(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Shakespeare's Macbeth : for use in public and high schools"



SHAKESPEARE 

MACBETH 




^^^>^^*^ 




STEVJSNSON 










WILLIAM SHAKESPKARE. 



^l)e (Tof p (Tlark HLlteraturc Series 
3to. 9 

SHAKESPEARE'S 

MACBETH 



FOR USE IN PXJBLlIO ANT» SIOH SCTHOOZjS 



WITH ANNOTATIONS BY 

O. J. STEVENSON, M.A., D.Paed. 

Professor of English, Ontario Agricultural College. 



ILI.rSTRATIONS BT 

HILDA HECHLE, R.B.A. 



THE COPP CLARK PUBLISHING CO. LIMITED 
VANCOUVER TORONTO MONTREAL 



Copyrisfht, Canada, 1916, by Ths Copi* (.'lark Company, Limited 
Toronto, Ontario 



CONTENTS 



WrLUAM SnAKKSPEAR£ {Fr<y}itisinece) 
Thk Lifk of Shakespeare 
The Theatre in Shakespeare's Time 
The Metre of Shakespeare's Plays 
Date , Sources of the Plot ; Title 



The Structure of 



"Macbeth" as a Tragedy 

Sources ok Interest 

Important Characters 

Historical Background 

Time Analysis . 

Dramatis PERSONvi<: 

Text of "Macbeth" 

Notes on Macbeth . 

Questions from Exa.mination Papers 

Subjects for Composition 

Staging a Play of Shakesprakb 



Play 



viii 

iz 

xi 

xii 

xiii 

xviii 

xxiv 

XXV 

xxvii 
1 
85 
145 
. 162 
See End of Book 



INTRODUCTION 



The Life of Shakespeare. 

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwick- 
shire, on April 23rcl, 1564. His father, John Shakespeare, was, in 
early life, a prosperous citizen of Stratford ; his mother, Mary Arden, 
was the daughter of a well-to-do farmer of Warwicksliire. Between 
the ages of seven and fourteen, Shakespeare probably attended the 
Stratford Grammar School, where, among other things, he received 
some training in Latin. In the year 15S2, before he was nineteen years 
of age, he married Anne Hathaway, of Shottery, a woman who was 
some eight years his senior. Two of their children, Susanna and Judith, 
married, but ouly one of Shakespeare's grand-children reached maturity, 
and with her death in 1669 or 1670 the poet's family became extinct. 

About the year 1586, Shakespeare left Stratford and went to London, 
where he appears to have obtained employment in some capacity in 
connection with the London theatres. About 15SS he began making 
over old plays, and in 1590 he probably wrote his first original drama. 
During the next twenty years, from 1590 to 1610, he produced play 
after play, and there is abundant evidence to sliow the esteem in which 
he was held by his contemporaries. In 1591 he was a member of the 
Earl of Leicester's Company of Players. When the Globe theatre was 
built in 1599, Shakespeare was one of tlie chief shareholders, and most 
of his plays were acted in this theatre. 

In the meantime he had begun to acquire property in Stratford. In 
1597 he had purchased tlie fine residence known as New Place, and 
from this time forward he appears to have looked more and more to 
Stratford as his home. About the year 1610 or 1611, he left Loudon 
and returned to Stratford with the apparent intention of living in ease 
and retirement on the competence which he had accumulated. A few 
years later, however, his health failed, and he died in April, 1616, in 
his fifty-second year. He was buried in the chancel of the (Jhurch of 
the Holy Trinity, in Stratford. 

Shakespeare's literary career is generally, for the sake of convenience, 
divided into four periods, according to the character of the plays which 
be produced : 

{n) 1588-1594. This is largely a period of apprenticeship. To this 
period I'clong, Loi-e's Labour a Lout, Comedy of Errors, liichard III., 
and possibly lioiueo and Jiditt. 

vii 



Vlll MACBETH 

(6) 1594-1600. During this period most of the great comedies and 
the English historic-il plays were produced. To this period belong, 
A Midsummer Night'' s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, 
Richard II. , Henry I V. , and Henry V. 

(c) 1600-1606. During this period most of the great tragedies were 
produced. To this period belong to Julius Ccesar, Hamlet, Othello, 
King Lear and Macbeth. 

(d) 1606-1612. Thisisaperiodof later tragedy and of serious comedy. 
To tliis period belong, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, 
The Tempest and A IVinter's Tale. 

Shakespeare himself took no pains to preserve his plays in permanent 
form. In all only fifteen of his plays were printed during his lifetime. 
In 1623, Iiowever, seven years after his death, a complete collection of 
his plays, thirty-six in all, were published in what is known as The 
Folio of 1G23. 

Note. — A folio page is about the size of an ordinary page of foolscap 
(about 13"x8y), formed by folding the printer's sheet of paper once. 
When the printer's sheet is divided into four parts, the size of page 
is known as quarto ; when divided into eight parts it is octavo ; when 
divided into twelve parts it is duodecimo. The plays which were 
printed during Shakespeare's lifetime were published in quarto volumes, 
as distinguished from the later folios. 

The Theatre in Shakespeare's Time. 

The first theatre in London was built in 1576, and was known aa 
The Theatre. Both this and other theatres which followed. The Curtain, 
The Globe, Blackfriars, and others, were built outside the city limits in 
order to escape the restrictions which were placed on the theatre by 
the Puritans. Most of the theatres were frame structures which were 
open to the sky, the only roofed part being the stage, or, at most, the 
raised seats next the walls. The better class of people occupied scats 
in the boxes overlooking the stage, or sat on stools or reclined on the 
rushes on the floor of the stage itself. The floor of the pit was merely 
hard earth, and it was not provided with seats. The admission to the 
pit was only a penny, and here the rabble crowded together, jost'ed 
each other, cracked nuts, ate apples, and laughed and joked and made 
sport of the actors. 

The performance of the play began at three o'clock in the afternoon, 
and usually lasted two or three hours. The stage was hung with black 



THE METRE OF SHAKESPEARE S PLAYS IX 

to indicate traged}', and with blue to indicate comedy. There was no 
curtain to mark the opening and closing of the scenes, and beyond a few 
simple articles of furniture, no scenery of any account was used. At 
the back of the stage was a sort of gallery or balcony, which served the 
purpose of an upper room, or any place which was raised above the 
level of the ordinary scene, A change of place was indicated by a board 
with the name painted on it, as, London, Venice, Rome, Sardis. A 
light blue flag was used to indicate a day scene, — a dark flag to indicate 
a night scene. The women's jiarts in the play were acted by boys, and 
women did not a{)pear even among the audience unless they wore masks. 
It was not until after the Kestoration, that movable stage scenery was 
introduced, and that female parts were acted by women. 

The Metre of Shakespeare's Plays. 

The plays of Shakespeare are written in blank verse, that is, verse in 
which the lines do not rhyme. Each line contains five feet, consisting 
of two syllables each, with the accent falling on the second syllable. 
This measure is known as iambic pentameter. 

When we mark the divisions between feet and indicate the accents 
in a line of poetry, we are said to scan it. Where the metre is perfectly 
regular, the scansion presents no difficulty ; but very frequently the 
poet finds it necessary to vary his metre, either for the sake of avoiding 
monotony or fur the purpose of producing certain special effects. The 
following are the most important of the variations which occur in the 
metre of Shakespeare : 

(a) Sometimes, especially after a pause, the accent falls upon the 
first syllable instead of the second, as, for example : 

Wo'e to / the ha'nd / that sh'ed / this co'st/ly blo'od ! 
What ju'dg/ment sh'all / 1 dre'ad, / d'oing / no wro'ng ? 

(6) An extra syllable is frequently added, especially at the end of a 
line, as, for example : 

Art th'ou / some g'od, / some a'n/gel o'r / some de'v/il ? 
It dr'op/peth a's / the ge'n/tle ra'in / from he'av/en. 

(c) Sometimes a foot contains two unaccented syllables, as, for 
example, in the following lines : 

I am ne'v/er m'er/ry wh'en / 1 he'ar / sweet m'u/sic ; 

Let me a'ee, / let me s'ee, / was n'ot / the lea'f / turn'd dow'n 7 



X MAC15ETH 

In many cases, however, one of the unaccented syllables is elided, or 
slurred over in reading, as, for example, in the following : 

Canst tho'u / not m'in/(i)ster t'o / a mi'nd / dise'ased ? 
We'll se'nd / !Mark A'u / t(o)ny t'o / the Se'n/ate-ho'use. 
Macb'eth / doth m'urder sle'ep, /the i'n/n(o)cent sl'eep, 

(d) Certain groups of letters which are now pronounced as one 
syllable, are sometimes pronounced as two syllables in Shakespeare, as, 
for example, in the following : 

The noble Brutus 
Hath told / you Ca'es/ar wa's / amb'it / i-o'ug. 
Misli'ke / me n'ot / for m'y / comple'x/i-o'n. 

(e) It frequently happens that among the accented syllables in a line 
of poetry some have a stronger stress than others ; and in order to scan 
a line, it is sometimes necessary to accent words which according to the 
sense have no stress, as, for example, in the case of the italicized words 
in the following : 

Throw phy's/ic to' / the do'gs ;/I'll no'ne/of i't I 
There i'sj a. ti'de / iu th'e j afFa'irs/ of me'n. 

Rhyme is used by Shakespeare chiefly for the purpose of giving 
emphasis to those lines in which the speaker expresses a purpose or 
decision, and it very frequently marks the close of a scene. Shakespeare 
used rhyme much more freely ia his earlier than in his later plays. 

Prose. Shakespeare makes use of prose in his plays wherever the 
characters belong to a lower level of society, as, for example, the 
citizens in Juliiis Ccesar, the porter in Macbeth, and Lancelot Gobbo, 
the clown, in The Merchant of Venice. Prose is also used in letters, 
as, for example, that of Bellario in Tlie Merchant of Venice, and for 
rhetorical speeches, as in the case of the paper of Artemidorus and the 
oration of Brutus in Julius Caesar. Sometimes also, prose is used for 
the purpose of producing a special dramatic effect, as in the case of 
Casca's assumed bluntness of manner in Julius Coesar ; and in the scene 
in The Merchant of Venice where Shylock ia "tortured" by Tubal ; 
and in the sleep-walking scene in Macbeth, 



MACBETH 



Date of the Play. 

