i. 


Birthdom, land of our birth, 

mother-country; IV. iii. 4. 
Bladed; " b. corn," corn in the 

blade, when the ear is still 

green; IV. i. 55. 
Blind-ivorm, glow-worm; IV. 

i. 16. 
Blood-bolter'd, locks matted 

into hard clotted blood ; IV. 

i. 123. 
Blow, blow upon ; I. iii. 15. 
Bodements, forebodings; IV. i. 

Boot; "to b.." in addition; IV. 

iii. 37- 
Borne, conducted, managed; 

III. vi. 3. 

Borne in hand, kept up by false 

hopes ; III. i. 81. 
Bosom, close and intimate; I. 

ii. 64. 
Brainsickly, madly; II. ii. 46. 
Break, disclose ; I. vii. 48. 
Breech'd, " having the very 

hilt, or breech, covered with 

blood " (according to some 

"covered as with breeches") ; 

II. iii. 121. 
Breed, family, parentage ; IV. 

iii. 108. 
Brinded, brindled, streaked ; 

IV. i. I. 

Bring, conduct; II. iii. 52. 
Broad, plain-spoken ; III. vi. 

Broil, battle; I. ii. 6. 
Broke ope, broken open ; II. iii. 

But, only; I. vii. 6. 
By, past ; IV. i. 137. 
By the way, casually; III. iv. 





Cabin'd, confined; III. iv. 24. 
Captains, trisyllabic (S. Walker 
coni. ''captains twain"): I. 

ii. 34- 

Careless, uncared for; I. iv. 11. 

Casing, encompassing, all sur- 
rounding; III. iv. 23. 

'Cause, because; III. vi. 21. 

Censures, opinion ; V. iv. 14. 

Champion me, fight in single 
combat with me; III. i. 72. 

Clianced, happened, taken 
place; I. iii. 153. 

Chaps, jaws, mouth; I. ii. 22. 

Charge ; " in an imperial c," in 
executing a royal command; 

IV. iii. 20. 

Charged, burdened, oppressed ; 

V. i. 60. 

Chaudron, entrails ; IV. 1. 33. 
Children (trisyllabic) ; IV. iii. 

An early form of chimney. 

Chimneys; "our chimneys were 
blown down." an anachron- 
ism; II. iii. 60. (Cp. the an- 
nexed cut from a mediaeval 
MS. depicting a primitive 
form of chimney.) 

Choke their art, render their 
skill useless ; I. ii. 9. 

Chuck, a term of endearment; 
III. ii. 45- 

Clear, serenely; I. v. 72. 

Clear, innocent, guiltless ; I. 
vii. 18. 

, unstained; II. i. 28. 

Clearness, clear from suspi- 
cion; III. i. 133. 

Clept, called ; III. i. 94- 

Cling, shrivel up ; V. v. 40. 

Close, join, unite; III. ii. 14. 

, secret ; III. v. 7. 

Closed, enclosed; III. i. 99. 

Cloudy, sullen, frowning; III. 
vi. 41. 

Cock, cock-crow ; " the second 
c," i.e. about three o'clock in 
the morning; II. iii. 27. 

Coign of vantage, convenient 
corner ; I. vi. 7. 

Cold, (?) dissyllabic; IV. i. 6. 

Colme-kill, i.e. Icolmkill, the 
cell of St. Columba; II. iv. 

Come, which have come ; I. iii. 

Command upon, put your com- 
mands upon ; III. i. 16. 

Commends, commits, offers; I. 
vii. II. 

Commission; "those in c," 
those entrusted with the 
commission ; I. iv. 2. 




Composition, terms of peace; 
I. ii. 59- 

Conipt; "in c," in account; I. 
vi. 26. 

Compunctious, pricking the 
conscience ; I. v. 46. 

Concluded, decided; III. i. 141. 

Confineless, boundless, limit- 
less; IV. iii. 55. 

Confounds, destroys, ruins; II. 
ii. II. 

Confronted, met face to face; 

I. ii. 55- 
Confusion, destruction ; II. iii. 


Consequences; v. mortal ; V. 

iii. 5. 
Consent, counsel, proposal; II. 

i. 25. 
Constancy, firmness ; II. ii. 68. 
Contend against, vie with; I. 

vi. 16. 
Content, satisfaction; III. ii. 5. 
Continent, restraining; IV. iii. 


Convert, change ; IV. iii. 229. 
Convey, " indulge secretly " ; 

IV. iii. 71. 
Convince, overpower; I. vii. 64. 
Convinces, overpowers; IV. iii. 

Copy, (?) copyhold, non-per- 
manent tenure; III. ii. 38. 
Corporal, corporeal; I. iii. 81. 
Corporal; " each c. agent," i.e. 

" each faculty of the body " ; 

I. vii. 80. 
Counsellors ; "c. to fear," fear's 

counsellors. i.e. " suggest 

fear "; V. iii. 17. 
Countenance, "be in keeping 

with " ; II. iii. 84. 

Crack of doom, burst of sound, 
thunder at the day of doom ; 

IV. i. 117. 

Cracks, charges ; I. ii. ^7- 
Crozvn, head; IV. i. 113. 

Dainty of, particular about; II. 

iii. 149. 
Dear, deeply felt ; V. ii. 3. 
Degrees, degrees of rank; III. 

iv. I. 
Deliver thee, report to thee ; I 

V. II. 

Delivers, communicates to us ; 

III. iii. 2. 

Demi-zuolves, a cross between 
dogs and wolves ; III. i. 94. 

Denies, refuses; III. iv. 128. 

Detraction, defamation; "mine 
own d.," the evil things I 
have spoken against myself; 

IV. iii. 123. 

Devil (monosyllabic) ; I. iii. 

Dew, bedew ; V. ii. 30. 
Disjoint, fall to pieces; III. ii. 

Displaced, banished; III. iv. 

Dispute it, fight against it; (?) 

reason upon it (Schmidt) ; 

IV. iii. 220. 
Disseat, unseat; V. iii. 21. 
Distance, hostility; III. i. 116. 
Do^, do off, put off; IV. iii. 188. 
Doubt, fear, suspect ; IV. ii. 66. 
Drink; "my d.," i.e. "my pos- 
set" ; II. i. 31. 
Droii'se, become drowsy; III. 

ii. 52. 
Dudgeon, handle 01 a dagger; 

IL i. 46. 




Dunnest, darkest; I. v. 52. 

Earnest, pledge, money paid 
beforehand; I. iii. 104. 

Easy, easily; II. iii. 142. 

Ecstasy, any state of being be- 
side one's self, violent emo- 
tion ; III. ii. 22. 

Effects, acts, actions; V. i. 11. 

Egg, term of contempt ; IV. ii. 

Eminence, distinction ; III. ii. 

England, the King of England; 

IV. iii. 43- 
Enkindle, incite; I. iii. 121. 
Enozv, enough ; II. iii. 7. 
Entrance (trisyllabic) ; I. v. 

Equivocate to heaven, get to 

heaven by equivocation ; II. 

iii. 12. 
Equivocator (probably alluding 

to Jesuitical equivocation ;. 

Garnet, the superior of the 

order, was on his trial in 

March, 1606) ; II. iii. 10. 
Estate, royal dignity, succession 

to the crown ; I. iv. 2)7 ■ 
Eternal jewel, immortal soul ; 

III. i. 68. 
Eterne, perpetual ; III. ii. 38. 
Evil, king's evil, scrofula ; IV. 

iii. 146. 
Exasperate, exasperated ; III. 

vi. 38. 
Expectation, those guests who 

are expected; III. iii. 10. 
Expedition, haste; II. iii. 115. 
Extend, prolong; III. iv. 57. 

Fact, act, deed; III. vi. 10. 

Faculties, powers, preroga- 
tives; I. vii. 17. 

Fain, gladly; V. iii. 28. 

Fantastical, imaginary; I. iii. 
53; I. iii. 139. 

Farrow, litter of pigs ; IV. i. 

Favour, pardon ; I. iii. 149. 

, countenance, face ; I. v. 


Fears, objects of fear; I. iii. 

Feed, " to f.," feeding ; III. iv. 

Fee-grief, " grief that hath a 
single owner " ; IV. iii. 196. 

Fell, scalp; V. v. 11. 

, cruel, dire ; IV. ii. 70. 

Fellow, equal; II. iii. 67. 

File, list ; V. ii. 8. 

, " the valued f.," list of 

qualities ; III. i. 95. 

Filed, made foul, defiled; III. 
i. 65. 

First; "at f. and last," (?) 
once for all, from the begin- 
ning to the end; (Johnson 
conj. "to f. and next") ; III. 
iv. I. 

Fits, caprices; IV. ii. 17. 

Flaws, storms of passion; III. 
iv. 63. 

Flighty, fleeting; IV. i. 14S. 

Flout, mock, defy ; I. ii. 49. 

Fly, fly from me; V. iii. i. 

Foisons, plenty, rich harvests; 
IV. iii. 88. 

Follows, attends; I. vi. 11. 

For, because of; III. i. 121. 

, as for, as regards; IV. ii. 





Forbid, cursed, blasted; I. iii. 


Forced, strengthened ; V. v. 5. 

Forge, fabricate, invent ; IV. 
iii. 82. 

Forsworn, perjured; IV. iii. 

Founded, firmly fixed; III. iv. 

Frame of things, universe; III. 
ii. 16. 

Franchised, free, unstained; II. 
i. 28. 

Free, freely; I. iii, 155. 

, honourable; III. vi. 36. 

, remove, do away (Stee- 

vens conj. "Fright'' or 
"Fray"; Bailey conj., adopt- 
ed by Hudson, " Keep " ; 
Kinnear conj. "Rid")', III. 
vi. 35. 

French hose, probably a refer- 
ence to the narrow, straight 
hose, in contradistinction to 
the round, wide hose ; II. iii. 

Fright, frighten, terrify; IV. ii. 

From, differently from ; III. i. 

, in consequence of, on ac- 
count of; III. vi. 21. 

Fry, literally a swarm of young 
fishes ; here used as a term of 
contempt ; IV. ii. 83. 

Function, power of action ; I. 
iii. 140. 

Furbish' d, burnished ; I. ii. 32. 

Gallowglasses, heavy-armed 
Irish troops (Folio i, " Gal- 
lowgrosses") ; I. ii. 13. 

Genius, spirit of good or ill; 
III. i. 56. 

Gentle senses, senses which are 
soothed (by the " gentle " 
air); (Warburton, "general 
sense"; Johnson conj., adopt- 
ed by Capell, "gentle 
sense ") ; 1. vi. 3. 

Germins, germs, seeds ; IV. i. 

Get, beget; I. iii. 67. 

Gin, a trap to catch birds; IV. 

"• 35. 
'Gins, begins ; I. ii. 25. 
Gives out, proclaims ; IV. iii. 

God 'ild us, corruption of "God 

yield us" (Folios, "God-eyld 

us ") ; I. vi. 13. 
Golgotha, i.e. " the place of a 

skull " (cp. Mark xv. 22) ; I. 

ii. 40. 
Good, brave ; IV. iii. 3. 
Goodness; " the chance of g.," 

the chance of success ; IV. iii. 

Goose, a tailor's smoothing 

iron ; II. iii. 17. 
Gospell'd, imbued with Gospel 

teaching; III. i. 88. 
Go to, go to, an exclamation of 

reproach ; V. i. 51. 
Gouts, drops ; II. i. 46. 
Graced, gracious, full of 

graces ; III. iv. 41. 
Grandam, grandmother; III. iv. 

Grave, weighty ; III. i. 22. 
Graymalkin; a grey cat (the 

familiar spirit of the First 

Witch ; " malkin " diminutive 

of " Mary ") ; I. i. 9. 




■ / coiiie, Graymalkin. Paddock calls.' 

From a print by " Hellish " Breugel, 

c. 1566. 

Gripe, grasp; III. i. 62. 
Grooms, servants of any kind ; 

II. ii. 5. 
Gulf, gullet; IV. i. 23. 

Hail (dissyllabic) ; I. ii. 5. 

Harbinger, forerunner, an of- 
ficer of the king's household ; 
I. iv. 45- 

Hardly, with difficulty; V. iii. 

Harms, injuries; "my h.," in- 
juries inflicted by me; IV. iii. 

Harp'd, hit, touched; IV. i. 74. 
Harpier, probably a corruption 

of Harpy; IV. i. 3. 
Having, possessions ; I. iii. 56. 
Hear, talk with ; III. iv. 32. 
Heart; "any h.," the heart of 

any man ; III. vi. 15. 