Macbeth was probably written in the year 1606. The play 
contains references to King James I., who ascended the throne 
in 1G03; and in the porter's speech (Act II., Scene III.) there 
appears to be a reference to the trial of the Jesuit Garnet 
in 1036, as well as to the abundant harvests of that year. 
Macbeth was first published in what is known as the Folio 
of 1623. 

Sources of the Plot. 

Shakespeare obtained his materials for Macbeth from 
Holinshed's Chronicles of Englande, Scotlande and Ireland, 
which was first pubUshed in 1577. Holinshed's chronicles 
were in turn based upon an earlier history written in juatin 
by Hector Boethius (1527), and translated into Scotch by John 
Bellenden (1538). In the play of Macbeth, Shakespeare has 
interwoven incidents taken from different parts of Holinshed's 
narrative. The account of the murder of Duncan is based on 
the chronicle of King Duff, wliile the remaining incidents in 
the play are taken, for the most part, from tlie chronicle of 
Macbeth. The details of the scenes in which the Weird Sisters 
appear were no doubt based on popular superstitions regarding 
witches — current in Shakespeare's day. 

The Title of the Play. 

The play is rightly named Macbeth, since the whole action 
of the play concerns itself mainly with the fortunes of 
Macbeth. It is true that Lady Macbeth's will dominates her 
husband's, and that, in one sense, she is the stronger character, 
but yet the part she plays in the drama is subordinate 
throughout to tliat played by Macbeth. The interest in the 
character and fortunes of Macbeth is sustained throughout 
the play, from the opening scene in which he is announced by 
the Weird Sisters, to the final scene in which he is overcome 
by Macduff. 



Xli MACBETH 

"Macbeth" as a Tragedy. 

The element of tragedy is always present in human life 
when the individual, because of some weakness of character, is 
unable to adapt himself to the position in life in which he 
finds himself placed. In a drama such as Macbeth, where 
great issues are at stake, the interest is greatly heightened 
when success or failirre becomes a matter of life or death ; but 
it should be remembered that the element of tragedy lies not 
in the violent death with ■which the action so often concludes, 
but in the error or mistake which results in failure and death. 
In the play of Macbeth the element of tragedy lies in defects 
of character, each of which is followed by its own conse- 
quences. Macbeth is unable to resist the temptations which 
come to him "in the day of success"; Lady Macbeth is 
endowed with great strength of will, but devotes it to an evil 
purpose, and suffers in consequence. Duncan with all his 
"gracious" qualities is unable to rule his own kingdom with 
a strong hand. Banquo is aware of the designs of Macbeth, 
but fails either to warn Duncan of his danger or to take 
precautions for his own safety. Macduff is punished for his 
own rash haste and lack of foresight in leaving his wife and 
family exposed to the tjTanny of Macbeth. Among the 
leading characters in the play Malcolm is the only one who 
has sufficient strength to overcome the difficulties w^hich lie in 
his way, and the play fitly closes with the proclamation of 
Malcolm as king. 

The Structure of the Play. 

Macbeth is one of the shortest of Shakespeare's plays. It is 
supposed by some critics that as originally written it was 
longer, but that in its present form it was printed from an 
actor's abridged copy. There are some evidences that the 
play was either written very hurriedly, struck oft" in a white 
heat, or that it was made over and shortened by some other 
playwright. 

As with Shakespeare's other great plays, Macbeth is con- 
structed according to a definite plan. The first half of the 
play deals with the temptation and crimes of Macbeth, growing 
out of the witches' prophecies to Macbeth and Banquo. The 



SOURCES OF INTEREST Xlll 

murder of Banquo and the escape of Fleance mark the 
dramatic centre of the play. With the death of Banquo, 
Macbeth gains the last of his successes, and with the escape of 
Fleance he meets with his first failure. With the murder 
of Banquo, Macbeth has definitely embarked on a career 
of crime, and from this time forward his fortunes steadily 
decline. 

The incidents and characters in the second half of the play, 
it will be noticed, form a sort of balance for those in the first 
half. The murder of Lady Macduff is set over against the 
murder of Duncan ; the prophecies of the Weird Sisters in 
the second half of the play form a parallel and contrast to 
those in the first half. In the second half of the play Macduff 
takes the place of Banquo ; and the resolute Malcolm takes 
the place of the weak though gracious Duncan. And when 
we come to make a detailed study of Macbeth and Lady 
Macbeth we shall find that one of the chief sources of interest, 
in each case, lies in the working out of the balance between 
the two halves of the play. 

Sources of Interest in the Play. 

Throughout the play of Macbeth Shakespeare has made use 
of various means coiunionly employed by diamatists to 
heighten the interest in the play. The following are some of 
the most important : 

Suspense. In the first half of the play the audience are 
kept in suspense as to Mncbeth's final decision to murder 
Duncan, and as to whether the plans of Macbeth and Lady 
Macbeth can be safely carried out. To a lesser degree the 
same thing is true of the murder of Banquo in Act III. In 
the latter half of the play the element of suspense groVs out 
of the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Weird Sisters. It is 
not until the very close of the play that the meaning of the 
prophecies is made plain, and that Macbeth's downfall is 
finally assured. 

Dramatic Irony. When the words or actions of a character 
in the play have for the audience a significance the opposite of 
that which is intended, this double significance constitutes 
dramatic irony. When- for inst^vnce, Duncan observes as he 



XIV MACBETH 

approaches Macbeth's castle, " This castle has a pleasant seat," 
the audience feels that the situation is ironical, for they know 
that on entering the castle Duncan is going to his death. In 
Macbeth, Shakespeare makes constant use of dramatic irony 
in order to heighten the effect of certain situations in the play. 
The relations of Duncan with Macbeth are maiked throughout 
by touches of irony. In Act III. there is a certain grim irony 
in the promise of Banquo to be present at the feast, and in his 
appearance at the banquet as if in response to the speeches of 
Macbeth. In the last half of the play the prophecies of the 
Weird Sisters are in themselves ironical, and part of the 
interest of the play lies in the revelation of this ironical 
meaning to the audience. 

The Oracular Element in the Play. In the ancient classical 
drama one of the chief sources of interest was supplied by 
revelations or prophecies, which were known as oracles ; and 
the modern dramatist very frequently makes use of this 
oracular element. In 3Iacheth the chief source of interest in 
the play lies in the fulfilment of the predictions or prophecies 
of the Weird Sisters. Each half of the play contains three 
oracles relating to Macbeth and one which concerns Banquo. 
In the first half of the play these oracles have to do with the 
rise of Macbeth ; and when the first two have proved true 
he decides to murder Duncan in order to bring about the 
fulfilment of the third. But now that the oracles have been 
fulfilled in his own case he begins to fear that the prophecy 
regarding Banquo may also prove true ; and in order to 
prevent its fulfilment he undertakes the murder of Banquo 
and Fleance. Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes, and thus 
in spite of the efforts of Macbeth the fulfilment of the oracle 
is made possible. This prophecy regarding Banquo is not less 
important than the oracles relating to Macbeth himself, for it 
is the attempt to prevent its fulfihnent that proves the 
undoing of Macbeth, in both halves of the play. 

The oracles in the second half of the play in some respects 
form a contrast to those in the first half. In the first place, 
Macbeth seeks the Weird Sisters, whereas in the former case 
they sought him. He forces them to speak, and they purposely 
dejeive him. The three oi-acles in this case are intended to 
bring about his downfall rather than ensure his safety ; and 



SOURCES OF INTEREST XV 

because of his blind reliance upon them he follows a course of 
action that leads to his ultimate ruin. The Banquo oracle in 
the second half of the play is in a sense a repetition of the 
oracle contained in the first half, the 'show of eight kings' 
being intended merely to foreshadow the fulfilment of the 
original prophecy. 

The Supernatural. The audience is easily impressed by any- 
thing which appears to be unusual in character, and the 
supernatural always suggests a mysterious and unseen power 
over which human beings have no control. In Macbeth, 
Shakespeare makes use of the supernatural for dramatic effect 
in at least three different situations, — in the scenes in which 
the Weird Sisters appear, in the reference to the "rough 
night" (Act II., Scenes III. and IV.), and in the banquet 
scene, in which the ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth. 

In Shakespeare's time the belief in witches was widespread ; 
and the Weird Sisters in Macbeth have all the qualities which 
were usually associated with the witches of popular super- 
stition. Their uncanny appearance and gestures, their strange 
incantations, and their mysterious association with the powers 
of evil gave them a strong hold on the imagination of a 
Shakespearean audience. But the witches in Macbeth are 
something more than the witches of vulgar superstition. 
They are the Weird Sisters (A.S. wyrd, fate), "the spirits 
that know all mortal consequences," and their warnings and 
prophecies have something of the character of the oracles of 
ancient times. They fascinate us, as they did Macbeth and 
Banquo, not only because of their grotesque appearance and 
actions, but because "they have more in them than mortal 
knowledge." As we shall see later, the prophecies of the 
Weird Sisters are in reality a personification of Macbeth's 
own thoughts ; and it would have been possible for Shakes- 
peare to write the play of Macbeth without introducing the 
Weird Sisters at all. But if we were to take out of Macbeth 
the scenes in which the witches appear we should destroy 
much of the 'atmosphere' upon which the play depends for 
its effect. 

The word atynosphere is generally used with reference to 
those qualities in the play which determine the feelings of the 
audience. In the play of Macbeth the general atmosphere is 



XVI MACBETH 

one of weirdness amounting at times to horror. There are 
many details in the play which contribute to this 'atmosphere,' 
— the planning of the murder in Act I., the air-drawn dagger, 
the horrors of the mvirder scene, the knocking at the gate, the 
porter's speech, the ringing of the alarm bell, the prodigies of 
the stormy night, etc., etc.; but the incantations of the Weird 
Sisters, their uncanny appearance and movements, and their 
mysterious prophecies, contribute more than anything else to 
produce a feeling of weirdness throvighout the play. 

It is a common device among dramatists to represent Nature 
as showing sympathy with the wrongs of mankind ; and in 
the course of Act II., Shakes2:)eare makes use of this device 
upon two occasions for the sake of heightening the effect. 
Strange screams of death were heard in the air ; ' the earth 
was feverous and did shake,' 'dark night sti-angles the travel- 
ling lamp,' and the horses of Duncan "turned wild in natiu'e, 
contending 'gainst obedience." "'Tis tumatural," observes 
the Old Man, " even like the deed thaVs done.''' 

The appearance of the ghost of Banquo in the banquet 
scene adds still another touch of horror to the play. Macbeth, 
it will be noticed, is the only one who sees the ghost, and Lady 
Macbeth reads the mind of Macbeth rightly when she says to 
him, "This is the very painting of your fear." The ghost does 
not speak, it only 'nods' and 'glares' and 'shakes its gory 
locks ; ' and it is a problem for the stage manager to decide 
whether he should inake the ghost actually appear in the 
scene, as Macbeth fancied he saw it, or leave the audience free 
to share the feelings of the guests at the banquet who saw 
nothing but an empty stool. 

Nemesis. In the course of any drama the author must see 
that the good qualities of his hei^oes are rewarded and that 
mistakes or crimes of which they are guilty are punished. 
Sometimes imder certain conditions we feel that the punish- 
ment is peculiarly suited to the crime, and to this form of 
retributive justice we give the name of nemesis. In Macbeth, 
Shakespeare makes use of this element of nemesis in such a 
way as to add greatly to the effectiveness of the play. To 
begin with, the career of Macbeth as a whole supplies a 
striking example of nemesis, and each of his separate crimes 
ia in fnrn followed by a nemesis of its own. Macbeth is 



SOURCES OF INTEREST XVU 

ambitious and his ambition leads him to trust in the prophecies 
of the AVeird Sisters ; but it is this very beUef in the Weird 
Sisters that leads to his downfall. He is pvinished by those 
very agencies in which he trusted to bring him success. 
Besitles this, the murders of Duncan, Banquo, and Lady 
Macduff each brought its own immediate punishment, and in 
each case an avenger remained in the persons of Malcolm, 
Fleance, and Macduff, each of whom contributed in his own 
Wciy to the retribution of Macbeth. 

In the case of Lady Macbeth, nemesis takes a simpler fornio 
By her strength of will she forces Macbeth to commit a crime 
which he himself hesitated to undertake ; and she is doubly 
punished for her share in the crime. In the first place, she 
finds that although she was able to overcome Macbeth's 
objections to committing the invu'der, she is unable to control 
the passions which she has aroused, and she is forced to 
look heljilessly on while he engages in a career of crime 
which brings ruin to them both. And besides this, as the 
sleep-walking scene shows, she herself suffers from personal 
remorse, and in the end, in a fit of madness she takes her 
own life. 

Duncan is punished because he is a weak king. With all 
his gracious qualities he is iinable to lead his own armies and 
fight his own battles, and as a natural consequence he falls a 
victim to the ambitions of the one strong man who is able to 
restore order in his realm. 

Banquo is punished because he fails to take proper precau- 
tions to protect himself and others. He knew that Macbeth 
had murdered Duncan and yet he was content to look idly on ; 
and he knew, or ought to have known, that he himself had 
much to fear from Macbeth, yet he took no measures to save 
himself from the same fate that befell Duncan. He was the 
victim of his own inaction. 

Macduff, on the other hand, suffers because of his over 
zealous haste and rashness, and altliough the blow does not 
fall directly upon his own head, his punishment is none the 
less ten-ible. 

Malcolm is the only well-rounded character in the play, and 
his good qualities are rewarded by the fact that in the end he 
is crowned king. 



Xvill MACBETH 

The Important Characters in "Macbeth." 

Macbeth. At the opening of the play Macbeth appears as a 
successful general who had saved the kingdom from the 
dangers of rebellion and foreign invasion. He was a man of 
great physical sti'ength and courage, and it was his personal 
prowess in the fight with Macdonwald, that saved the day. It 
was natural that under these circumstances he should compare 
himself with the weak though amiable king Duncan, and that 
the thought of murdering Duncan and becoming king should 
have suggested itself to him : and in the flush of victory these 
temptations must have presented themselves in their strongest 
form. It was then that the Weird Sisters met him on the 
blasted heath and hailed him as " Thane of Glamis," "Thane 
of Cawdor," and "King, that shalt be." At first sight it 
might seem that the thought of murdering Duncan came to 
Macbeth entirely from without, and that the blame for these 
evil suggestions should rest with the Weird Sisteis rather than 
with Macbeth. But it should be remembered that in putting 
these prophecies into the mouth of the Weird Sisters, Shakes- 
peare was merely presenting in a concrete personal way, 
Macbeth's own thoughts. The Weird Sisters are the personi- 
fication of Macbeth's own evil desires. He 'starts' when he 
hears his thoughts put into actual woixls ; and when the 
witches vanish he exclaims, "Would they had stayed I" 

But although Macbeth is the embodiment of physical 
courage, and is ambitious to become king, he is uneasy at 
the thovight of actually committing the crime. He is accus- 
tomed to facing danger on the field of battle, but the idea of 
carrying out a murder in cold blood fills him with vague 
terrors. " Present fears are less than horrible imaginings." 
He is a man of action and cannot endure suspense. And 
furthermore, it is evident that he is anxious to have the good 
opinion of others ; and because he has " bought golden opinions 
from all sorts of people " he shrinks from the disgrace which 
the discovery of his crime would bring with it. That is what 
Lady Macbeth means when she says he is "too full o' the 
milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way." His 
"kindness," is due merely to his regard for appearances, his 
desire for * honour, love, obedience, troops of friends." As far 



IMPORTANT CHARACTERS XIX 

as the murder itself is concerned, he has no scruples, and he is 
not deterred by fear of punishment in the life to come. The 
two things that form the real obstacles in his way are, his 
inability to endure suspense, and his fear of discovery. If the 
murder could be done quickly and if he could "trammel up 
the consequences," he would not hesitate. And when Lady 
Macbeth supplies the practical details which seem to remove 
anxiety on these two points he is ready to yield to her wishes. 

But in spite of their well-prepared plan, as the time for the 
muider approaches he is overwrought, and his intense excite- 
ment is sliown in his heightened language as well as in his 
half-hysterical fancies. T\Tien he returns from the chamber of 
Duncan it is evident that his nervous excitement has reached 
the breaking point, and Lady Macbeth, with all her strength of 
will, is imable to control his fancies. But with the entrance of 
Macduff and Lennox he recovers his self-possession. There is 
now something to do and he is himself once more. 

From this point in the play until the very end of the action, 
we see the working out of those qualities which Macbeth has 
already shown in connection with the murder of Duncan. He 
has now achieved his ambition to become king, but 'his fears 
in Banquo stick deep;' and his mind is 'full of scorpions' at 
the thought that the prophecy of the Weird Sisters regarding 
Banquo may still come true. "To be thus is nothing, but to 
be safely thus ! " He is unable to face the situation in which he 
finds himself, and he decides on the murder of Banquo as the 
only means of regaining his peace of mind. But although he 
does not commit the murder himself, the very danger involved 
in it brings with it a return of mental excitement which on 
this occasion proves his undoing. After the banquet scene 
there is apparently only one course left open to a man of 
Macbeth's tempeiament, — to go forward in his career of crime. 
The murder of Duncan has aroused the opposition of JNIacduff ; 
and with the realization that his crimes have been discovered, 
Macbeth's first instinct is to guard against JNIacduff as the 
enemy from whom he has most to fear. As in the first part of 
the play, so now the prophecies of the Weiid Sisters merely 
personify his own thoughts. It appears to him that with his 
physical strength and courage he need fear 'no man of woman 
Jborn,' and he knows that in his strong castle of Dunsinane h^ 



XX MACBETH 

can ' laugh a siege to scorn.' And so with a blind confidence 
in his own power he strikes down the wife and family of 
Macdviff, and in exasperation at the news of Macduff's flight to 
England, he ' prepares for some attempt at war.' 

There is no need to trace the actions of Macbeth through the 
remaining scenes of the play. Crime begets crime, until at 
length he has "supp'd full with horrors." It only remains in 
the last stages of the play for the dramatist to work out the 
details of the retribution which forms an inevitable part of 
the tragedy. Before the play closes, Macbeth has lost faith in 
human kind and sees in life only 'a walking shadow,' 'a poor 
player,' 'a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signi- 
fying nothing.' He finds that his days 'are fallen into the 
sear, the yellow leaf ; ' and in the end he learns that even the 
'juggling fiends' in whom he had placed his trust ai'e no 
longer to be believed. But his life goes out with a flash of the 
old courage which half relieves the shadow of depression, or 
rather the touch of pity which the audience feels for him in 
these last stages of his career. 

Lady Macbeth. The predominant quality in the character of 
Lady Macbeth is her strength of will. From the moment 
when she hears of the prophecies of the Weird Sisters, she 
bends all her energies to make the promise come true ; and at 
every step throvighout her cai^eer she shoAvs the same inflexible 
purpose and the same power of self-control. TNTiien Macbeth 
hesitates to perform the murder, she not only supplies the 
practical details but spurs him f orwaid to commit the crime. 
After the murder when she finds that she is unable to control 
his hysterical fancies she herself takes the daggers which 
Macbeth in his excitement has brovight with him, and returns 
to the chamber to 'smear the sleepy grooms with blood. 
And in the banquet-scene, although she sees plainly that 
Macbeth is beyond her control, she still preserves her presence 
of mind and tries in vain to reassui-e the guests. 