Heavily, sadly; IV. iii. 182. 

Hecate, the goddess of hell 
(one of the names of Ar- 
temis-Diana, as goddess of 
the infernal regions) ; II. i. 

Hedge-pig, hedge-hog ; IV. i. 2. 

Hermits, beadsmen ; men bound 
to pray for their benefactors 
(Folio I, " Ermites") ; I. vi. 

Hie thee, hasten ; I. v. 26. 

His, this man's ; IV. iii. 80. 

Holds, withholds; III. vi. 25. 

Holp, helped ; I. vi. 23. 

Home, thoroughly, completely ; 
I. iii. 120. 

Homely, humble; IV. ii. 67. 

Hoodzvink, blind; IV. iii. 72. 

Horses (monosyllabic) ; II. iv. 

Housekeeper, watch dog; III. i. 

Howlet's, owlet's; IV. i. 17. 

Hovi^ say' St thou, what do you 
think ! ; III. iv. 128. 

Humane, human; III. iv. y6. 

From an old woo^cqt. 



Hurlyburly, tumult, uproar; I. 
i. 3. (In the annexed cu- 
rious illustration of some 
witchcraft absurdity the devil 
is making a hurly-burly by 
beating furiously on a drum 
under which is a Lapland 

Husbandry, economy; II. i. 4. 

Hyrcan tiger, i.e. tiger of Hyr- 
cania, a district south of the 
Caspian; III. iv. loi. 

Ignorant, i.e. of future events; 

I. V. 58. 
Ill-composed, compounded of 

evil qualities ; IV. iii. 77. 
Illness, evil ; I. v. 21. 
Impress, force into his service ; 

IV. i. 95. 
In, under the weight of; IV. 

iii. 20. 
Incarnadine, make red; II. ii. 

Informs, takes visible form ; II. 

i. 48. 
Initiate; "the i. fear," "the 

fear that attends, i.e. the first 

initiation (into guilt)"; III. 

iv. 143. 
Insane; "the i. root," the root 

which causes insanity ; I. iii. 

Instant, present moment ; I. v. 


Interdiction, exclusion ; IV. iii. 


Intermission, delay ; IV. iii. 232. 
Intrenchant, indivisible; V. 
viii. 9. 

lealousies, suspicions ; IV. iii. 

Jump, hazard, risk; I. vii. 7. ^ 
Just, exactly ; III. iii. 4. 
Jutty, jetty, projection; I. vi. 6. 

Kerns,\ight-a.Tmtdlrish troops ; 
I. ii. 13. (Cp. the subjoined 
mediaeval representation.) 

From the Chapter House Liber A, in 
the Public Record Office. 

Knowings, knowledge, experi- 
ences ; II. iv. 4. 

Knowledge; "the k.," what 
you know (Collier MS. and 
Walker conj. " thy k.") ; I. ii. 

Lack, want, requirement ; IV. 

iii. 237. 
Lack, miss ; III. iv. 84. 
Lapp'd, wrapped; I. ii. 54. 
Large, liberal, unrestrained; 

III. iv. II. 
Latch, catch ; IV. iii. 195. 
Lated, belated, III. iii. 6. 
Lave, keep clear and unsullied; 

III. ii. ZZ- 




Lavish, unrestrained, insolent ; 
I. ii. 57. 

Lay, did lodge ; II. iii. 58. 

Lease of nature, term of natu- 
ral life; IV. i. 99. 

Leave, leave off; III. ii. 35. 

Left unattended, forsaken, de- 
serted; II. ii. 69. 

Lesser, less ; V. ii. 13. 

Lies; " swears and 1.," i.e. 
" swears allegiance and com- 
mits perjury " (cp. IV. ii. 51 
for the literal sense of the 
phrase) ; IV. ii. 47. 

Lighted, descended; II. iii. 147. 

Like, same ; II. i. 30. 

, likely; II. iv. 29. 

, equal, the same ; IV. iii. 8. 

Lily-liver' d, cowardly ; V. iii. 

Limbec, alembic, still ; I. vii. 67. 

Lime, bird-lime ; IV. ii. 34. 

Limited, appointed; II. iii. 57. 

Lirie, strengthen; I. iii. 112. 

List, lists, place marked out for 
a combat ; III. i. 71, 

Listening, listening to; II. ii. 

Lo ; " lo you," i.e. look you; V. 
i. 22. 

Lodged, laid, thrown down ; 

IV. i. 55. 

Look, expect ; V. iii. 26. 
Loon, brute; V. iii. 11. 
Luxurious, lustful ; IV. iii. 58. 

Maggot-pies, magpies; III. iv. 

Mansionry, abode ; I. vi. 5. 
Mark, take heed, listen; I. ii. 

• , notice; V. i. 46. 

Marry, a corruption of the 

Virgin Mary ; a slight oath ; 

III. vi. 4. 
Mated, bewildered; V. i. 86. 
Maws, stomachs ; III. iv. y^- 
May I, I hope I may ; III. iv. 

Medicine, "physician"; (?) 

physic ; V. ii. 27. 
Meek, meekly ; I. vii. 17. 
Memorize, make memorable, 

make famous ; I. ii. 40. 
Mere, absolutely ; IV, iii. 89. 
, utter, absolute; IV. iii. 

Metaphysical, supernatural ; I. 

V. 30. 
Minion, darling, favourite ; I. 

ii. 19; II. iv. 15. 
Minutely, " happening every 

minute, continual " ; V. ii. 18. 
Missives, messengers; I. v. 7. 
Mistrust ; " he needs not our 

m.," i.e. we need not mistrust 

him; III. iii. 2. 
Mockery, delusive imitation ; 

III. iv. 107. 
Modern, ordinary; IV. iii. 170. 
Moe, more ; V. iii. 35. 
Monstrous (trisyllabic) ; III. 

V. 8. 
Mortal, deadly, murderous ; I. 

V. 42. 
, " m. murders," deadly 

wounds; III. iv. 81. 
, " m. consequences," what 

befalls man in the course of 

time; V. iii. 5. 
Mortality, mortal life ; II. iii. 


Mortified, dead, insensible; V. 

ii. 5. 





Mounch'd, chewed with closed 

lips; I. iii. 5. 
Muse, wonder; III. iv. 85. 
Must be, was destined to be; 

IV. iii. 212. 

Napkins, handkerchiefs; II. iii. 

Nature ; " nature's mischief," 

man's evil propensities; I. v. 

; "in n.," in their whole 

nature; II. iv. 16. 
Naught, vile thing; IV. iii. 225. 
Nave, navel, middle (Warbur- 

ton, " nape ") ; I. ii. 22. 
Near, nearer; II. iii. 146. 
Near'st of life, inmost life, 

most vital parts; III. i. 118. 
Nice, precise, minute ; IV. iii. 

Nightgown, dressing gown; II. 

ii. 70. 
Noise, music ; IV. i. 106. 
Norways', Norwegians' ; I. ii. 

Norweyan, Norwegian ; I. ii. 

Note, notoriety: III. ii. 44. 

, list; III. iii. 10. 

, notice; III. iv. 56. 

Nothing, not at all ; I. iii. 96. 

, nobody; IV. iii. 166. 

Notion, apprehension ; III. i. 83. 

Oblivious, causing forgetful- 

ness ; V. iii. 43. 
Obscure; " o. bird," i.e. the 

bird delighting in darkness, 

the owl ; II. iii. 63. 
Odds; " at o.," at variance ; III. 

iv. 127. 

O'erfraught, over-charged, 

over-loaded; IV. iii. 210. 

Of, from; IV. i. 81. 

, with (Hanmer, " with ") ; 

I. ii. 13. 

, over, I. iii. 33. 

, by; III. vi. 4; III. vi. 27. 

, for; IV. iii. 95. 

Offices, duty, employment ; III. 
iii. 3- 

, i.e. domestic offices, serv- 
ants' quarters ; II. i. 14. 

Old (used colloquially) ; II. iii. 

On, of; I. iii. 84. 

Once, ever ; IV. iii. 167. 

One, wholly, uniformly; II. ii. 

On 's, of his ; V. i. 70. 

On't, of it; III. i. 114. 

Opened, unfolded; IV. iii. 52. 

Or ere, before; IV. iii. 173. 

Other, others ; I. iii. 14. 

, " the o.," i.e. the other 

side ; I. vii. 28. 

, otherwise ; I. vii. yj. 

Other s, other man's ; IV. iii. 

Ourselves, one another; III. iv. 

Out, i.e. in the field; IV. iii. 

Outrun, did outrun (Johnson, 

" outran ") ; II. iii. 117. 
Overcome, overshadow; III. iv. 

Over-red, redden over; V. iii. 

Owe, own, possess; I. iii. 76. 
Owed, owned; I. iv. 10. 




Paddock, toad (the familiar 
spirit of the second witch) ; 
I. i. 10. 

Pall, wrap, envelop ; I. v. 52. 

Passion, strong emotion; III. 
iv. 57- 

Patch, fool (supposed to be de- 
rived from the patched or 
motley coat of the jester) ; 
V. iii. 15. 

Peak, dwindle away ; I. iii. 23. 

Pent-house lid, i.e. eye-lids; 
" Pent-house," a porch or 
shed with sloping roof, as 
shown in the annexed cut ; I. 
iii. 20. 

From an engraving of an old timber- 
house in the market place ;it Strat. 

Perfect, well, perfectly ac- 
quainted; IV. ii. 65. 
P ester' d, troubled; V. ii. 23. 

Place, " pitch, the highest ele- 
vation of a hawk " ; a term 
of falconry; II. iv. 12. 

Point; "at a p.," prepared for 
any emergency ; IV. iii. 135. 

Poor, feeble; III. ii. 14. 

Poorly, dejectedly, unworthily; 
II. ii. 72. 

Portable, endurable ; IV. iii. 89. 

Possess, fill; IV. iii. 202. 

Possets, drink ; " posset is hot 
milk poured on ale or sack, 
having sugar, grated bisket, 
and eggs, with other ingre- 
dients boiled in it, which 
goes all to a curd" (Randle 
Holmes' Academy of Ar- 
moiirie, 1688) ; II. ii. 6. 

Posters, speedy travellers ; I. 
iii- Z3- 

Power, armed force, army ; IV. 
iii. 185. 

Predominance, superior power, 
influence ; an astrological 
term ; II. iv. 8. 

Present, present time; I. v. 58. 

, instant, immediate; I. ii. 


, offer; III. ii. 31. 

Presently, immediately; IV. iii. 


Pretence, purpose, intention; 
II. iii. 136. 

Pretend, intend ; II. iv. 24. 

Probation; "passed in p. with 
you," proved, passi'ng them in 
detail, one by one ; III. i. 80. 

Profound, " having deep or 
hidden qualities " (John- 
son) ; (?) "deep, and there- 
fore ready to fall" (Clar. 
Pr.) ; III. v. 24. 





Proof, proved armour ; I. ii. 54. 

Proper, fine, excellent (used 
ironically) ; III. iv. 60. 

Protest, show publicly, pro- 
claim ; V. ii. II. 

Purged, cleansed; III. iv. 76. 

Purveyor, an officer of the king 
sent before to provide food 
for the king and his retinue, 
as the harbinger provided 
lodging; I. vi. 22. 

Push, attack, onset; V. iii. 20. 

Put on, se on, (?) set to work; 

IV. iii. 239. 

Put upon, falsely attribute; I. 
vii. 70. 

Quarry, a heap of slaughtered 

game ; IV. iii. 206. 
Quell, murder; I. vii. 72. 
Quiet ; " at q.," in quiet, at 

peace ; II. iii. 18. 

RaveU'd, tangled; II. ii. 2>7- 

Ravin' d, ravenous; IV. i. 24. 

Ravin up, devour greedily; II. 
iv. 28. 

Rawness, hurry; IV. iii. 26. 

Readiness ; " manly r.." com- 
plete clothing (opposed to 
"naked frailties"); II. iii. 


Receipt, receptacle; I. vii. 66. 
Received, believed; I. vii. 74. 
Recoil, swerve; IV. iii. 19. 
Recoil; "to r.," for recoiling; 

V. ii. 23. 

Relation, narrative; IV. iii. 173. 
Relations, "the connection of 

effects with causes " ; III. iv. 

Relish, smack; IV. iii. 95. 

Remembrance, quadrisyllable ; 
III. ii. 30. 

Remembrancer, reminder; III. 
iv. 2>7- 

Remorse, pity; I. v. 45. 

Require, ask her to give; III. 
iv. 6. 