But in spite of her strength of will, there are moments in 
which Lady Macbeth, no doubt under the influence of strong 
excitement, makes mistakes. "V\Tien Lennox entered the 
chamber of the murdered Duncan he noticed that the daggers 
of the grooms were left zcmviped, zijoon their pillows. And in 
the scene in which the murder is discovered it is evident that 



IMPORTANT CHARACTERS Xxi 

in her anxiety to appear innocent she overacts her part. But 
foi'tunately at the critical moment in the scene, she faints, and 
in the confusion of the moment her false acting passes vin- 
noticed, except hy Malcohn and Donalbain. Perliaps her 
fainting is a clever piece of acting, but it is more natural to 
suppose that it is a genuine swoon, brought on by the vivid 
word-painting of Macbeth, -which revived in her mind the 
horrors of the chamber of death. 

If Shakespeare had represented Lady Macbeth as merely an 
ambitious woman with an inflexible will, she would have 
repelled rather than attracted the audience. But he has taken 
care to see that with all her "fiend-like" qualities she is still 
human, and has a softer side to her nature than her share in 
the murder of Duncan Mould seem to imply. Her ambition, it 
will be noticed, is for Macbeth, not for herself ; it is her desire 
for his advancement that leads her to share in the crime. 
And Avith consummate skill the poet has introduced touches of 
character which go to show that beneath the mask of cruelty 
which she puts on, she is still a woman with some at least of 
the qualities which should belong to a woman's nature. She 
feels that her share in a crime such as this is unnatui'al, and 
so she calls tipon the 'spirits that tend on moi-tal thoughts' 
to 'unsex' her ; she refers to the fact that she has known the 
tender feelings of a mother for her child ; on the night of the 
murder she nerves herself with drink to make her ' bold ; ' she 
even feels a touch of pity for the sleeping Duncan ; and after 
the crime is over comes the beginning of remoi-se which ends 
in the " thick-coming fancies" of the sleep-walking scene. 

Duncan. The rebellion of Macdonwald and the invasion of 
the Norwegians in themselves furnish evidence that Duncan 
Wiis an inelfective ruler who could not maintain order in his 
own kingdom. His words and actions as seen in the play 
go to show that he was not lacking ia those finer personal 
qualities which so well become a sovereign in times of peace. 
Indeed Macbeth himself pays tribute to these finer qualities 

when he says : 

This Duncan 
Hath borne hid faculties so meek, luith been 
So clear in his great office, that hisi virtues 
Will plead like angels, trumpet-toiigued, against 
The deep damnation of his taking-off : 



Xxii MACBETH 

and later in the play he sums up the whole character of 
Duncan in the one word "gracious." At one point in the play, 
however, — in his tears of joy over the victories of Macbeth, — 
there is a suggestion that Duncan's gentleness of nature 
amounts almost to weakness ; and it is evident from the play 
that after his experience with Cawdor he showed a certain 
lack of foresight in putting himself so completely in the hands 
of his successful general, on whom also he "built an absolute 
trust." 

Banquo, as he appears in the play, is evidently intended as a 
foil for Macbeth. He too is a valiant soldier, and has "no 
less desei-ved" than Macbeth. He has every reason to be 
jealous of the favours which Duncan has showered upon 
Macbeth ; but unlike Macbeth he is lacking in ambition, and 
is even ready to join with Duncan in praises of his rival. The 
Weird Sisters appear to him, as to Macbeth ; for although 
lacking in personal ambition he is willing to entertain the 
hope that at some future day 'his children shall be kings.' 
But while Macbeth 'starts' at the prophecies of the Weird 
Sisters, and considers that 'this supernatural soliciting can- 
not be ill,' Banquo looks upon the Weird Sisters as 'the 
instruments of darkness.' Wiien the temptation to murder 
Duncan enters the mind of Macbeth, he thinks only of how he 
can ' trammel up the consequence ; ' but when Banquo, on the 
other hand, is tempted, his one thought is that he ' may keep 
his bosom franchised and allegiance clear.' When temptation 
presents itself to him he is able to put it aside by main effort of 
will ; and it is only when his will is asleep that he is unable to 
"restrain the cursed thoughts that nature gives way to in 
repose." When Macbeth becomes king and the prophecies of 
the Weird Sisters are thus far fulfilled, the struggle in the 
mind of Banquo is again renewed, but there is in his language 
no suggestion that he had in mind any plan to make the 
prophecies of the Weird Sisters come true. It is his very 
inaction, indeed, that proves his undoing, and the weak point 
in his character lies in his inability to see his own danger and 
take measures to protect himself against the ambitious plans 
of Macbeth. 

Macduff. The outstanding feature of Macduff's character is 
his strong Impvdsive temperament. It is evident that froia 



IMPORTANT CHARACTERS XXIU 

the moment of the discovery of the murder of Duncan, 
Macduff at once suspected Macbeth of the crime ; and with an 
utter disregard of the consequences of offending Macbeth, he 
refused to go to Scone to see the new king invested. And later, 
when bidden to the ' solemn supper ' at Macbeth's palace, he 
bluntly refused. Then, acting upon a rash impulse, he set out 
for the English Court with the purpose of trying to pei'suade 
the King of England to espouse the cause of Malcolm. The 
finer and stronger side of Macduff's nature is shown upon the 
receipt of the news of the death of his wife and children ; and 
the impulsive energy of his nature finds full scope in the 
closing scenes of the play, in which he wreaks his vengeance 
upon Macbeth. 

Malcolm is the only fully developed, well-rounded character 
in the play. As he appears in the first Act he is only a boy, 
unable as yet to take his full pai-t in the buttles that are being 
fought. But when the miu-der of his father is discovered, he 
is shrewd enough to see through the "uufelt sorrow" of 
Macbeth, and cautious enough to try to escape from Macbeth's 
power. When we next see him he has reached manhood ; and 
in his interview with Macduff he shows a caution and a wisdom 
and an all-round strength of chai-acter that reconciles the 
audience at once to the possibilities of his becoming king. 
And in the final scenes of the play Ave find that in addition to 
the strength of chaiacter he has already shown, he has the 
quality of "industrious soldiership," in which his father 
Duncan was so unfortunately lacking. 

Ross is what might be termed the news-bearer in the play. 
It is he who reports to Duncan the result of the battle with 
the Norwegians, and it is he who greets Macbeth with his new 
title of Thane of Cawdor. It is he who breaks to Macduff the 
news of the murder of his wife and children, and towards the 
close of the play it is he also who announces to Si ward the 
death of his son. As far as we can judge of his character, he 
is of a gentle kindly nature, one of those "who would make 
good of bad and friends of foes." 

Lennox takes practically no part in the action of the play, 
and, as a mutter of fact, he has little to say. But he is a keen 
observer, and his nonical conunent, suggesting more than it 
says, adds an interesting touch to the scenes in which he 



XXIV MACBETH 

appears. Both Lennox and Ross are minor characters, but 
they play a necessary part inasmuch as they ai-e intended, no 
doubt, to represent the attitude of the pubhc, — the Scottish 
lords in this case, — towards Macbeth. 

The Historical Background of the Play. 

As we have already seen, Shakespeare drew the materials 
for his plot from the stories of King Duffe and Macbeth in 
Holinshed's Chronicles. These chronicles, however, consist 
for the inost part of legendary stories which have no historical 
foundation. As a matter of fact, when various sources of 
information regarding this period in Scottish history are 
consulted, so many conflicting details are found that it is 
difficult to distinguish truth from fiction. The following 
outline will, however, serve as a general summing up of the 
real facts of history, as far as they are known. 

Duncan, the grandson of Malcolm II., became king of Scot- 
land in 1034. He married the daughter of Siward, Earl of 
Northumberland, and his son is known to history as Malcolm 
Canmore. Duncan was a weak king. In 1039, after an 
unsuccessful invasion of England, he was forced to lead his 
army northward to meet an invasion from Thorfinn, Earl of 
Orkney. Duncan's general, Macbeth, joined Thoiflnn, and 
Duncan was defeated, and was shortly afterwards slain either 
by Macbeth or his agents. Macbeth was a relative, probably 
a cousin, of Duncan ; and his wife Gruoch had also, in her 
own I'ight, a claim to the throne, so that he was not entirely a 
usurper, Macbeth reigned for nearly eighteen years (1040-1057), 
and all historians agree that his reign was one of unusual peace 
and prosperity. He restored order in his kingdom, supported 
the church with liberal gifts, and on the ^vhole proved to be an 
able and popular monarch. Towards the close of his reign, 
however, he was forced to repel the attacks of Siward, who 
espoused the cause of his grandson Malcolm ; and in 1858 he 
was killed in the battle of Lumphanan fighting against the 
English. He was succeeded on the throne by Lulacli his son, 
or stepson, who reigned only a few months. Malcolm, who 
was now proclaimed king, reigned for thirty -five years (1058- 
1093). 



TIME ANALYSIS XXV 

Neither Macdonwald nor the thane of Cawdor is known to 
history, and there is no record of an invasion by the Norwegians 
under Sweno. Diincan was not murdered in IMacbeth's castle. 
Banquo and Fleance are purely fictitious characters, and 
Macduff is only a shadowy personage. Nothing is known of 
the murder of Lady Macduflf nor of the character of Lady 
Macbeth ; and the incidents of the moving forest and the birth 
of Macduff are merely bits of mediaeval folklore which Holinshed 
has used to embellish his story. 

Time Analysis. 

Tlie period of time covered by the events in the play of 
Macbeth is in reality about eighteen years, from the murder of 
Duncan in 1039 to the death of Macbeth in 1058. But in the 
play, while frequent references are made to events which 
covered long intervals of time, Shakespeare has drawn the 
incidents together and bridged over the gaps so that the 
different events appear to follow one another more closely 
than was actually the case. During the first act, for instance, 
two battles are fought, peace is made with the Norwegians, 
the thane of Cawdor is condemned to death and executed, 
and Duncan pays a visit to Macbeth's castle. These events 
must in reality have occupied some weeks or perhaps months, 
but in the play they are crowded into a period of not more 
than two days. As a matter of fact, the action of the whole 
play occupies only nine days ; and even when we make 
allowance for the intervals that occur between certain events, 
— the flight of Macduff and his arrival in England, for 
example, — we find that the story of the play covers a period 
of only a few weeks, or, at most, a few mouths. 

But although the events of the play are made to follow one 
another as closely as possible, it is sometimes necessary to 
give the audience the impression that a considerable time has 
elapsed, as, for example, in the case of the interval between 
the battle with the Norwegians and the visit of Duncan to 
Macbeth's castle. In such cases the dramatist makes use of 
what is known as double time, ^^^lile he speaks of coming 
events as near at hand, he refers to past events as if they had 
taken place a considerable time before. In Act I., for instance, 
it appears that the meeting with the Weird Sisters, the 



iXVl MACBETH 

interview with the king, and the visit to Macbeth's castle 
followed in close succession after the battle with the Nor- 
wegians (Act I., 5 ; II., 152 ; and IV., 42-47) ; but when these 
events are once past, the dramatist refers to them in such a 
way as to correct this impression and show these various 
incidents in their true perspective (Act II., 59-62; III., 94-99; 
v., 1 ; and VII., 32-35). 

The point in the play in which the dramatist has most 
difficulty in accounting for the passage of time is in Act II., 
in connection with the murder of Duncan. The mui-der must 
follow closely upon the events of the day, but yet it must 
take place so late that the arrival of Macduff and Lennox to 
call upon the king will not seem unnatural. In Scene I., 
when the time of night is mentioned we are told vaguely that 
it is some time after midnight. After the murder is over the 
porter tells us that he and his companions had been "carous- 
ing till the second cock," and the murder must have taken 
place later. When Macduff enters he excuses himself for his 
early visit by explaining that the king had commanded him 
"to call timely on him." The conversation between the Old 
Man, Ross, and Macduff must have taken place some^ hours 
later on the same day. 



DRAMATIS PERSONiE 



DrN'CA>", King of Scotland. 
Malcolm, 



kh 



^ noblemen of Scotland. 



•rw f his sons 

DONALBAIN' 

Macbeth, "I , , , , , . 

J generals of the king s army. 
Banquo, j 

Macduff, '' 

Lennox, 

Ross, 

Menteith, 

Angus, 

Caithness, 

Fleance, son to Bajiquo. 

SlWARD, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forcea 

Young SiWAUD, his son. 

Seyton, an officer attending on IVIacbeth. 

Boy, son t<J Macduff. 

An En^'lish Doctor. 

A Scotch Doctor. 

A Soldier. 

A Porter. 

An Old Man. 

Lady Macbeth. 
Lady ^L\CDrFF. 
Gentlewoman attending on Lady Macbeth. 

[Hecate.] 

Three Witches. 
Apparitions. 

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

^•jiNE. — Scotlmid: Entjlaivd. 



MACBETH 



ACT I 

Scene L A desert place. 
Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches. 

First Witch. When shall we three meet again 
In thnnder, liirhtnincj, or in rain ? 

Sec. Witch. When the hurlj-bnrly'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. 

TJiircl Witch. There to meet witli Macbeth. 

First Witch. I come, Graymalkin ! 

Sec. Witch. Paddock calls. 

Third Witch. Anon, 10 

All. Fair is foul, and foul is fair; 
Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Mceunt. 

Scene II. A camp near Forres. 

Alartim within. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, vnth 
Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant. 

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

Mai. This is the sergeant 

Who like a good and hardy soldier fought 
'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend ! 
Say to the King the knowledge of the br<^Ji 
As thou didst leave \*:, 



2 Macbeth fAcT I 

8er. 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 10 

The multiplying villanies of nature 
Do swarm upon him — from the western isles 
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied ; 
But all's too weak ; 

For brave Macbeth — well he deserves that name — 
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, 
Which smok'd with bloody execution, 
Like valour's minion carved out his passage 
Till he faced the slave ; 

Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, 2C 
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps, 
And fix'd his head upon our battlements. 

Dun. 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, 30 

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

Dun. Dismay 'd not this 

Our captains Macbeth and Banquo ? 

8er. Yes ; 

As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. 
If I say sooth, I must report they were 



Scene II] Macbeth 3 

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, 

I cannot tell — 40 

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 sui'geons. 

[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 cam'st thou, worthy thane ? 

Ross. From Fife, great king ; 

Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky 
And fan our people cold. Norway himself. 
With terrible numbers, 50 

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, 
The victory fell on us. 

Dun. Great happiness ! 

Ross. That now 

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



4 Macbeth [Act I 

Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's inch 60 

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. 

[Exeunt. 
Scene III. A heath near Forres. 

Thunder, Enter the three Witches. 

First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister ? 

Sec. Witch. Killing swine. 

Third Witch. Sister, where thou ? 

First Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, 
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd : — " Give me," 

quoth I ; 
" Aroint thee, witch ! " the rump-fed ronyon cries. 
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger ; 
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. 

First Witch. I myself have all the other, 
And the very ports they blow. 
All the quarters that they know 
I' the shipman's card. 
I will drain him dry as hay ; 
Sleep shall neither night nor day 
Hang upon his pent-house lid ; 20 




1st. Hitch. "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. Ml do, and Ml do." 

*CtI. Scene HI. 



Scene III] Macbeth ^ 

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. WifcJi. Show me, show me. 

First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb, 
Wreek'd as homeward he did come. [Di-um within. 

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 Banqdo. 

Mach. 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 arc you aught 
That man may question ? You seem to understand me 
By each at once her choppy finger laying 
Upon her skinny lips ; you should be women, 
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 
That you are so. 

Mach. Speak, if you can ; what are you ? 

First Witch. All hail, Macbeth I hail to thee, thane of 
Glamis I 



6 Macbeth [Act 1 

Sec. WitcK All hail, Macbeth ! hail to thee, thane of 
Cawdor ! 

Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king 
hereafter ! 50 

Ban. Good sir, why do you start ; and seem to fear 
Things that do sound so fair ? I' the name of truth, 

[To the Witches.] 
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 ! 

Macb. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more : 70 
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis ; 
But how of Cawdor ? the thane of Cawdor lives, 
A prosperous gentleman ; and to be king 
Stands not within the prospect of belief. 
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence 
You owe this strange intelligence ? or why 



Scene III] Macbeth 7 

Upon this blasted heath you stop our way 

With such prophetic greeting ? Speak, I charge you. 

[ Witches vanish. 

Ban. The earth hath bubbles, as tlie water has. 
And these are of them. "Whither are they vanish'd ? so 

Mach. Into the air ; and what seem'd corporal melted 
A.S 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 ? 

Mach. Your children shall be kings. 

Ban. You shall be king. 

Mach. 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 lung hath happily received, Macbeth, 
The news of thy success ; and when he reads 90 

Tliy 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 tlie rest o' the selfsame day. 
He finds thee in the stout Norwej'an ranks. 
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, 
Stranjre imatres of death. As thick as hail 
Came post with post; and every one did bear 
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defence, 
And pour'd them down before him. 

A nrj. We are .sent loo 

To give thee from our royal master thanks ; 
Only to herald thee into his sight, 
Not pay thee. 



8 Macbeth [aci 1 

Ross. And, for an earnest of a greater honour. 
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor : 
In which addition, hail, most wortliy thane 1 
For it is thine. 

Ban. [Aside.] What, can the devil speak true ? 

Mach. The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you 
dress me 
In borrow'd robes ? 

Ang. Who was the thane, lives yet ; 

But under heavy judgment bears that life llG 

Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined 
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel 
With hidden help and vantage, or that with both 
He labour 'd in his country's wreck, I know not ; 
But treasons capital, confess 'd and proved. 
Have overthrown him. 

Mach. [Aside.] Glamis, and thane of Cawdor 1 

The greatest is behind. [To Ross and Angus.] 

Thanks for your pains. 
[To Ban.] 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 
In deepest consequence. 
Cousins, a word, I pray you. 

Mach. [Aside.] Two truths are told, 

As happy prologues to the swelling act 
Of the imperial theme. — I thank you, gentlemen. 



Scene III] Macbeth 9 

[Aft'id'.] This supernatural soliciting 130 

Cannot be ill, cannot be good : if ill, 

Why hatli it given me earnest of success. 

Commencing in a truth ? — I am thane of Cawdor. 

If good, why do I yield to that suggestion 

Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair 

And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, 

Against the use of nature ? Present fears 

Are less than horrible imaginings : 

My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, 

Shakes so my single state of man that function uo 

Is sraother'd in surmise, and nothing is 

But what is not. 

Ban. Look, how our partner 's rapt. 

Mach. [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 mould 
But with the aid of use. 

Mach. [J.si(f<?.] Come what come may, 

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. 

Ban. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure. 

Mach. Give me yowc favour : m}^ dull brain was 
wrought 
With tilings forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains 150 
Are register'd w^here every day I turn 
The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. 
Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time. 
The interim having weigh 'd it, let us speak 
Our free hearts each to other. 

Ban. Very gladly. 

Mach. Till then, enough. Come friends. [ExeunC 



10 Macbeth [Act I 

Scene IV. Forres. The palace. 

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, 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 tlie 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 
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 



Scene IV] Macbeth 11 

Are to your throne and state cliildren and servants, 
Whicli do but what they sliould, 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. 

B<in. 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, like 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 j^ou. 
I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful 
The hearing of my wife with your approach ; 
So humbly take my leave. 

Dan. My worthy Cawdor ! 

Mach. [Axide.'\ The Prince of Cumberland ! that is a 
step 
On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, 
For in my way it lie.s. Stars, hide your fires; 50 

Let not Ijp'ht see my black and deep desires : 



12 Macbeth [Act I 

The eye wink at the hand ; yet let that be, 

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see, [Exit 

Dun. 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 Y. Inverness. Macbeth's castle. 

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter. 

Lady M. They met me in the day of success : and I have learned by 
the perfectesfc 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 " Hail, king that shalt be !" This have 
I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that 
thou mightest rot lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what 
greatness is pro^jised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell. 10 

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 

The illness should attend it : what thou wouldst highly, 

That wouldst thou holily ; wouldst not play false. 