Resolve yourselves, decide, 
make up your minds ; III. i. 

Rest, remain ; I. vi. 20. 

, give rest ; IV. iii. 227. 

Return, give back, render; I. 
vi. 28. 

Ronyon, a term of contempt; I. 
iii. 6. 

Roof'd, gathered under one 
roof; III. iv. 40. 

Rooky, gloomy, foggy (Jen- 
nens, " rocky ") ; III. ii. 51. 

Round, circlet, crown; I. v. 29. 

; " r. and top of sovereign- 
ty," i.e. " the crown, the top 
or summit of sovereign pow- 
er " ; IV. i. 87. 

, dance in a circle ; IV. i. 


Rubs, hindrances, impedi- 
ments ; III. i. 134. 

Rump-fed, well-fed, pampered; 
I. iii. 6. 

Safe tozvard, with a sure re- 
gard to; I. iv. 27. 

Sag, droop, sink ; V. iii. 10. 

Saint Colme's Inch, the island 
of Columba, now Inchcolm, 
in the Firth of Forth; I. ii. 

Saucy, insolent, importunate ; 
(?) pungent, sharp, gnawmg 
(Koppel) ; III. iv. 25. 




Say to, tell ; I. ii. 6. 

'Scaped, escape ; III. iv. 20. 

Scurf up, blindfold ; III. ii. 47. 

Scone, the ancient coronation 
place of the kings of Scot- 
land; II. iv. 31. 

Scotch'd, " cut with shallow in- 
cisions " (Theobald's emen- 
dation of Folios, "jcorc/i'rf") ; 
III. ii. 13. 

Season, seasoning; III. iv. 141. 

Seat, situation; I. vi. i. 

Seated, fixed firmly; I. iii. 136. 

Security, confidence, conscious- 
ness of security, careless- 
ness ; III. V. 32. 

Seeling, blinding (originally a 
term of falconry) ; III. ii. 

Sccnis; " that s. to speak things 
strange," i.e. " whose appear- 
ance corresponds with the 
strangeness of his message " 
(Clar. Pr.) ; (Johnson conj. 
"teems"; Collier MS., 
" comes," etc.) ; I. ii. 47. 

Self-abuse, self-delusion ; III. 
iv. 142. 

Self-comparisons, measuring 
himself with the other; I. ii. 

Selfsame, very same ; I. iii. 88. 

Sennet, a set of notes on trum- 
pet or cornet; III. i. lo-ii. 

Sennights, seven nights, weeks ; 

I. iii. 22. 

Sensible, perceptible, tangible; 

II. i. 3^. 

Sergeant (trisyllabic) ; I. ii. 3. 
Set forth, shewed ; I. iv. 6. 
Settled, determined; I. vii. 79. 

Sezver, one who tasted each 
dish to prove there was no 
poison in it; I. vii. (direc). 

Shag-ear d, having hairy ears 
(Steevens conj., adopted by 
Singer (ed. 2) and Hudson, 
" shag-hair' d") ; IV. ii. 82. 

Shall, will ; II. i. 29. 

, I shall ; IV. ii. 23. 

Shame, am ashamed; II. ii. 64. 

Shard-borne, borne by scaly 
wing-cases, (D a v e n a n t, 
" sharp-brow' d " ; Daniel 
conj. "sham-bode"; Upton 
conj. " sham -born") ; III. ii. 

Shift, steal, quietly get; II. iii. 

Shipman's card, the card of the 
compass ; I. iii. 17. 

S hough, a kind of shaggy dog 
(Folios, " Shozvghes" ; Ca- 
pell, "shocks") ; III. i. 94. 

Should be, appear to be; I. iii. 


Show, dumb-show; IV. i. iii- 

Shozv, appear; I. iii. 54. 

Shut up, enclosed, enveloped; 
II. i. 16. 

Sicken, be surfeited; IV. i. 60. 

Sightless, invisible; I. vii. 23. 

Sights; Collier MS. and Singer 
MS., "flights"; Grant White, 
"sprites " ; IV. i. 155. 

Sinel, Macbeth 's father, accord- 
ing to Holinshed ; I. iii. 71. 

Single, individual ; I. iii. 140. 

, simple, small ; I. vi. 16. 

Sirrah, used in addressing an 
inferior ; here used playfully ; 
IV. ii. 30. 




Skirr, scour; V. iii. 35. 

Slab, thick, glutinous ; IV. i. 32. 

Sleave, sleave-silk, floss silk; 

II. ii. 37- 

Sleek o'er, smooth; III. ii. 27. 
Sleights, feats of dexterity ; III. 

V. 26. 
Slipp'd, let slip; II. iii. 51. 
Sliver d, slipped off ; IV. i. 28. 
Smack, have the taste, savour; 

I. ii. 44. 
So, like grace, gracious ; IV. iii. 

So zvell, as well ; I. ii. 43. 
Sole, alone, mere ; IV. iii. 12. 
Solemn, ceremonious, formal ; 

III. i. 14. 

Soliciting, inciting; I. iii. 130. 
Solicits, entreats, moves by 

prayer; IV. iii. 149. 
Something, some distance; III. 

i. 132. 
Sometime, sometimes; I. vi. 11. 
Sorely, heavily ; V. i. 59. 
Sorriest, saddest; III. ii. 9. 

The soul leaving the body at 
10 I 

Sorry, sad ; II. ii. 20. 

Soul's flight; III. i. 141. (The 
idea and its expression maj' 
be illustrated by the accom- 
panying cut from Douce's 
Illustrations of Shakespeare.) 

Speak, bespeak, proclaim ; IV. 
iii. 159. 

Speculation, intelligence ; III. 
iv. 95. 

Speed; " had the s. of him," 
has outstripped him ; I. v. 36. 

Spongy, imbibing like a sponge ; 
I. vii. 71. 

Spring, source ; I. ii. 27. 

Sprites, spirits ; IV. i. 127. 

Spy, V. Note; III. i. 130. 

Stableness, constancy; IV. iii. 

Staff, lance ; V. iii. 48. 

Stamp, stamped coin ; IV. iii. 


Stanchless, insatiable; IV. iii. 

Stand, remain ; III. i. 4. 

Stand not upon, do not be par- 
ticular about; III. iv. 119. 

State, chair of State; III. iv. 5. 

State of honour, noble rank, 
condition ; IV. ii. 65. 

Stay, wait for; IV. iii. 142. 

Stays, waits ; III. v. 35. 

Sticking-place, i.e. " the place 
in which the peg of a stringed 
instrument remains fast ; the 
proper degree of tension " ; 
I. vii. 60. 

Stir, stirring, moving; I. iii. 

Storehouse, place of burial ; II. 
iv. 34- 

Strange, new ; I. iii. 145, 




Strange; " s. and self-abuse," i. 
e. (?) "my abuse of others 
and myself " ; III. iv. 142. 

Strangely-visited,, afflicted with 
strange diseases; IV. iii. 150. 

Stuff'd, crammed, full to burst- 
ing; V. 44. 

Substances, forms; I. v. 50. 

Sudden, violent ; IV. iii. 59. 

Suffer, perish; III. ii. 16. 

Suffering; " our s. country," i.e. 
our country suffering; III. 
vi. 48. 

Suggestion, temptation, incite- 
ment ; I. iii. 134. 

Summer-seeming, " appearing 
like summer ; seeming to be 
the effect of a transitory and 
short-lived heat of the blood" 
(Schmidt) ; (Warburton, 
" summer-teeming " ; John- 
son, " fume, or seething," 
etc.) ; IV. iii. 86. 

Sundry, various ; IV. iii. 48. 

Surcease, cessation ; I. vii. 4. 

Surveying, noticing, perceiv- 
ing; I. ii. 31. 

Szvay by, am directed by ; . V. 
iii. 9. 

Sivears, swears allegiance ; IV. 
ii. 47. 

Taint, be infected; V. iii. 3. 

Taking-off, murder, death ; I. 
vii. 20. 

Teems, teems with ; IV. iii. 176. 

Temperance, moderation, self- 
restraint ; IV. iii. 92. 

Tending, tendance, attendance ; 
I. V. 38. 

Tend on, wait on ; I. v. 42. 

That, so that ; I. ii. 58. 

; "to th.," to that end, for 

that purpose ; I. ii. 10. 

Therewithal, therewith; III. i. 

Thirst, desire to drink; III. iv. 

Thought ; " upon a th.," in as 
small an interval as one can 
think a thought ; III. iv. 55. 

, being borne in mind; III. 

i. 132. 

Thralls, slaves, bondmen; III. 
vi. 13. 

Threat, threaten ; II. i. 60. 

Till that, till ; I. ii. 54. 

Timely, betimes, early; II. iii. 

, "to gain the t. inn," op- 
portune; III. iii. 7. 

Titles, possessions; IV. ii. 7. 

To, in addition to; I. vi. 19. 

, according to; III. iii. 4. 

, compared to ; III. iv. 64. 

, for, as; IV. iii. 10. 

, linked with, " prisoner 

to"; III. iv.25. 

Top, overtop, surpass ; IV. iii. 

Top-full, full to the top, brim- 
ful ; I. V. 43. 

Touch, affection, feeling; IV. 
ii. 9- 

Touch' d, injured, hurt; IV. iii. 

Tozvering, turning about, soar- 
ing, flying high (a term of 
falconry) ; II. iv. 12. 

Trace, follow; IV, i. 153. 





Trains, artifices, devices ; IV. 
iii. ii8. 

Trammel up, entangle as in a 
net ; I. vii. 3. 

Transport, convey; IV. iii. 181. 

Transpose, change; IV. iii. 21. 

Treble sceptres, symbolical of 
the three kingdoms — Eng- 
land. Scotland, and Ireland; 
IV. i. 121. 

TriUcd, made trifling, made to 
sink into insignificance ; 11. 
iv. 4. 

Tugg'd; " t. with fortune," 
pulled about in wrestling 
with fortune; III. i. 112. 

Tzvo-fold halls, probably refer- 
ring to the double coronation 
of James at Scone and West- 
minster (Clar. Pr.) ; accord- 
ing to others the reference is 
to the union of the two isl- 
ands ; IV. i. 121. 

Tyranny, usurpation ; IV. iii. 

Tyrant, usurper; III. vi. 22. 

Unfix, make to stand on end ; 
I. iii. 135- 

Unrough, beardless; V. ii. 10. 

Unspeak, recall, withdraw; IV. 
iii. 123. 

Untitled, having no title or 
claim; IV. iii. 104. 

Unto, to; I. iii. 121. 

Upon, to; III. vi. 30. 

Uproar, " stir up to tumult " 
(Schmidt); (Folios i, 2. 
" uprorc " ; Kcightley, " Up- 
root") ; IV. iii. 99. 

Use, experience; III. iv. 143. 

Using, cherishing, entertain- 
ing; III. ii. ID. 

Utterance; "to the u.," i.e. a 
outrance = to the uttermost ; 
III. i. 72. 

Vantage, opportunity; I. ii. 31. 
Verity, truthfulness ; IV. iii. 92. 
Visards, masks; III. ii. 34. 
Voiich'd, assured, warranted ; 
III. iv. 34. - 

Want; "cannot w.," can help; 

III. vi. 8. 
Warranted, justified; IV. iii. 

JVassail, revelry; I. vii. 64. 
Watching, waking; V. i. 12. 
Water-rug, a kind of poodle ; 

III. i. 94. 
What, who ; IV. iii. 49. 
What is, i.e. what is the time 

of; III. iv. 126. 
When 'tis, i.e. " when the mat- 
ter is effected " ; II. i. 25. 
Whether (monosyllabic) ; 1. iii. 

Which, who ; V. i. 66. 
While then, till then; III. i. 4'- 
Whispers, whispers to; IV. iii. 

Wholesome, healthy; IV. iii. 

Wind; " I'll give thee a wind " ; 

I. iii. II. {Cp. illustration.) 
With, against; IV. iii. 90. 

, by; III. i. 63. 

, on ; IV. ii. 32. 

Without, outside; III. iv. 14. 
, beyond; III. ii. 11, 12. 




Jf^ifiiess, testimony, evidence; 

II. ii. 47. 
Worm, small serpent ; III. iv. 29. 
JVould, should; 1. vii. 34. 
Wrought, agitated; I. iii. 149. 

Yazvuing peal, a peal which 
lulls to sleep; III. ii. 43. 

Yesty, foaming; IV. i. 53. 

Yet, in spite of all, notwith- 
standing; IV. iii. 69. 

' r II give thee a ui)id'' (I. iii. 11). 
From a print by " Hellish "' Breugel, c. 1566. 