And yet wouldst wrongly win : thou 'Idst have, great 

Glamis, 
That which cries " Thus thou must do, if thou have 

it;" 
And that which rather thou dost fear to do 20 

Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither, 
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear ; 



Scene V] Macbeth 13 

And chastise with the valour of my tongue 
All that impedes thee from the golden round, 
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem 
To have thee crown'd withal. 

Enter a Messenger. 

What is your tidings ? 

Mess. The king comes here to-night. 

Lady M. Thou 'rt mad to say it : 

Is not thy mavster with him ? who, were 't so, 
Would have inform 'd for preparation. 30 

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 
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 ; 40 

Stop up the access and passage to remorse, - 
That no compunctious visitings of nature 
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between 
The effect and it ! Come to my woman's breasts, 
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers. 
Wherever in your sightless substances 
You wait on nature's mischief ! Come, thick night. 
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, 



14 Macbeth [Act I 

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, 

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark 50 

Tocry "Hold, hold!" 

Enter Macbeth. 

Great Glamis ! worthy Cawdor I 
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. 

Mitch. My dearest love, 

Duncan comes here to-night. 

Lady M. And when goes hence ? 

Macb. To-morrow, as he purposes. 

Lady M. 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, 60 

Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eye, 6 - 
Your hand, your tongue : look like the innocent flower, c 
But be the serpent under 't. He that's coming ^ 
Must be provided for : and you shall put t ^ 
This night's great business into my dispatch ;. 
Which shall to all our nights and days to come, c 
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom. 

Macb. We will speak further. 

Lady M. Only look up clear ; L ^^ 

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



Scene VI] Macbeth 16 

Scene VI. Before Macbeth's castle. 

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

Dun. This castle hath a pleasant 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 pendent bed and procreant cradle : 
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed. 
The air is delicate. 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

Dan. See, see, our honour'd hostess ! lo 

The love that follows us sometime is our trouble. 
Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you 
How you si)all 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 liim at the heels, and had a purpose 
To be his purveyor: but he rides well ; 
And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath liolp him 



16 Macbeth [Act I 

To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess. 
We are your guest to-niglit. 

Lady M. Your servants ever 

Have theirs, themselves and wliat 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. Corridor in Macbeth's castle. 

Hautboys and torches. Enter a Sewer, and divers Servants, 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 
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 
W^e still have judgment 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 



Scene VII] Macbeth 17 

So clear in his great office, that his virtues 

Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued against 

The deep damnation of his taking off; 20 

And pity, like a naked new-born babe. 

Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed 

Upon the siglitless 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'erieaps itself 

And falls on the other — 

Enter Lady Macbeth. 

How now ? what news ? 

Lady M. He has almost supp'd : wli}'- have j^ou left 
the chamber ? 

Mach. Hath he ask'd for me ? 

Lady M. Know you not lie has ? 30 

Mdch. We will proceed no further in tliis 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 wiiat it did so freely ? From tliis time 
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard 
To be the samo in thine own act and valour 40 

As tliou art in desire ? Wouldst thou have that 
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life. 
And live a coward in thine own esteem, 



18 Macbeth [Act I 

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 adliere, and yet you would make both 
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now 
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know 
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me : 
I would, while it was smiling in my face, 
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, 
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you 
Have done to this. 

Macb. If we should fail ? 

Lady M. We fail. 

But screw your courage to the sticking-place, 60 

And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep — 
Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey 
Soundly invite him — his two chamberlains 
Will I with wine and wassail so convince 
That memory, the warder of the brain. 
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason 
A limbeck only : when in swinish sleep 
Their drenched natures lie as in a death. 
What cannot you and I perform upon 
The unguarded Duncan ? what not put upon 70 



Scene I] Macbeth 19 

His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt 
Of our gi'eat quell ? 

Macb. Bring forth men-children only ; 

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

Lii.dy M. Who dares receive it other, 

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

Much. 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. 

[Exeunt. 

ACT TI 

Scene I. Court oj Macbeth's castle. 
Enter Banquo, and Fleance hearing a torch he/ore him. 

Ban. How goes the night, boy ? 

Fie. The moon is down ; I have not lieard 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 
heaven ; 
Their candles are all out. Take thee 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 rcDose ! 



30 Macbeth [Act II 

Bhder Macbeth and a Servant with a torch. 

Give me my sword. 
Who's there i 10 

Macb. 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 offices. 
This diamond he greets your wife withal. 
By the name of most kind hostess ; and shut up 
In measureless content, 

Mach. Being unprepared. 

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

Ban. All's well. 

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 business. 
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 ! 30 

[Exeunt Banquo and Fleance. 

Macb. Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, 

She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed. 

{Exit ServarU. 



Scene I] Macbeth 21 

Is this a dagger which I see before me, 

The handle toward my hand ? Come, let me clutch thee. 

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. 

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 

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 hair-world 

Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse 50 

The curtain'd sleep ; now witchcraft celebrates 

Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder, 

Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, 

"Whose howl 's his watch, 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 tlie heat of deeds too cool breath gives. 60 

[A hell r'uig.i. 

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. [ExU. 



22 Macbeth [Act II 

Scene IL 
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 tliat shriek'd, the fatal bellman, 
Wiiich gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it : 
The doors are open ; and the surfeited grooms 
Do mock their charge with snores : I have drugg'd 

their possets, 
That death and nature do contend about them. 
Whether they live or die. 

Macb. [ Within.l 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 noise ? 

Lady M. I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. 
Did not you speak ? 

Macb. When ? 

Lady M. Now. 

Macb. As I descended ? 

Lady M. Ay. 

Macb. Hark ! 
Who lies i' the second chamber ? 

Lady M. Donalbain. 20 



Scene 11] Macbeth 23 

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

Lady M. A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight. 

Macb. There's one did hiugh in 's sleep, and one 
cried " Murder ! " 
That they did wake each other : I stood and heard them : 
But they did say their prayers, and address'd them 
Again to sleep. 

Lady M. 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 sa}'' " 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 M. 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 M. What do you mean ? 40 

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

Lady M. Who was it that thus cried ? Why, 
worthy thane, 



24 Macbeth [Act II 

You do unbend your noble strength, to think 
So braiiisickly 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'll go no more : 50 

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

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 within.] Hark ! more 
knocking. 










Lady Macbeth. "Why did you bring these daggers from the place? 

They must lie there: go carry them, and smear 

The sleepy grooms with blood." 
IfacbeUi. "Ill go no more. 

! am afraid to think what I have done; 

Look on't again I dare not." 

■I rr Seen* II. 



Scene III] Macbeth 25 

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us, 70 

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost 
So poorly in your thoughts. 

Mtich. To know my deed, 'twere best not know 

myself. [Knocking within. 

Wake Duncan with thy knocking ! I would thou 

COuldst ! [Exeunt. 

Scene III. 
Knocking continued. Enter a Porter. 

Porter. Here's a knocking indeed ! If a man were 
porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key. 
[Knocl-ing.^ Knock, knock, knock ! Who's there, i' the 
name of Beelzebub ? Here's a farmer, that hang'd 
himself on the expectation of plenty: come in time; 
have napkins enow about you ; here you'll sweat for 't. 
[Knocking.'\ Knock, knock ! Who's there, in the other 
devil's name ? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could 
swear in both the scales against either scale ; who 
committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not 
equivocate to heaven : O, coine in, equivocator. [Knocking.] 
Knock, knock, knock ! Wlio's there ? Faith, here's 
an English tailor come hither, for stealincj out of a 
Frencli hose : come in, tailor ; here you may roast your 
goose. [Knocking.] Knock, knock ; never at quiet ! What 
are you ? But tliis place is too cold for hell. I'll devil- 
porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some 
of all professions that go the primrose way to the 
everlasting bonfire. [Knocking.] Anon, anon. I pray you, 
remember the porter. [Opena the gate. 



26 Macbeth [Act II 

Enter Macduff and Lennox. 

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

Port. 'Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second 
cock. 

Macd. Is thy master stirring ? 

Enter Macbeth. 

Our knocking has awaked him ; here he comes. 

Len. Good morrow, noble sir. 

Macb. Good morrow, both. 

Macd. Is the king stirring, worthy thane ? 

Mach. Not yet. 

Macd. He did command me to call timely on him: 
I have almost slipp'd the hour. 

Mach. I'll bring you to him. 30 

Macd. I know this is a joyful trouble to you; 
But yet 'tis one. 

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

Macd. I'll make so bold to call, 

For 'tis my limited service. {Exit. 

Len. Goes the king hence to-day ? 

Mach. He does : he did appoint so. 

Len. The night has been unruly : where we lay 
Our chimneys were blown down ; and, as they say 
Lamen tings heard i' the air ; strange screams of death, 
And prophesying with accents terrible 
Of dire combustion and confused events 40 

New hatch'd to the woeful time : the obscure bird 
Clamour 'd the livelong night : some say, the earth 
Was feverous and did shake. 



Scene III] Macbeth 27 

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 ! 

T ' I What's the matter ? 

Len. J 

Macd. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece 
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope 
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence 50 

The life o' the building ! 

Maxib. 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 ; 
See, and then speak yourselves, {Exeunt Macbeth and Lennox. 

Awake, awake ! 
Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason ! 
Banquo and Donalbain ! Malcolm ! awake ! 
Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit, 
And look on death itself ! up, up, and see 
The great doom's image ! Malcolm ! Banquo ! 60 

As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites, 
To countenance this horror! King 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 1 



28 Macbeth [Act 11 

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, 7c 

Our royal master's murder'd ! 

Lady M. 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, with Ross. 

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

Enter Malcolm and Donalbain. 

Don. What is amiss ? 80 

Macb. 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. O, by whom ? 