Critical Notes. 



I. i. I. Perhaps we should follow the punctuation of the Folio, 
and place a note of interrogation after ' again.' 

I. ii. 14. 'damned quarrel'; Johnson's, perhaps unnecessary, 
emendation of Folios, 'damned quarry' (cp. IV. iii. 206); but 
Holinshed uses ' quarrel ' in the corresponding passage. 

I. ii. 20-21. Many emendations and interpretations have been 
advanced for this passage; Koppel's explanation {Shakespeare 
Studien, 1896) is as follows : — " he faced the slave, who never 
found time for the preliminary formalities of a duel, i.e. shaking 
hands with and bidding farewell to the opponent " ; seemingly, 
however, 'zvhich' should have 'he' (i.e. Macbeth) and not 
' slave ' as its antecedent. 

I. iii. 15. 'And the very ports they blow'; Johnson conj. 'va- 
rious' for 'very'; Pope reads 'points' for 'ports'; Clar. Press 
edd. ' orts ' ; ' blow ' =-- ' blow upon.' 

I. iii. 32. * weird ' ; Folios, ' zveyward ' (prob. = ' zveird ') ; 
Keightley, ' zveyard.' 

I. iii. 97-98. 'As thick as hail Came post'; Rowe's emendation; 
Folios read 'As thick as tale Can post.' 

1. V. 24-26. The difficulty of these lines arises from the repeated 
words ' tliat which ' in line 25, and some editors have consequently 
placed the inverted commas after 'undone'; but 'that which' is 
probably due to the same expression in the previous line, and we 
should perhaps read 'and that's zvhick' or 'and that's zvhat.' 

I. vi. 4, 'martlet ' ; Rowe's emendation of Folios, ' Barlet.' 

I. vi. 5. ' loz-'cd mansionry'; Theobald's emendation of Folios, 
' loved mansonry' ; Pope (ed. 2), ' loved masonry.' 

I. vi. 6. ' jutty, frieze'; Pope, 'jutting frieze'; Staunton conj. 
' jutty, nor frieze' etc. 

I. vi. 9. 'most'; Rowe's emendation of Folios, 'must'; Collier 
MS., ' much.' 




I. vii. 6. ' slioaV ; Theobald's emendation of Folios i, 2, 
' schoolc' 

I. vii. 45. 'Like the poor cat i' the adage'; 'The cat would eat 
fyshe, and would not wet her feete,' Heywood's Proverbs ; the low 
Latin form of the same proverb is : — 

"" Cattis aniat pisccs, sed non vult tingerc plantas." 
I. vii. 47. ' do more ' ; Rowe's emendation of Folios, ' no more.' 
I, vii. 65-67. {Cp. the position as 'warder of the brain' as- 
signed to zns memorati (va) in the accompanying reproduction 
of a mediaeval phre^logical chart. 

II. i. 51. 'sleep'; Steevens conj. 
' sleeper; but no emendation is nec- 
essary ; the pause after ' sleep ' is 
evidently equivalent to a syllable. 

II. i. 55. ' Tarquin's ravishing 
strides ' ; Pope's emendation ; Fo- 
lios, ' Tarqiiins ravishing sides.' 



■e'; Pope's conj. 

adopted by Capell ; Folios i, 2, 
' sowre.' 

II. i. 5;!^. ' zvhich way they walk ' ; 
Rowe's emendation ; Folios, ' which 
they may walk.' 

II. ii. 35-36. There are no inverted 
commas in the Folios. The ar- 
rangement in the text is generally 
followed (similarly, 11. 42-43). 

III. i. 130. ' you zvith the perfect 
spy 0' the time'; Johnson conj. 'you with a'; Tyrwhitt conj. 
'you with the perfect spot, the time'; Beckett conj. 'you zvitJi 
the perfectry 0' the time'; Grant White, from Collier MS., 'you, 
zvith a perfect spy, 0' tJie time ' ; Schmidt interprets "' spy ' to mean 
" an advanced guard ; that time which will precede the time of 
the deed, and indicate that it is at hand " ; according to others 
' spy ' = the person who gives the information ; the simplest ex- 
planation is. perhaps, ' the exact spying out of the time,' i.e. ' the 
moment on 't,' which in the text follows in apposition. 

III. ii. 20. ' our peace ' ; so Folio i ; Folios 2, 3, 4, ' our place.' 
III. ii, 52. 'night's black agents to their preys do rouse.' {Cp. 
the accompanying illustration.) 





From Pynson's edition of the Shepherd's Kalcndar. 

III. iv. 14. ' 'Txs better thee zvithout than he within'; probably 
' Jie ' instead of ' him ' for the sake of effective antithesis with 
' thee ' ; unless, as is possible, ' he within = ' he in this room.' 

III. iv. 78. 'time has'; Folio i, 'times has'; Folios 2, 3, 4, 
' times have ' ; the reading of the First Folio is probably what 
Shakespeare intended. 

III. iv. 105-106. 'If trembling I inhabit tJicn ' ; various emenda- 
tions have been proposed, e.g. 'I inhibit/ =z' vie inhibit,' 'I in- 
hibit thee,' ' I inherit,' etc. ; probably the text is correct, and the 
words mean ' If I then put on the habit of trembling,' i.e. * if I 
invest myself in trembling' {cp. Koppel, p. 76). 

III. iv. 122. The Folios read: — 

"It will have blood they say; 
Blood will have blood." 

III. iv. 144. ' in deed ' ; Theobald's emendation of Folios, ' in- 
deed ' ; Hanmer, ' in deeds' 

III. V. 13. 'Loves'; Halliwell conj. 'Lives'; Staunton conj. 
' Loves evil.' 

III. vi. 27. ' the most pious Edzvard,' i.e. Edward the Confessor. 

IV. i. 97. 'Rebellion's head' ; Theobald's conj., adopted by Han- 
mer; Folios read 'Rebellious dead'; Warburton's conj., adopted 
by Theobald, ' Rebellious head.' 

IV. ii. 18. 'when we are traitors And do not knozv ourselves/ 
i.e. when we are accounted traitors, and do not know that we are, 
having no consciousness of guilt. Hanmer, ' knoiv 't 0.' ; Keight- 
ley, ' know it ourselves ' ; but no change seems necessary. 

IV. ii. 19-20, 'when we hold rumour,' etc.; i.e. 'when we inter- 



pret rumour in accordance with our fear, yet know not exactly 
what it is we fear.' 

IV. ii. 22. ' EacJi zi'ay and move'', Theobald conj. 'Each ivay 
and wave'; Capell, 'And move each way'', Steevens conj. 'And 
each way move'', Johnson conj. 'Each way, and move — '; Jack- 
son conj. 'Each zvail and moan'; Ingleby conj. ' Which zvay we 
move'; Anon. conj. 'And move each zvave'; Staunton conj. 
'Each szvay and move'; Daniel conj. 'Each zvay it moves'; 
Camb. edd. conj. 'Each way and none'; perhaps 'Each zvay zve 
move ' is the simplest reading of the words. 

IV. ii. 70. ' do worse,' i.e. " let her and her children be de- 
stroyed without warning" (Johnson); (Hanmer, 'do less'; 
Capell, ' do less'). 

IV. iii. 15. ' deserve ' ; Warburton's emendation, adopted by 

Theobald ; Folios i, 2, ' discerne ' ; Folios 3. 4. ' discern ' ; , 

' and zi'isdom ' ; there is some corruption of text' here, probably a 
line has dropped out. Hanmer reads ' 'tis zvisdom ' ; Steevens 
conj. 'and wisdom is it' \ Collier conj. 'and 'tis zvisdom' ; Staun- 
ton conj. 'and zvisdom 'tis' or ' a)id zvisdoni bids'; Keightley, 
'and zvisdom 'twere.' 

IV. iii. III. 'Died every day she lived'; "lived a life of daily 
mortification" (Delius). 

IV. iii. 235. ' tune ' ; Rowe's emendation of Folios, ' time.' 

V. i. 26. 'sense is shut'; Rowe's emendation of Folios, 'sense 
are shut'; S. Walker conj., adopted by Dyce. 'sense' are shut.' 
The reading of the Folio probably gives the right reading, ' sense ' 
being taken as a plural. 

V. iii. I. ' them,' i.e. the thanes. 

V. iii. 21. 'cheer'; Percy conj., adopted by Dyce, 'chair': 

; " dis-seat,' Jennens and Capell conj., adopted by Steevens; 

Folio I, ' dis-cate' ; Folios 2, 3, 4, 'disease'; Bailey conj. 'dis- 
seise'; Daniel conj. 'defeat'; Furness, ' dis-easc'; Perring conj. 
' dish e art.' 

V. iii. 22. 'zvay of life'; Johnson proposed the unnecessary 
emendation 'May of life,' and several editors have accepted the 

V. iii. 44. ' stuff' d ' ; Folios 2, 3, 4, ' stuft ' ; Pope, ' full ' ; 
Steevens conj., adopted by Hunter, 'foul'; Anon. conj. 'fraught,' 

'press'd'; Bailey conj. 'stain'd'; Mull conj. 'stccp'd'; ; 

'stuff' ; so Folios 3, 4; Jackson conj. ' tuft' ; Collier (ed. 2), from 




Collier MS., 'grief; Keightley, 'matter': Anon. conj. 'slough,' 
'freight'; Kinnear conj. 'fraught.' 

V. iii. 55. 'senna'; so Folio 4; Folio i, 'Cyme'; Folios 2. 3, 
' Caeny ' ; Bulloch conj. ' sirrah.' 

V. iii. 58. ' it' i.e. the armour. 

V. V. 19. ' To-morrozL', and to-morrow, and to-morrow.' " Pos- 
sibly Shakespeare recollected a remarkable engraving in Barclay's 
Ship of Fooles, 1570, copied from that in the older Latin version 
of 1498," and here reproduced. 



Explanatory Notes. 

The Explanatory Notes in this edition have been specially selected and 
adapted, with emendations after the latest and best authorities, from the 
most eminent Shakespearian scholars and commentators, including Johnson, 
Malone, Steevens, Singer, Dyce, Hudson, White, Furness, Dowden, and 
others. This method, here introduced for the first time, provides the best 
annotation of Shakespeare ever embraced in a single edition. 

Scene I. 

3. Hurlyhurly : — The origin and sense of this word are thus 
given by Peacham in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577 : " Onoma- 
topeia, when we invent, devise, fayne, and make a name imitating 
the sound of that it signifyeth. as Jiurlybwly, for an uprore and 
tumiiltiioiis stirrc." Thus also in Holinshed : "There were such 
Jiurlie hiirlics kept in every place, to the great danger of over- 
throwing the whole state of all government in this land." Of 
course the word here refers to the tumult of battle, not to the 
storm, the latter being their element. — The reason of this scene 
is thus stated by Coleridge: "In Macbeth the Poet's object was 
to raise the m.ind at once to the high tragic tone, that the audience 
might be ready for the precipitate consummation of guilt in the 
early part of the play. The true reason for the first appearance 
of the Witches is to strike the keynote of the character of the 
whole drama, as is proved by their reappearance in the third 
scene, after such an order of the king's as establishes their super- 
natural >power of information." 

II. "The Weird Sisters," says Coleridge, "are as true a crea- 
tion of Shakespeare's as his Ariel and Caliban — fates, furies, and 
materializing witches being the elements. They are wholly dit- 
ferent from any representation of witches in the contemporary 
writers, and yet presented a sufficient external resemblance to the 
creatures of vulgar prejudice to act immediately on the audience. 


MACBEltH Note3 

Their character consists in the imaginative disconnected from the 
good ; they are the shadowy obscure and fearfully anomalous of 
physical nature, the lawless of human nature — elemental avengers 
without sex or kin." Elsewhere he speaks of the " direful music, 
the wild wayward rhythm, and abrupt lyrics of the opening of 
Macbeth." Words scarcely less true to the Poet's, than the Poet's 
are to the characters. 

Scene II. 

3. Sergeants, in ancient times, were not the petty officers now 
distinguished by that title ; but men performing one kind of feudal 
military service, in rank next to esquires. In the stage direction 
of the original this sergeant is called a captain. 

13. Of here bears the sense of ivitJi, the two words often being 
used indiscriminately. — Thus in Holinshed : " Out of Ireland in 
hope of the spoile came no small number of Kernes and Gallo- 
glasses, offering gladlie to serve under him, whither it should 
please him to lead them." Barnabe Rich thus describes them in 
his New Irish Prognostication : " The Galloglas succeedeth the 
Plorseman, and he is commonly armed with a scull, a shirt of 
maile, and a Galloglas-axe. The Kernes of Ireland are next in 
request, the very drosse and scum of the countrey, a generation of 
villaines not v/orthy to live. These are they that are ready to 
run out with every rebel, and these are the very hags of hell, fit 
for nothing but the gallows." 