Len. Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done 't : 

Their hands and faces were all badged with blood ; 

So were their daggers, which unwiped we found 

Upon their pillows : 



Scene III] Macbeth 29 

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

Much. O, yet I do repent me of my fury, 90 

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 : who could refrain, 100 
That had a heart to love, and in that heart 
Courage to make 's love known ? 

Lady M. 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.] Nor our strong sorrow 
Upon the foot of motion. 

Ban. Look to the lady : 

[Lad;/ Macbeth is carried out. 

And when we have our naked frailties hid, 110 

That suffer in exposure, let us meet, 



30 Macbeth [Act II 

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 I. 

All. So all. 

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

All. Well contented. 

[Exeunt all hut Malcolm and Donalbain. 

Mai. What will you do ? Let's not consort with 
them : 
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office 120 

Which the false man does easy. I'll to England. 

Don. To Ireland, I ; our separated fortune 
Shall keep us both the safer : where we are. 
There's daggei's in men's smiles : the near in blood, 
The nearer bloody. 

Mai. This murderous shaft that's shot 

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way 
Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse ; 
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking. 
But shift away : there's warrant in that theft 
Which steals itself when there's no mercy left. 130 

[Edxunt. 

Scene IY. Outside Macbeth's castle. 
Enter Ross and an old Man. 

Old M. Threescore and ten I can remember well : 
Within the volume of which time I have seen 
Hours dreadful and things strange ; but this sore night 
Hath trifled former knowings. 



Scene IV] Macbeth 31 

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, 
Tliat darkness does the face of earth entomb, 
When living light should kiss it ? 

Old M. 'Tis unnatural, lo 

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 tiling most strange and 
certain — 
Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, 
Turn'd wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out. 
Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make 
War with mankind. 

Old M. 'Tis said they eat each other. 

jRoss. They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes. 
That look'd upon 't. Here comes the good Macduff. 

Enter Macduff. 

How goes the world, sir, now ? 20 

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. Tiiey we^e subom'd : 

Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's two sonr^. 
Are stol'n away and fled ; which puts upon tbem 
Suspicion of the deed. 



32 Macbeth [Act III 

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 Colmekill, 
The sacred storehouse of his predecessors. 
And guardian of their bones. 

Ross. Will you to Scone ? 

Macd. No, cousin, I'll to Fife. 

Ross. Well, I Mdll 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 ! 

[Exeunt. 

ACT III 

Scene I. Forres. The palace. 

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, 



Scene I] Macbeth 33 

May they not be my oracles as well, 

And set me up in hope ? But hush ! no more lo 

Sennet sounded. Enter Macbeth, as king, Lady Macbeth, as queen, 
Lennox, Eoss, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants. 

Mach. 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. 

Mach. To-night we hold a solemn supper, sir. 
And I'll request your presence. 

Ban. Let your highness 

Command upon me ; to the which my duties 
Are with a most indissoluble tie 
For ever knit. 

Mach. Ride you this afternoon ? 

Ban. Ay, my good lord. 20 

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

Ban. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 
'Twixt this and supper ; go not my horse the better, 
I mu.st become a borrower of the nijjht 
For a dark hour or twain. 

Mach. Fail not our feast. 

Ban. My lord, I will not. 

Mach. W^e 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 



34 Macbeth [Act III 

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. 

Mach. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot ; 
And so I do commend you to their backs. 

Farewell. lEodt Banquo. 

Let every man be master of his time 41 

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 A ttendant. 

Sirrah, a word with you : attend those men 
Our pleasure ? 

Atten. They are, my lord, without the palace gate. 

Mach. 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 dares : 
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. 



Scene I] Macbeth 35 

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 tiie utterance ! Who's there ? 

He-enter Attendant, with two Murderers. 

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

[Exit Attendant 

Was it not yesterday we spoke together ? 

First Mar. It was, so please your highness. 

Mach. 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, so 
How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the instru- 
ments, 
Who wrought with them, and all things else that might 
To half a soul and to a notion crazed 
Say " Thus did Banquo." 

First Mur. 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 9( 

And beggar'd yours for ever ? 



36 Macbeth [Act III 

First Mur. "We are men, my liege, 

Mach. 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 worst rank of manhood, say 't; 
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. Mur. I am one, my liege, 

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world 
Have so incensed that I am reckless what 110 

I do to spite the world. 

First Mur. And I another 

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

Mach. Both of you 

Know Banquo was your enemy 

Both Mur. True, my lord. 

Mach. 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 



Scene I] Macbeth 37 

With barefaced power sweep him from my sight 

And bid my will 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 sliall, my lord, 

Perform what you command us. 

First Mur. Though our lives — 

Mach. 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 
Tliat I require a clearness: and with him — 
To leave no rubs nor botches in tlte 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 tliat dark hout'. Resolve yourselves apart : 
I'll come to you anon. 

Both Mur. We are resolved, my lord. 

Mach. I'll call upon you straight : abide within. itO 

[Exeunt Murderers. 

It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, 

If it find heaven, must find it out to-night. [Exit. 



38 Macbeth [Act III 

Scene II. The palace. 
Enter Lady Macbeth and a Servant. 

Lady M. Is Banquo gone from court ? 

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

Lady M. Say to tlie king I would attend his leisure 
For a few words. 

Serv. Madam, I will. [JSa»«. 

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, 

Using those thoughts which should indeed have died lO 

With them they think on ? Things without all remedy 

Should be without regard : what's done is done 

Macb. We have scotch'd the snake ; not kill'd it : 
She'll 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 

suffer, 
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, 20 

Than on the torture of the mind to lie 
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave ; 
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well ; 
Treason has done his worst : nor steel, nor poison, 



Scene II] Macbeth 39 

Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, 
Can toucli him further. 

Lady M. Come on ; 

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

Mach. 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 vizards to our hearts, 
Disguising what they are. 

Lady M. You must leave this. 

Mach. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife ! 
Thou know'st that Banfjuo, and his Flcance, lives. 

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

Mach. There's comfort yet ; they are assailable ; 
Then be thou jocund : ere the bat hath flown 40 

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

Lady M. What's to be done ? 

Mach. 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 tiiat great })ond 
Wliich keeps me pale! Light thickens; and the crow 50 
Makt'S wing to the rooky wood: 
Good tilings of day begin to droop and drowse; 
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 



40 Macbeth [Act III 

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 Mur. Then stand with us. 

The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day : 
Now spurs the lated traveller 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 light there, ho ! 

Sec. Mur. Then 'tis he : the rest 

That are within the note of expectation 10 

Already are i' the court. 

First Mur. His horses go about. 

Third Mur. Almost a mile : but he does usually, 
So all men do, from hence to the palace gate 
Make it their walk. 

Sec. Mur. A light, a light ! 

Enter Banquo, and Flkance with a torch. 

Third Mur. 'Tis he. 

First Mur. Stand to 't. 

Ban. It will be rain to-night. 

First Mur. Let it come down. 

[They set upon Banatio. 



Scene IV] Macbeth 41 

Ban. O, treachery ! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly ! 

Thou mayst revenge. O slave ! [Dies. Fleance escapes. 

Third Mur. Who did strike out tlie light ? 

First Mur. Was 't not the way ? 

Third Mur. There's but one down ; the son is fled. 20 

Sec. Mur. We have lost 
Best half of our affair. 

First Mar. Well, let's away, and say how much is 
done. 

[Exeunt. 
Scene IY. The same. Hall in the palace. 

A banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, 
Lennox, Lords and Attendauta. 

Mach. You know your own degrees ; sit down : at first 
A.nd last the hearty welcome. 

Lords. Thanks to your majesty. 

Mach. 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. 

First Murderer appears at the door. 

Mach. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' 
thanks. 
Both sides are even : here I'll sit i' the midst : 10 

Be large in mirth ; anon we'll 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 deepatch'd \ 



42 Macbeth [Act III 

Mur. My 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. Most royal sir, 

Fleance is 'scaped. 20 

Macb. Then comes my fit again : I had else been 
perfect. 
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock. 
As broad and general as the casing air : 
But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confinea, bound in 
To saucy doubts and fears. But Banquo 's safe ? 

Mnr. 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 : 

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'll hear ourselves again. [Exit Murderers. 

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 ! 

Len. May 't please your highness sit ? 

[The Ghost of Banquo enters, and sits in Macbeth' s place. 




Lennox. "Here is a place reserved, Sir," 

Macbeth. "Where?" 

Lermox. "Here, my good lord. What f$'t that 



Scene IV] Macbeth 43 

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

Were tlie graced person of our Banquo present, 
Who may I rather challenge for uukindness 
Than pity for mischance, — 

Ross. His absence, sir. 

Lays blame upon his promise. Please 't your highness 
To grace us with your royal company ? 

Macb. The table's full. 

Len. Here is a place reserved, sir. 

Macb. Where ? 

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

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. 

Lady M. 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 mm. 
You shall offend him and extend his passion : 
Feed, and regard him not. [Aside to Macbeth.] Are you 
a man ? 

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

Lady M. [Amle to Macbeth.] O proper stuff! 60 

This is the very painting of your fear : 
This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, 
lied you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts. 
Impostors to true fear, would well become 



44 Macbeth [Act III 

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 
you ? 
Why, what care I ? If thou canst nod, speak too. 70 

If charnel-houses and our graves must send 
Those that we bury back, our monuments 

Shall be the maws of kites. [Ghost vanishes. 

Lady M. [Aside to Macbeth] What, quite unmann'd in 
folly? 

Mach. If I stand here I saw him. 

Lady M. [Aside to Macbeth.] Fie, for shame ! 

Mach. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden 
time, 
Ere human statute purged the gentle weal : 
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform 'd 
Too terrible for the ear : the 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. 

Mach. I do forget. 

Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends ; 
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing 
To those that know me. Come, love and health to 

all; 
Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine ; fill full. 



Scene IV] Macbeth 45 

I drink to tlie general joy o' the ^vllole table, 

And to our dear friend Ban quo, whom 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. 

Mach. Avaunt ! and quit my sight ! let the earth 
hide thee ! 
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold ; 
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes 
AVliich thou dost glare with ! 