14, 15. That is, seemed as in love with him, in order to betray 
him to ruin. 

40. To memorize is to make memorable. " The style," says 
Coleridge, " and rhythm of the Captain's speeches in the second 
scene should be illustrated by reference to the interlude in Ham- 
let, in which the epic is substituted for the tragic, in order to make 
the latter be felt as the real life diction." 

54. Steevens laughs over the Poet's ignorance in making Bel- 
lona, the Roman goddess of war, the wife of Mars. But Shake- 
speare makes Macbeth the husband of Bellona. — Lapp'd in proof 
is covered with " armour of proof," that is, armour impenetrable 
to ordinary weapons. 

61. Colme's is here a dissyllable. Colines Inch, now called 
Inchcolm, is a small island, lying in the Firth of Edinburgh, with 
an abbey upon it dedicated to St. Columbia. Inch or inse, in Erse, 
signifies an island. 



Scene III. 

6. Ronyon is a scurvy person or a mangy animal. Rump-fed 
means fed on refuse, or fattened in the rump. Another meaning 
is that [Glossary] of pampered or richly fed. 

8, 9. Scott, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, 1584, says it was be- 
lieved that witches " could sail in an egg-shell, a cockle or muscle- 
shell through and under the tempestuous seas " ; and in the Life 
of Doctor Fian, a Notable Sorcerer: "All they together went to 
sea, each one in a riddle or cive, and went in the same very sub- 
stantially, with flagons of wine making merrie, and drinking by 
the way in the same riddles or cives." It was the belief of the 
times that, though a witch could assume the form of any animal 
she pleased, the tail would still be wanting. 

10. / 'II do means, " in the shape of a rat, I'll gnaw through the 
ship's hull." 

11. This free gift of a wind is to be considered as an act of 
sisterly friendship ; for witches were supposed to have power to 
sell winds. So in Summer's Last Will and Testament, 1600: — 

" In Ireland and in Denmark both 
Witches for gold will sell a man a wind. 
Which, in the corner of a napkin wrapp'd, 
Shall blow him safe unto what coast he will." 

21. That is, under a curse or ban. 

23. This effect of peaking or wasting was supposed to be caused 
by means of a waxen figure. Holinshed, speaking of the witch- 
craft practised to destroy King Duff, says that one of the witches 
was found roasting, upon a wooden broach, an image of wax at 
the fire, resembling in each feature the king's person ; and " as 
the image did waste afore the fire, so did the bodie of the king 
break forth in sweat : and as for the words of the inchantment, 
they served to keepe him still waking from sleepe." 

25. In the Life of Dr. Fian, already quoted : " Againe it is con- 
fessed, that the said christened cat was the cause of the Kinge's 
majestie's shippe, at his coming forth of Denmarke, had a con- 
trarie winde to the rest of his shippes then being in his companie." 

32. Weird is from the Saxon wyrd, and means the same as the 
Latin fatum; so that weird sisters is the fatal sisters, or the sis- 
ters of fate. Gawin Douglas, in his translation of Virgil, renders 
ParccE by weird sisters. Which agrees well with Holinshed in 
the passage which the Poet no doubt had in his eye : " The com- 




mon opinion was, that these women were either the weird sisters, 
that is (as ye would say), the goddesses of destinie, or else some 
nymphs or feiries, indued with knowledge of prophesie by their 
necromanticall science, bicause everie thing came to passe as they 
had spoken." 

53. That is, creatures of fantasy or imagination. 

71. According to Holinshed, " Sinell, the thane of Glammis, 
was Macbeth's father." 

84. Henbane or hemlock. Thus Batman's Commentary on Bar- 
tholome de Proprietate Rerum: "Henbane is called insana, mad, 
for the use thereof is perillous ; for if it be eate or dronke it 
breedeth madnesse, or slow lykenesse of sleepe. Therefore this 
hearb is called commonly mirilidium, for it taketh away wit and 
reason." And in Greene's Never too Late : " You have gazed 
against the sun, and so blemished your sight, or else you have 
eaten of the roots of hemlock, that makes men's eyes conceit un- 
seen objects." 

137. Fears here is put for the objects of fear, the effect for the 
cause ; a not uncommon form of speech. 

140, Single here bears the sense of weak, feeble. So in The 
Tempest, " A single thing, as I am now." And in what the Chief 
Justice says to Falstaff: "Is not your chin double, your wit 
single ? " 

142. That is, facts are lost sight of. Macbeth sees nothing but 
what is unreal, nothing but the spectres of his own fancy. So- 
likewise, in the preceding clause : the mind is crippled, disabled 
for its proper function or office by the apprehensions and surmises 
that throng upon him. Macbeth's conscience here acts through 
his imagination, sets it all on fire, and he is terror-stricken and 
lost to the things before him, as the elements of evil, hitherto 
latent within him, gather and fashion themselves into the wicked 
purpose. His mind has all along been grasping and reaching for- 
ward for grounds to build criminal designs upon ; yet he no sooner 
begins to build them than he is seized and shaken with horrors 
which he knows to be imaginary, yet cannot allay. Of this won- 
derful development of character Coleridge justly says: "So 
surely is the guilt in its germ anterior to the supposed cause and 
immediate temptation." And again : " Every word of his soliloquy 
shows the early birthdate of his guilt. . . . He wishes the 
end, but is irresolute as to the means; conscience distinctly warns 
him, and he lulls it imperfectly." How greedily the swelling evil 
of his conception has kept snatching at and sucking in, one after 



another, the offerings of occasion ! thus proving indeed that the 
elements of crime were all in him before; yet his being surprised 
with such an ecstasy of terror equally proves that the guilty pur- 
pose is new to him, that his thoughts are unused to it. 

Scene IV. 

9. That is, well instructed in the art of dying. The behaviour 
of the thane of Cawdor corresponds in almost every circumstance 
with that of the unfortunate earl of Essex, as related by Stowe. 
His asking the queen's forgiveness, his confession, repentance, and 
concern about behaving with propriety on the scaffold, are mi- 
nutely described by that historian. 

22-27. "Here, in contrast with Duncan's 'plenteous joys/ Mac- 
beth has nothing but the commonplaces of loyalty, in which he 
hides himself with ' our duties.' Note the exceeding effort of 
Macbeth's addresses to the king, his reasoning on his allegiance, 
and then especially when a new difficulty, the designation of a 
successor, suggests a new crime." Such is Coleridge's comment 
on the text. 

39. Holinshed says, " Duncan, having two sons, made the elder 
of them, called Malcolm, prince of Cumberland, as it was thereby 
to appoint him his successor in his kingdome immediatelie after 
his decease. Macbeth sorely troubled herewith, for that he saw 
by this means his hope sore hindered, (Avhere, by the old laws of 
the realme the ordinance was, that if he that should succeed were 
not of able age to take the charge upon himself, he that was next 
of blood unto him should be admitted.) he began to take counsel 
how he might usurpe the kingdome by force, having a just quarrel 
so to doe, (as he tooke the matter,) for that Duncane did what in 
him lay to defraud him of "all manner of title and claime, which 
he might in time to come pretend, unto the crowne." Cumberland 
was then held in fief of the English crown. 

54. Of course during Macbeth's last speech Duncan and Banquo 
were conversing apart, he being the subject of their talk. The be- 
ginning of Duncan's speech refers to something Banquo has said 
in praise of Macbeth. Coleridge says — " I always think there is 
something especially Shakespearian in Duncan's speeches through- 
out this scene, such pourings-forth, such abandonments, compared 
with the language of vulgar dramatists, whose characters seem to 
have made their speeches as the actors learn them." 



Scene V. 

26. " Macbeth," says Coleridge, " is described by Lady Macbeth 
so as at the same time to reveal her own character. Could he 
have everything he wanted, he would rather have it innocently ; 
— ignorant, as alas ! how many of us are, that he who wishes a 
temporal end for itself does in truth will the means ; and hence 
the danger of indulging fancies." 

30, 31. That is, supernatural aid. We find metaphysics ex- 
plained tilings supernatural in the old dictionaries. To have thee 
crown' d is to desire that you should be crowned. Thus in All's 
Well that Ends Well, I. ii. : "Our dearest friend prejudicates the 
business and would seem to have us make denial." 

41, This passage is often sadly marred in the reading by laying 
peculiar stress upon my; as the next sentence also is in the print- 
ing by repeating come, thus suppressing the pause wherein the 
speaker gathers and nerves herself up to the terrible strain that 

42. Mortal and deadly were synonymous in Shakespeare's time. 
In another part of this play we have " the mortal sword." and 
" mortal murders." The spirits here addressed are thus described 
in Nashe's Pierce Penniless : " The second kind of devils, which 
he most employeth, are those northern Martii, called the spirits of 
revenge, and the authors of massacres, and seedsmen of mischief, 
for they have commission to incense men to rapines, sacrilege, 
theft, murder, wrath, fury, and all manner of cruelties : and they 
command certain t)f the southern spirits to wait upon them, as 
also great Arioch, that is termed the spirit of revenge." 

54. A similar expression occurs in Drayton's Mortimeriados, 
1596: "The sullen night in mistie rugge is wrapp'd." 

Scene VI. 

10. "The subject of this quiet conversation," says Sir J. Reyn- 
olds, " gives repose to the mind after the tumultuous bustle of thr 
preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the scene of horror thai 
immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakespeare asked himself. 
What is a prince likely to say to his attendants on such an occa- 
sion? Whereas the modern writers seem, on the contrary, to be 
always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur 
to men in the situation which is represented. This also is fre- 



quently the practice of Homer, who, from the midst of battles and 
horrors, relieves and refreshes the mind of the reader, by intro- 
ducing some quiet rural image or picture of familiar domestic 

13. To bid is here used in the Saxon sense of to pray. God 
yield us, is God reward us. Malone and Steevens were perplexed 
by what they call the obscurity of this passage. If this be obscure, 
we should like to know what isn't. Is anything more common 
than to thank people for annoying us, as knowing that they do 
it from love? And does not Duncan clearly mean, that his love 
is what puts him upon troubling them thus, and therefore they 
will be grateful to him for the pains he causes them to take? 

20. That is, "We remain as hermits or beadsmen to pray for 
you." — Here again we quote from Coleridge: "The lyrical move- 
ment with which this scene opens, and the free and unengaged 
mind of Banquo, loving nature, and rewarded in the love itself, 
form a highly dramatic contrast with the laboured rhythm and 
hypocritical over-much of Lady Macbeth's welcome, in which you 
cannot detect a ray of personal feeling, but all is thrown upon the 
' dignities,' the general duty." 

Scene VIL 

4. Surcease is end, stop. Thus in Bacon's essay Of Church 
Control ersies: " It is more than time that there were an end and 
surcease made of this immodest and deformed manner of writing 
lately entertained, whereby matter of religion is handled in the 
style of the stage." — His for its, referring to assassination. 

7. " We'd jump the life to come'' that is, we'd risk it. So in 
Antony and Cleopatra, III. viii. : "Our fortune lies upon this 

23. The sightless couriers of the air are what the Poet else- 
where calls the vieidess winds. 

27. The using of self for aim or purpose is quite lawful and 
idiomatic; as we often say such a one overshot himself, that is, 
overshot his mark or aim. 

47 et seq. It is said that Mrs. Siddons, in her personation of 
Lady Macbeth, used to utter the horrible words of this speech in 
a scream, as though she were almost frightened out of her wits 
by the audacity of her own tongue. And we can easily conceive 
how a spasmodic action of fear might lend her the appearance of 



superhuman or inhuman boldness. At all events, it should be ob- 
served that Lady Macbeth's energy and intensity of purpose 
overbears the feelings of the woman, and that some of her words 
are spoken more as suiting the former, than as springing from the 
latter. And her convulsive struggle of feeling against that over- 
bearing violence of purpose might well be expressed by a scream. 

59. Three modes of pointing have been pitched upon here by 
different critics, namely, (!) (?) (.), of which we prefer the 
latter. Here, again, we have recourse to Mrs. Siddons, who, it is 
said, tried " three different intonations in giving the words We 
fail. At first, a quick, contemptuous interrogation. We failf Aft- 
erwards, with a note of admiration. We fail! and an accent of in- 
dignant astonishment, laying the principal emphasis on the word 
zve. Lastly, she fixed on the simple period, modulating her voice 
to a deep, low, resolute tone, which settled the issue at once ; as 
though she had said, ' If we fail, why, then we fail, and all is 
over.' This is consistent with the dark fatalism of the character, 
and the sense of the following lines ; and the effect was sublime." 

64. Shakespeare has taken his metaphor from the screwing up 
of the cords of stringed instruments to their proper degree of ten- 
sion, when the peg remains fast in its sticking-place. 

Scene I. 

7-9. It is apparent from what Banquo says afterwards, that he 
had been solicited in a dream to attempt something in consequence 
of the prophecy of the witches that his waking senses were 
shocked at ; and Shakespeare has here most exquisitely contrasted 
his character with that of Macbeth. Banquo is praying against 
being tempted to encourage thoughts of guilt even in his sleep; 
while Macbeth is hurrying into temptation, and revolving in his 
mind every scheme, however flagitious, that may assist him to 
complete his purpose. 

50. In the second part of Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602, 
we have the following lines : — 

" 'Tis yet the dead of night, yet all the earth is clutch'd 
In the dull leaden hand of snoring sleep : 
No breath disturbs the quiet of the air, 

'oJ 145 


No spirit moves upon the breast of earth, 

Save howling dogs, night-crows, and screeching owls, 

Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts. 

I am great in blood, 

Unequall'd in revenge : — you horrid scouts 
That sentinel swart night, give loud applause 
From your large palms." 

55. The original has sides, which Pope changed to strides. 
This, however, has been objected to as not cohering with " stealthy 
pace," and " moves like a ghost." But strides did not always 
carry an idea of violence or noise. Thus in the Faerie Queene, 
iv. 8, 2>7 •■— 

" They passing forth kept on their readie way, 
With easie step so soft as foot could stryde." 

And Shakespeare in his Rape of Lucrece says in like manner of 
Tarquin, while going about the ravishing: — 

" Into her chamber wickedly he stalks, 
And gazeth on her yet unstained bed." 

56-60. Macbeth would have nothing break through the universal 
silence that added such horror to the night, as well suited with the 
bloody deed he was about to perform. Burke, in his Essay on 
the Sublime and Beautiful, observes, that " all general privations 
are great because they are terrible." The poets of antiquity have 
many of them heightened their scenes of terror by dwelling on the 
silence which accompanied them. 

Scene II. 

13, 14. Warburton has remarked upon the fine art discovered in 
this " one touch of nature." That some fancied resemblance to 
her father should thus rise up and stay her uplifted arm, shows 
that in her case conscience works quite as effectually through the 
feelings, as through imagination in the case of her husband. And 
the difference between imagination and feeling is. that the one 
acts most at a distance, the other on the spot. This gush of native 
tenderness, coming in thus after her terrible audacity of thought 
and speech, has often reminded us of a line in Schiller's noble 



drama, Tlie Piccolomini: "Bold were my words, because my 
deeds were not." And ',ve are apt to think that the hair-stififening 
extravagance of her previous speeches arose in part from the 
sharp conflict between her feelings and her purpose ; she en- 
deavouring thereby to school and steel herself into a firmness and 
fierceness of which she feels the want. 

35-40. This whole speech is commonly printed as what Macbeth 
imagines himself to have heard; whereas all from the innocent 
sleep is evidently his own conscience-stricken reflections on the 
imaginary utterances. — Upon this appalling scene Coleridge thus 
remarks : " Now that the deed is done or doing — now that the 
first reality commences, Lady Macbeth shrinks. The most simple 
sound strikes terror, the most natural consequences are horrible 
whilst previously everything, however awful, appeared a mere 
trifle ; conscience, which before had been hidden to Macbeth in 
selfish and prudential fears, now rushes upon him in her own 
veritable person." 

55. With her firm self-control, this bold, bad woman, when 
awake, was to be moved by nothing but facts: when her powers of 
self-control were unknit by sleep, then was the time for her to see 
things that were not, save in her own conscience. 

62, 62- The old copy reads — " Making the Green one Red." 
Multitudinous seas would seem to require that one should not be 
coupled with green. Of course the sense of the line is — " Making 
the green zvater all red." Milton's Comus has a like expression : 
" And makes one blot of all the air." 

68, 69. That is, your firmness hath forsaken you. doth not at- 
tend you. 

73. This is an answer to Lady Macbeth's reproof. " While I 
have the thought of this deed, it were best not know, or be lost to 

Scene III. 

5, 6. So in Hall's Satires, iv. 6 : — 

" Each muckworme will be rich with lawless gaine, 
Altho' he smother up mowes of seven yeares graine, 
And hang'd himself zvhen come grows cheap againe." 

21,22. So in Hamlet: "Himself the primrose path of dalliance 
treads." And in All's Well that Ends Well: "The Hozuery way 
that leads to the great fire." 



26, 2,". The second cock means three o'clock. So Romeo and 
Juliet, IV. iv. 3 : " The second cock hath crowed, the curfew bell 
hath rung, 'tis three o'clock.'" 

63, 64. The owl was always considered a bird of direful omen. 
The poet elsewhere has—" The ominous and fearful owl of 
death." And of Richard III. it is said — " The owl shriek'd at thy 

117. To gild with blood is a very common phrase in old plays. 
Johnson says, " It is not improbable that Shakespeare put these 
forced and unnatural metaphors into the mouth of Macbeth, as a 
mark of artifice and dissimulation, to show the difference between 
the studied language of hypocrisy and the natural outcries of 
sudden passion. This whole speech, so considered, is a remarkable 
instance of judgment, as it consists of antithesis and metaphor." 

131. That is, when we have clothed our half-dressed bodies. 

136. Pretence is here used for design, intention : a usage quite 
frequent in Shakespeare. Thus in The Winter's Tale, III. ii. : 
" The pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open." 
And in Coriolanus, I. ii. : " Nor did you think it folly to keep 
your great pretences veil'd, till when they needs must show them- 
selves." — Banquo's meaning is — Relying upon God, I swear per- 
petual war against this treason, and all the secret plottings of 
malice, whence it sprung. 

146-148. Meaning that he suspects Macbeth, who was the next 
in blood. — Suspecting this murder to be the work of Macbeth, 
Malcolm thinks it could have no purpose but what himself and 
his brother equally stand in the way of ; that the " murderous 
shaft " must pass through them to reach its mark. 

Scene IV. 

5 et seq. Collier and Verplanck change travelling to travailing 
here, on the ground that the former "gives a puerile idea"; where- 
upon Dyce remarks: "In this speech no mention is made of the 
sun till it is described as ' the travelling lamp,' the epithet ' travel- 
ling ' determining ivhat ' lamp ' was intended : the instant, there- 
fore that ' travelling ' is changed to ' travailing,' the word 'lamp ' 
ceases to signify the sun." To which we will add, that if travel- 
ling lamp " gives a puerile idea," it may be thought, nevertheless, to 
have a pretty good sanction in Psalm xix. : " In them hath he set 
a tabernacle for the sun ; which cometh forth as a bridegroom out 
of his chamber, and rejoiceih as a giant to run his course." It should 



be remarked thiit in the Poet's time the same form of the word 
was used in the two senses of travel and trazail. — " After the mur- 
der of King Duffe," says Holinshed, " for the space of six months 
togither there appeared no sunne by daye, nor moone by night, in 
anie part of the realme ; but still the sky was covered with con- 
tinual clcuds ; and sometimes such outrageous winds arose, with 
lightenings and tempests, that the people were in great fear of 
present dtstrr.ciion." 

i8. Holinshed relates that after King Duff's murder " there was 
a sparhazck strangled by an owl," and that " horses of singular 
beauty and sniftiicss did eat their own ftcsh." 

Z2)' Colme-kill (meaning the cell or chapel of St. Columba) is 
the famous lona, one of the Western Isles mentioned by Holin- 
shed as the burial-place of many ancient kings of Scotland. 

Scene I. 

14. This was the phrase of Shakespeare's time for a feast or 
banquet given on a particular occasion, to solemnise any event, as 
a birth, marriage, coronation. 

72. That is, to the uttermost, to the last extremity. This phrase, 
which is found in writers who preceded Shakespeare, is borrowed 
from the French. The sense of the passage is — " Let fate, that 
has foredoomed the exaltation of Banquo's sons, enter the lists 
in aid of its own decrees, I will fight against it to the uttermost, 
whatever be the consequence." 

95. The valued file is the list wherein their value and peculiar 
qualities are set down. 

132, 133. Always remembered that I must stand clear of sus- 

Scene II. 

31. That is, do him the highest honour. 

32-35. The sense of this passage appears to be — It is a sign that 
our royalty is unsafe, when it must descend to flattery and stoop 
to dissimulation. 

38. Ritson has justly observed that nature's copy alludes to 
copyhold tenure; in which the tenant holds an estate for life, 



having nothing but the copy of the rolls of his lord's court to show 
for it. A lifehold tenure may well be said to be not eternal. 

42. That is, the beetle borne along the air by its shards or scaly 
wings. Steevens had the merit of first showing that shard or 
sherd was an ancient word for scale ; as appears by the following 
lines from Gower's Confessio Amantis: — 

" She sigh, her thought a dragon tho, 
Whose sherd es shynen as the sonne." 

And again, speaking of a serpent : — 

" He was so sherdcd all about, 
It held all edge tool without." 

49. That great bond is Banquo's life — the copyhold tenure al- 
luded to in line 38 above. So in Richard III., IV. iv. : ''Cancel 
his bond of life, dear God, I pray." 

50. Thus in Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess: — 

" Fold your flocks up, for the air 
'Gins to thicken, and the sun 
Already his great course hath run." 

Scene III. 

10. They who are set down in the list of guests, and expected at 
/•he banquet. 

Scene IV. 

5. Her chair of state ; a royal chair with a canopy over it. 

14. Better that his blood should be on you than in him. 

34. The last clause of this sentence depends upon vouch'd ; 
that feast which is not often vouch'd or declared to be given 
with welcome is as if sold to your guests. 

63, 64. That is, these self-generated fears are imposters when 
compared with true fear. 

71-73. Tl;e same thought occurs in The Faerie Queene, ii. 8, 16: 
" But be entombed in the raven or the kight." 

92, 93. [Re-enter Ghost] Much question has been made, whether 
there br not two several ghosts in this scene; some maintaining 



that Duncan's enters here, and Banquo's before; others, that Ban- 
quo's enters here, and Duncan's before. The whole question 
seems absurd enough. But perhaps it will be best disposed of by- 
referring to Dr. Forman, who, as he speaks of Banquo's ghost, 
would doubtless have spoken of Duncan's, had there been any- 
such. " The night, being at supper with his noblemen, whom he 
had bid to a feast, (to the which also Banquo should have come,) 
he began to speak of noble Banquo, and to wish that he were there. 
And as he thus did, standing up to drink a carouse to him, the 
ghost of Banquo came, and sat down in his chair behind him. 
And he, turning about to sit down again, saw tJie ghost of Banquo, 
which fronted him, so that he fell in a great passion of fear and 
fury, uttering many words about his murder, by which, when they 
heard that Banquo was murdered, they suspected Macbeth." 

105. That is, if I stay at home then. The passage is thus ex- 
plained by Home Tooke : " Dare me to the desert with thy sword; 
if then I do not meet thee there ; if trembling I stay in my castle 
or any habitation ; if I then hide my head, or dzvell in any place 
through fear, protest me the baby of a girl." 

III. Pass over us without our wonder, as a casual summer cloud 
passes unregarded. 

113. You make me a stranger even to my own disposition, now 
when I think you can look upon such sights unmoved. 

128. That is, what say'st thou to or of this circumstance'^ 

141. Johnson explains this, " You ivant sleep, which seasons or 
gives the relish to all natures." So in All's Well that Ends Well: 
'* 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in." 

Scene V. 

[Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate] Shakespeare has 
been censured for bringing in Hecate among the vulgar witches, 
as confounding ancient with modern superstitions. But, besides 
that this censure itself confounds the Weird Sisters with the 
witches of popular belief, the common notions of witchcraft in his 
Oime took classical names for the chiefs and leaders of the witches. 
In Jonson's Sad ShepJierd Hecate is spoken of as mistress of the 
witches, " our dame Hecate." Charles Lamb says of the Weird 
Sisters : " They are foul anomalies, of whom we know not whence 
they are sprung, nor whether they have beginning or ending. As 
they are without human passions, so they seem to be without 



human relations. They come with thunder and lightning, and 
vanish to airy music. This is all we know of them. Except 
Hecate, they have no names, which heightens their mysterious- 
ness." And the same charming critic elsewhere contrasts the 
Weird Sisters with me hags of popular superstition. Speaking of 
the witches of Rowley and Dekker, he says — " They are the plain, 
traditional, old-woman witches of our ancestors — ^poor, deformed, 
and ignorant, the terror of villages — themselves amenable to a 
justice. That should be a hardy sheriff, with the power of the 
county at his heels, that should lay hands on the weird sisters. 
They are of another jurisdiction." It is worth remarking, also, 
how Dr. Forman speaks of the Weird Sisters, as he saw them on 
the Poet's own stage. " There was to be observed, first, how Mac- 
beth and Banquo, two noblemen of Scotland, riding through a 
wood, there stood before them three women Fairies or Nymphs, 
and saluted Macbeth, saying three times unto him, Hail, Mac- 
beth," etc. Which looks as if this dealer in occult science knew 
better than to call them witches, yet scarce knew what else to call 

24. Profound here signifies having deep or secret qualities. The 
vaporous drop seems to have been the same as the virus lunar e 
of the ancients, being a foam which the moon was supposed to 
shed on particular herbs, or other objects, when strongly solicited 
by enchantments. 

2)3. [Song after this line] We subjoin from Middleton's Witch 
the song which has always been used here in the representation, 
and which ought to go with the rest of the incantations, as having 
probably been sanctioned by the Poet's choice. Dyce says, " It is 
so highly fanciful, and comes ^in so happily, that one is almost 
tempted to believe it was written by Shakespeare, and had been 
omitted in the printed copies of his play." 

"Song above. Come away, come away, 

Hecate, Hecate, come away ! 
Hecate. I come, I come, I come, I come, 

With all the speed I may. 

With all the speed I may. 

Where's Stadlin? 
Voice above. Here. 
Hecate. Where's Puckle? 

Voice above. Here; 


And Hoppo too, and Heltwain too; 
We lack but you, we lack but you : 
Come away, make up the count. 
Hecate. I will but 'noint, and then I mount. 

[A Spirit like a cat descends. 
Voice above. There's one come down to fetch his dues, 
A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood ; 
And why thou stay'st so long, I muse, I muse, 
Since the air 's so sweet and good. 
Hecate. O, art thou come? What news, what news? 

Spirit. All goes still to our delight : 

Either come, or else refuse, refuse. 
Hecate. Now I 'm furnished for the flight. 

Fire. Hark, hark ! the cat sings a brave treble in her own lan- 

Hecate Going up. Now I go, now I fly, 

Malkin my sweet spirit and I. 
O, what a dainty pleasure 'tis 
To ride in the air 
When the moon shines fair. 
And sing and dance, and toy and kiss ! 
Over woods, high rocks, and mountains. 
Over seas, our mistress' fountains. 
Over steeples, towers, and turrets. 
We fly by night, 'mongst troops of spirits ; 
No ring of bells to our ears sounds, 
No howls of wolves, no yelps of hounds; 
No, not the noise of water's breach. 
Or cannon's throat, our height can reach. 
Voices above. No ring of bells," etc. 

Scene VI. 

35. The construction is : " Free our feasts and banquets from 
bloody knives." 

Scene I. 

33. That is, a tiger's entrails.— In sorting the materials where- 
with the weird sisters celebrate their infernal orgies, and com- 



pound their " hell-broth,'* Shakespeare gathered and condensed 
the popular belief of his time. Ben Jonson, whose mind dwelt 
more in the circumstantial, and who spun his poetry much more 
out of the local and particular, made a grand showing from the 
same source in his Mask of Queens. But his powers d'd not per- 
mit, nor did his purpose require him to select and dispose his 
materials so as to cause anything like such an impression of 
terror. Shakespeare so weaves his incantations as to cast a spell 
upon the mind, and force its acquiescence in what he represents ; 
explode as we may the witchcraft he describes, there is no ex- 
ploding the witchcraft of his description ; the effect springing not 
so much from what he borrows as from his own ordering thereof. 
43. [Song after this line\ This song also, like the former, was 
not given in the printed copy of the play, and has been supplied 
from Middleton's Witch, the manuscript of which was discovered 
towards the close of the eighteenth century. The lines commonly 
used on the stage are : — 

" Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray. 
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may ! " 

Probably both songs were taken from the " traditional wizard 
poetry of the drama." 

68. [Armed head appears] The armed head represents sym- 
bolically Macbeth's head cut off and brought to Malcolm by 
Macduff. The bloody child is Macduff, untimely ripped from his 
mother's womb. The child, with a crown on his head and a bough 
in his hand, is the royal Malcolm, who ordered his soldiers to 
hew them down a bough, and bear it before them to Dunsinane. — 

70. Silence was necessary during all incantations. So in The 
Tempest: "Be mute, or else our spell is marr'd." 

72. Spirits thus evoked were supposed to be impatient of being 

78. So the expression still in use: " I listened with all the ears I 

93. The present accent of Dunsinane is right. In every other 
instance the accent is misplaced. Thus in Hervey's Life of King 
Robert Bruce, 1729 : 

" Whose deeds let Birnam and Dunsinnan tell. 
When Canmore battled and the villain fell." 



95. That is, press it into his service. 

119. The notion of a magic glass or charmed mirror, wherein 
any one might see whatsoever of the distant or the future per- 
tained to himself, seems to have been a part of the old Druidical 
mythology. There is an allusion to it in Measure for Measure, II. 
ii. : " And, like a prophet, looks in a glass that shows what future 
evils," etc. Such was the " brod mirrour of glas " which " the 
King of Arabic and of Inde " sent to Cambuscan, as related in 
The Sqiiieres Tale of Chaucer. But the most wonderful glass of 
this kind was that described in The Faerie Oueene, iii. 2, which 

" The great Magitien Merlin had devis'd 
By his deepe science and hell-dreaded might." 

" It vertue had to shew in perfect sight 
Whatever thing was in the world contaynd, 
Betwixt the lowest earth and hevens hight, 
So that it to the looker appertaynd : 
Whatever foe had wrought, or frend had faynd, 
Therein discover'd was, ne ought mote pas, 
Ne ought in secret from the same remaynd ; 
Forthy it round and hollow shaped was. 
Like to the world itselfe, and seemd a World of Glas." 

123. In Warwickshire, when a horse, sheep, or other animal per- 
spires much, and any of the hair or wool, in consequence of such 
perspiration, or any redundant humour, becomes matted into tufts 
with grime, and sweat, he is said to be holtered; and whenever 
the blood issues out and coagulates, forming the locks into hard 
clotted bunches, the beast is said to be hlood-boltered. When a 
boy has a broken head, so that his hair is matted together with 
blood, his head is said to be boltered. 

Scene II. 

3, 4. Our flight is considered as evidence of treason or of guilty 

20. That is, fear makes us credit rumour, yet we know not what 
to fear, because ignorant when we offend ; meaning, of course, 
that under such a king as Macbeth " to do harm is often laudable, 
to do good sometime accounted dangerous folly." A condition 
wherein men believe the more, because they fear, and fear the 
more, because they cannot foresee the danger. 



22. Move is for movement or motion. 

65. That is, I am perfectly acquainted with your rank. 

84. [Exit Lady Macduff, etc.] "This scene," says Coleridge, 
" dreadful as it is, is still a relief, because a variety, because do- 
mestic, and therefore soothing, as associated with the only real 
pleasures of life. The conversation between Lady Macduff and 
her child heightens the pathos, and is preparatory for the deep 
tragedy of their assassination. Shakespeare's fondness for chil- 
dren is everywhere shown; — in Prince Arthur in King John; in 
the sweet scene in The Winter's Tale between Hermione and her 
son; nay, even in honest Evans's examination of Mrs. Page's 

Scene III. 

4. Birthdom, for the place of our birth, our native land. To 
bestride one that was down in battle, was a special bravery of 

19, 20. A good mind may recede from goodness under an im- 
perial command, 

24. That is, must still look as it does. A similar expression oc- 
curs in All 's Well that Ends Well, II. iii. : " Good alone is good 
without a name ; vileness is so" 

33> 34. " Wear thou thy wrongs" — that is. the honours thou hast 
won by wrong; or else wrongs as opposed to rights. — That is, the 
title is confirmed or ascertained, that none dare challenge it. 

86. That is, summer-resembling lust; the passion that burns 
a while like summer, and like summer passes away; whereas the 
other passion, avarice, has no such date, but grows stronger and 
stronger to the end of life. 

140 et seq. Holinshed has the following respecting Edward the 
Confessor : " As it has been thought, he was inspired with the gift 
of prophecy, and also to have the gift of healing infirmities and 
diseases. He used to help those that were vexed with the disease 
commonly called the king's evil, and left that virtue as it were a 
portion of inheritance unto his successors, the kings of this realm." 
The custom of touching for the king's evil was not wholly laid 
aside till the days of Queen Anne, who used it on the infant 
Dr. Johnson. — The golden stamp was the coin called angel. 

177. Thus in Antony and Cleopatra, II. v.: "We use to say the 
dead are well." 



Scene I. 

Z'J. Probably Lady Macbeth fancies herself in talk with her hus- 
band ; and, he having said through fear, " Hell is murky," she 
repeats his words, as in scorn of his cowardice. 

47. She is alluding to the terrors of Macbeth when the ghost of 
Banquo broke in on the festivity of the banquet. 

55. Upon this awful passage Verplanck has written in so high 
a style of criticism that we cannot forbear to quote him. After 
remarking how fertile is the sense of smell in the milder and 
gentler charms of poetry, he observes : " But the smell has never 
been successfully used as the means of impressing the imagina- 
tion with terror, pity, or any of the deeper emotions, except 
in this dreadful sleep-walking of the guilty Queen, and in one 
parallel scene of the Greek drama, as wildly terrible as this. It 
is the passage of the Agamemnon of iEschylus. where the cap- 
tive prophetess Cassandra, wrapt in visionary inspiration, scents 
first the smell of blood, and then the vapours of the tomb breath- 
ing from the palace of Atrides, as ominous of his approacliing 
murder. These two stand alone in poetry ; and Fuseli in his lec- 
tures informs us that when, in the kindred art of painting, it has 
been attempted to produce tragic effect through the medium of 
ideas drawn from ' this squeamish sense,' even Raphael and Pous- 
sin have failed, and excited disgust instead of terror or compas- 
sion." — And Airs. Siddons, after quoting Lady Macbeth's — ' All 
the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,' adds : 
" How beautifully contrasted is the exclamation with the bolder 
image of Macbeth, in expressing the same feeling : ' Will all great 
Neptune's ocean wash the blood clean from this hand? ' And how 
appropriately either sex illustrates the same idea ! " 

Scene II. 

5. By the mortiHed man is meant a religious man ; one who has 
mortified his passions, is dead to the world. 

10. That is, unbearded, smooth-faced. So in The Tempest: 
" Till new-born chins be rough and razorable." 


Scene IV. 

16-18. Evidently meaning, when we have a king that will rule 
by law we shall know both our rights and our duties. This note 
is made because some critics have vented an unworthy sneer, not 
at the Poet, but at the brave old warrior for speaking thus. 

Scene V. 

17. Lady Macbeth's dying thus before her husband has been 
justly remarked upon as a most judicious point in the drama. It 
touches Macbeth in the only spot where he seems to retain the 
feelings of a man, and draws from him some deeply-solemn, 
soothing, elegiac tones ; so that one rises from the contemplation 
of his awful history " a sadder and a wiser man." A critic in 
the Edinburgh Rcz'iezv is almost eloquent upon these closing pas- 
sages : '' Macbeth, left alone, resumes much of that connection 
with humanity which he had so long abandoned: his thoughtful- 
ness becomes pathetic ; and when at last he dies the death of a 
soldier, the stern satisfaction, with which we contemplate the act 
of justice that destroys him, is unalloyed by feelings of personal 
wrath or hatred. His fall is a sacrifice, and not a butchery." 

21. The last syllable of recorded time signifies the last syllable 
of the record or register of time. 

28. Coleridge is eloquent upon this : " Alas for Macbeth ! Now 
all is inward with him ; he has no more prudential prospective 
reasonings. His vrife, the only being who could have had any 
seat in his afifections, dies ; he puts on despondency, the final heart- 
armour of the wretched, and would fain think everything shadowy 
and unsubstantial, as indeed all things are to those who cannot 
regard them as symbols of goodness." 

Scene VII. 

2. This was a phrase of bear-baiting. " Also you shall see two 
ten-dog courses at the great bear" [i.e., the bear attacked by ten 
dogs, an attack being called a course]. — Antipodes, by Brome. 

Scene VIII. 

I. Alluding probably to the suicide of Cato of Utica, that of 
Brutus at Philippi, or both; or to such Roman suicides in general, 



7. Thus Casca, in Julius Ccrsar: "Speak, hands, for me." 

9. The air which cannot be cut. So in Hamlet, I. i. : " For it is, 
as the air, invulnerable." 

12. In the days of chivalry, the champions' arms being cere- 
moniously blessed, each took an oath that he used no charmed 
weapons. Macbeth, in allusion to this custom, tells Macdufif of 
the security he had in the prediction of the spirit. To this like- 
wise Posthumus alludes in Cymbclinc, V. iii. : "I, in mine own 
woe charm'd, could not find death."' 

34. To cry hold! when persons were fighting, was an authori- 
tative way of separating them, according to the old military laws. 
This is shown by a passage in Bellay's Instructions for the Wars, 
declaring it to be a capital offence, " Whosoever shall strike stroke 
at his adversary, either in the heat or otherwise, if a third do cry 
hold, to the intent to part them." This illustrates the passage in 
I. V. of this play : " Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the 
dark to cry Hold, hold! " 

49. The same incident is related in Camden's Remains, from 
Henry of Huntingdon : " When Siward, the martial Earl of Nor- 
thumberland, understood that his son, whom he had sent against 
the Scotchmen, was slain, he demanded whether his wounds were 
in the fore part or hinder part of his body. When it was an- 
swered, 'in the fore part,' he replied. '/ am right glad; neitJie/ 
zcish I any other death to me or mine.'" 

62-64. " Malcolm, immediately after his coronation," says Hol- 
inshed, "called a Parliament at Forfair; in which he rewarded 
them with lands and livings that had assisted him against Mac- 
beth. Manie of them that were before thanes were at this time 
made carles; as Fife, Menteith, Atholl, Levenox, Murrey, Caith- 
ness, Rosse, and Angus." 



Questions on Macbeth, 

I. What play of Middleton bears some resemblance to Mac- 

2. 'What arguments are found for joint authorship in certain 
parts of this play? 

3. What probable date is assigned for the composition of Mac- 
beth ? Whence did Shakespeare derive the materials for this 
drama? In what part of the story did he make an important 

4. What is the duration of the action of MacbciJi ? How much 
of it occurs during the night? Is great heightening of tragic feel- 
ing derived from the darkness ? 


5. How does Shakespeare sound the keynote at the opening of 
every play? Illustrate by Macbeth and compare with Hamlet. 

6. What was there in the beliefs of Shakespeare's time to war- 
rant his use of witchcraft in Macbeth ? What nature and powers 
were ascribed to witches then? What battle is dimly suggested 
by the Second Witch? Need the witches have possessed super- 
natural powers in order to fortell Macbeth's advancement ? 

7. Do Duncan's first words foreshadow anything of the tragic 
action of the play? 

8. On what was Macbeth engaged at the time of the opening of 
the drama? What effect had his conduct of this enterprise upon 
his reputation? 

9. Duncan addresses Macbeth as cousin; does this imply blood- 

10. What poetic titles does Ross apply to Macbeth, and what is 
their significance? 

II. What was a thane? 

12. How were the minds of Banquo and Macbeth differently 
affected by the prophecies of the witches? 

13. The First Witch threatens to take the form of a rat luithoiit 
a tail. Explain these words. 


MACBETH Questions 

14. What kind of disposition does Shakespeare ascribe to Dun- 
can? Was Duncan a weak king? Was he a reader of men? 
What was the ingratitude to which he refers, Sc. iv. 15? 

15. What impression does Macbeth convey at his first entrance? 
By his dwelling on the witches' prophecies? 

16. When does the changed feeling of Macbeth towards Banquo 
first show itself? What distinctness do you find in the character 
of the thane of Cawdor, although he does not appear on the stage? 

17. How does Lady Macbeth differ in disposition from her hus- 
band? How does the letter to her from Macbeth bear upon the 
plot? How does she at her first entrance at once take an im- 
portant part in the action? 

18. Mention some of the minor characters who appear in the 
first act, and state what part they play. 

19. Arc yc fantastical, or that indeed which outwardly yc shozuf 
Explain these words and say how they occur in the play. 

20. Analyze Macbeth's soliloquy (opening of Sc. vii.) as a whole. 


21. What cursed thoughts visited Banquo in his sleep. 

22. Does the soliloquy that ends Sc. i. present a new phase of 
Macbeth's nature? How does he regard the dagger? Explain its 
appearance to him. 

23. Interpret the lines in the soliloquy beginning, Thou sure 
and firm -set earth. 

24. What bell is it that breaks the soliloquy? 

25. Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't. 
Explain these words. Who utters them? 

26. Is poetic horror heightened by having the deed done off the 
stage? To what canon of the Greek drama does this conform? 

27. What is felt at Lady Macbeth's first words to Macbeth on 
his return from the murder? 

28. From recital (Sc. ii.) of his hallucination of hearing voices, 
Macbeth passes to highly poetic soliloquy. What revelation of 
his nature is made by this transition? At this point does Lady 
Macbeth understand him? 

29. My hands are of your colour, but I shame 
To wear a heart so white. 

Explain these words. How do they occur in the play? 

10 -F 161 


30. What do you think of Macbeth's loss of self-mastery in his 
refusal to return with the daggers? 

31. Wake Duncan with thy knocking! Is this cry hortatory 
or grimly derisive? 

2,2. Confusion no-di hath made Jiis masterpiece. Explain these 
words and state how they occur. 

33. What strange portents are said to have accompanied the 
murder of Duncan? 

34. In the Porter's soliloquy can you find any expressions that 
seem to you un-Shakespearian? What dramatic and mechanica.' 
purposes does it serve? Is the burlesquing here broader than in 
the Grave-diggers' scene of Hamlet? 

35. Give in your own words the sense of the passage (Sc. iii. go- 
beginning, Had I but died an hour before this chance. 

36. Describe and contrast the ways in which Macbeth and Mac- 
duff announce Duncan's death to Donalbain. What different men- 
tal states are indicated? 

37. Who first suspects Macbeth of Duncan's murder? 

38. Is Sc. iv. an adequate close for this act? 


39. How is the mutual distrust of Banquo and Macbeth after 
the latter has become king described by Shakespeare? 

40. Is it for the sake of plot or of character that Macbeth is 
made (Sc. i. 30) to refer to the absent sons of Duncan? Could 
it help his case with Banquo? Was his course with Banquo al- 
ready determined in his mind? 

41. How does Macbeth draw from Banquo the facts he wants 
without arousing his suspicion? What quality of Banquo's makes 
Macbeth fear to have him live? What additional reason comes 
to his mind? 

42. How does Macbeth contrive motives for the murderers he 
commissions to kill Banquo? What ulterior motive has he? Is 
he wise or foolish in showing the murderers why he wishes 
Banquo dead? 

43. Why does Macbeth send a third murderer to the scene? 

44. What is the significance of Banquo's parting words to 
Fleance ? 

45. *Tis better thee zcithout than lie ivithin. Explain these 
words and state when they were uttered. 


MACBETH Questions 

46. What dramatic purpose is served by making Macbeth speak 
of Banquo immediately after the entrance of his ghost and before 
Macbeth sees it? At what moment does Macbeth recognize the 
ghost? Should the ghost really appear on the stage? 

47. How would you characterize Lady Macbeth's speech (Sc. 
iv. 60) to her husband, made at such a moment? What efforts 
does she make to save the situation? 

48. Is there any significant hint of the hour at which the ghost 
scene occurs? Does anything develop here concerning Macbeth's 
relation to the supernatural? What change toward him is as- 
sumed by the Weird Sisters? Can you give any reason for this? 

49. Show from the language of the play that Shakespeare repre- 
sented the ghost of Banquo as being visible only to Macbeth. 

50. Mention, giving examples, any different senses in which the 
word " mortal " is used in Macbeth. 

51. What were the forces opposed to Macbeth, and what \\^s 
the state of the kingdom ? 


52. What do the three figures signify which rise from the 
witches' cauldron to speak to Macbeth? 

53. In what mood is Macbeth when he first addresses the Weird 
Sisters ? Note his multiplying of images. 

54. How does Macbeth receive the prophecies of his visitants? 

55. What is the symbolism of the eight kings? 

56. Does Hecate accomplish her revenge? 

57. What important news reaches Macbeth just after the 
witches vanish? What does it determine him to do? 

58. Where are t4ie second and third scenes of Act IV. placed? 
Is the unity of action marred by these changes? Do they give 
enlargement of view? 

59. Compare with Act I. and Act II. and tell how the action 
centers around Macbeth. 

60. What at this time was the relation of Ross to the king? 
How does Ross describe the condition of the times? 

61. What is the effect of the dialogue between Lady Macduff 
and her son? 

62. How and why does Malcolm defame himself in his con- 
versation with Macduff? 



63. When and how do we learn that Lady Macduff met her 
fate at the same time as her children ? 

64. What was Macduff's mission to Malcolm? 

65. In this dialogue what trait of character does Macduff pre- 
eminently exhibit? 


66. Why Is the Gentlewoman reticent about the words of Lad) 
Macbeth ? 

6^. When did Lady Macbeth last appear upon the scene? Has 
she now ceased to take a part in the action of the play? 

68. With what earlier scene is that of the sleep-walking inti- 
mately connected? What words of Lady Macbeth are reminis- 
^nt of previous words of hers? 

69. In what different ways does remorse affect Macbeth and 
Lady Macbeth? 

70. Describe the new phases of Macbeth's distemper which 
appear in the second and third scenes of Act V. 

71. Is Macbeth really puzzled, as his words to the Doctor indi- 
cate, by the state of the country? 

72. In saying (Sc. v. 9) / have almost forgot the taste of fears, 
does Macbeth appear to understand himself? 

72- Is Macbeth moved by the news of the Queen's death? 

74. Does the expectation of Macbeth hold out to the end? 
Does he abandon his hope in the unnatural prediction about one 
not born of woman ? 

75. W^hat was the last fulfillment of the mysterious prophecies? 

76. Consider the plot and principal characters of the play. What 
Is its moral significance? Has it a historical basis? 

yy. Give reasons why Macbeth is a great drama. Do you con- 
sider it to be Shakespeare's greatest tragedy; if so, why? 

78. Which Is the strongest passage In the play, and why? 
Where does it reach its climax? 

79. Name some of the qualities of Lady Macbeth. What im- 
pression of womankind does she give you in her first soliloquy? 

80. Summarize the traits of Macbeth's character. Is he more 


MACBETH Questions 

complex than Lady Macbeth? Which has the more conscience? 
What utterances or actions prove it ? 

8i. What is the clue to the great change in Macbeth' s will 
power ? 

82. At what point of the play does Macbeth begin to act inde- 
pendently of Lady Macbeth? 

83. Why does_ Shakespeare put so much beautiful poetry into 
the mouth of such a character as Macbeth. Compare Macbeth 
in this respect with lago. 

84. How long before the murder does Macbeth contemplate the 
deed. Compare him in this with Hamlet. But for Lady Macbeth 
would Macbeth have killed Duncan? 

85. Tn what does Macbeth's punishment consist? What one 
word says it all ? 

86. What really breaks down Lady Macbeth at the end? Is it 
the same cause which breaks down Macbeth himself? 

87. Is Macbeth a poet? Is he a coward? If he is a coward, 
how do you explain his bravery in battle? If he is not a coward, 
how do you explain his hesitancy and scruples? 

88. Has Macbeth great powers of dissimulation? Is his de- 
terioration through ambition sudden and contrary to the ordinary 
course of gradual moral decay? 

89. Does Banquo take any determining part in the action of 
the play? How do you regard his character? Why did Shake- 
speare depart from Holinshed in not miaking Banquo accessory to 
the crime? 

90. Malcolm and Macduff : were they weak or cowards in flee- 
ing for their lives? Did anything justify Macduff in leaving his 

91. What does the knocking at the gate typify? What the 
sleep-walking scene? 

92. The Weird Sisters : why does Shakespeare make them real, 
instead of introducing them to Macbeth in a dream? What do 
they stand for in the play? 

93. Contrast the use of the word metaphysical (I, v. 30) with 
its present ordinary meanings. Mention any other words used in 
Macbeth in senses different from those they have now. 

94. What does this drama show beyond the ordinary point that 
"murder will out"? 


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