Lady M. Think of this, good peers, 

But as a thing of custom : 'tis no other ; 
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time. 

Mach. What man dare, I dare : 
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, 100 

The arm'd rliinoceros, or tlie 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 ! [Ghost vanishes. 

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

Lady M. You have displaced the mirtli, l)roke the 
good meeting. 
With most admired disorder. 

Mach. 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, 



46 Macbeth [Act III 

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 ? 

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

Len. Good night ; and better health 120 

Attend his majesty ! 

Lady M. A kind good night to all ! 

[Exeunt all hut Macbeth and Lady Macbeth}. 

Macb. It will have blood; they say, blood will have 
blood : 
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak ; 
Augurs and understood relations have 
By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth 
The secret 'st man of blood. What is the night ? 

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

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

Lady M. 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 will to-morrow, 
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters : 
More shall they speak ; for now I am bent to know. 
By the worse means, the worst. For mine own good, 
All causes shall gi\*e way : I am in blood 



Scene V] Macbeth 47 

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. i40 

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

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

Scene Y. A heath. 
Thunder. Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecatb. 

First Witch. Why, how now, Hecate ! you look 
angerly. 

Hec. Have I not reason, beldams as you are. 
Saucy and overbold ? How did you dare 
To trade and traffic with Macbeth 
In riddles and affairs of death ; 
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 10 

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 charma and every thing beside. 



48 Macbeth [Act III 

I am for the air ; this night I'll 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'll catch it ere it come to ground : 

And that distill'd by magic sleights 

Shall raise such artificial sprites 

As by the strength of their illusion 

Shall draw him on to his confusion : 

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear 30 

His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace and fear : 

And you all know, security 

Is mortals' chiefest enemy. 

[Music, and a song within : " Come away, come away," etc. 

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. 

Len. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts. 
Which can interpret further : only, I say. 
Things have been strangely borne. The gracious 

Duncan 
Was pitied of Macbeth : marry, he was dead : 
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 



Scene VI] Macbeth 49 

To kill their gracious father ? damned fact ! 10 

How it did grieve Macbeth ! did he not straight 

In pious rage the two delinquents tear, 

That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep ? 

Was not that nobly done ? Ay, and wisely too ; 

For 't would 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 

find 
What 'twere to kill a fatlier ; so should Fleance. 20 

But, peace ! for from broad words and 'cause he fail'd 
His presence at the t3'rant's feast, I hear 
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 tlie 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 honouro : 
All which we pine for now : and this report 
Hath so exasperate the king that he 
Prepares for some attempt of war. 



50 Macbeth [Act IV 

Len. Sent he to Macduff^ 

Lord. He did : and with an absolute " Sir, not I," 4C 
The cloudy messenger turns me his back, 
And hums, as who should say, " You'll rue the time 
That clogs me with this answer." 

Len. 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'll send my prayers with him. [Exeuru. 

ACT IV 
Scene I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. 

Thunder. Enter the three Witches 

Fi/rst 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 ; 10 

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, 



Scene I] Macbeth 61 

Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, 
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
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. 
Liver of blaspheming Jew, 
Gall of goat, and slips of yev/' 
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse. 
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips, 

Finger of birth-strangled babe ; 30 

Make the gruel thick and slab : 
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron. 
For the ingredients of our cauldron. 

All. 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. 

BrUer Hkoate to the other three Witches. 

Hec. O, well done ! I commend your pains ; 
And every one shall share i' the gains ; 
And now about the cauldron sing, 40 

Like elves and fairies in a ring, 
Enchanting all that you put in. 

[Mutic and a aong : " Black spirit*," etc. Hecate relirei. 



52 Macbeth [Act IV 

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 ? 

All. A deed without a name. 

Mach. I conjure you, by that which you profess, 
Howe'er you come to know it, answer me : 50 

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 
To what I ask you. 60 

First Witch. Speak. 

Sec. Witch. Demand. 

Third Witch. We'll answer. 

First Witch. Say, if thou 'dst rather hear it from 
our mouths, 
Or from our masters' ? 

Mach. 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. 



Scene I] Macbeth 53 

All. Come, high or low ; 

Thyself and office deftly show ! 

Tliunder. First Apparition : an armed Head. 

Much. Tell me, thou unknown power, — 

First Witch. He knows thy thought : 

Hear his speech, but say thou nought. 

First App. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! ]\Iacbeth ! beware 
Macduff; 70 

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough. 

[Descends. 
Mach. 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 
Shall harm Macbeth. [Descends. 80 

Mach. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee ? 
But yet I'll make assurance double sui'e. 
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. Tliird Apparition : a Child croumed, with a tree in his hand. 

What is this 
That rises like the issue of a king, 



54 Macbeth [Act IV 

And wears upon his baby-brow the round 
And top of sovereignty ? 

All Listen, but speak not to 't. 

Tliird App. Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no 
care 
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are : 90 

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until 
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill 
Shall come against him. [Descends. 

Macb. 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 
Throbs to know one thing : tell me, if your art 100 

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 ? 

[HaiUboya. 
First Witch. Show! 

Sec. Witch. Show! 

Third Witch. Show ! 

All. Show his eyes, and grieve his heart ; 

Come like shadows, so depart ! 110 

A show of Eight Kings, the last with a glass in his hand; Banquo's 
Ghost following. 

Macb. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo ; down ! 
Thy crown does sear mine eye-balls. And thy hair. 




Macbeth. "Filthy hags! why do you show me this? 

Horrible sight! — Ay, now I see 'tis true; 

For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me. 

And points at them for his." 

Act IV. Scene I. 



Scene I] Macbeth 55 

Thou otlier gold-bound brow, is like the first. 
A third is like the former, Filtliy hags ! 
Why do you show me this ? A fourth ! Start, eyes ! 
Wiiat, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom ? 
Another yet ! A seventh ! I'll see no more : 
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass 
Wiiich shows me many more ; and some I see 
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry : 120 

Horrible sight ! Now, I see, 'tis true ; 
For the blood-bolter'd Banquo smiles upon me, 
And points at them for his. [Apparitions vanish.] What, is 
this so ? 
First Witch. Ay, sir, all this is so ; but why 
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly ? 
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, 
And show the best of our delights : 
I'll charm the air to give a sound, 
While you perform your antic round : 
That this great king may kindly say, 130 

Our duties did his welcome pay. 

[Munc. The Witches dance, and then vanish, with Hecate. 

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

Enter Lennox. 

Len. What's your grace's will ^ 

Much. Saw you the weird sisters ? 

Len. No, my lord. 

Much. Came they not by you ? 

Len. No, indeed, my lord. 



56 Macbeth [Act IV 

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 ? 

Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word 
Macduff is fled to England. 140 

Mach. Fled to England ! 

Len. Ay, my good lord. 

Macb. Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits : 
The flighty purpose never is o'er took 
Unless the deed go with it : from this moment 
The very firstlings of my heart shall be 
The firstlings of my hand. And even now, 
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done : 
The castle of Macduff I will surprise ; 
Seize upon Fife ; give to the edge o' the sword 150 

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls 
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool ; 
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool. 
But no more sights ! — Where are these gentlemen ? 
Come, bring me where they are. [Ehceunt. 

ScENK II. Fife. Macduff's castle. 
Enter Lady Macduff, her Son ayid 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. 



Scene II] Macbeth 67 

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. My 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 further ; 
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'll 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 
lime. 
The pitfall nor the gin. 



58 Macbeth [Act IV 

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 
marliet. 40 

Son. Then you'll 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. What 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 hang'd. 50 

Son. And must they all be hang'd 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 ? 59 

Son. If he were dead, you 'Id weep for him : if you 
would not, it were a good sign that I should q\iickly have 
a new father. 

L. Macd. Poor prattler, how thou talk'st ! 



Scene II] Macbeth 69 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. Bless 3'ou, fair dame ! I am not to you known, 
Tliou(,'li in 3'our state of honour I am perfect. 
f doubt some danger does approacli you nearly : 
If you will take a homely man's advice, 
Be not found here ; hence, with 3'our 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 you ! 
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 
]s often laudable; to do good sometime 
Accounted dangerous folly : wliy then, alas ! 
Do I put up that womanly defence. 
To say I have done no harm ? 

Enter Murderers. 

What are these faces ? 
First Mur. Where is your husband ? 
Z. Macd. I hope, in no place so unsanctified 80 

Where such as thou mayst find him. 

First Mur. He 's a traitor. 

Son. Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain ! 

First Mur. What, you egg ! 

[Stabbing him. 
Young fry of treachery ! 

Son. He has kill'd me, mother: 

liua away, I pray you ! [Dies. 

[Exit Lady Macduff, crying " Munler ! " Exeunt Murderers follovoing heir. 



60 Macbeth [Act IV 

Scene III. England. Before the King's palace. 
Enter Malcolm and Macduw. 

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 like 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, 

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

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 some- 
thing 
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom 
To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb 
To appease an angry god. 

Macd. I am not treacherous. 

Mai. But Macbeth is. 

A good and virtuous nature may recoil 
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon ; 20 
That which you are my thoughts cannot transpose : 
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell : 
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace^ 
Yet grace must still look so. 

Macd. I have lost my hopes. 



Scene III] Macbeth $1 

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 own safeties. You may be rightly just, 30 

Whatever I shall think. 

j\facd. Bleed, bleed, poor country ! 

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

wrongs ; 
The title is afFeer'd ! Fare thee well, lord : 
I would not be the villain that thou think'st 
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp, 
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 withal 
There would be hands uplifted in my right; 
And here from gracious England have I offer 
Of goodly thousands : but, for all this, 
When I shall tread upon the tyrant's head, 
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 whom I know 50 

All the particulars of vice so grafted 



62 Macbeth [Act IV 

That, when they shall be openVl, 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 ; better Macbeth 
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 
Convey your pleasures in a spacious plenjj'-. 
And yet seem cold, the time you may so hoodwink. 

Mai. With this there grows 

In my most ill-compos'd affection such 70 

A stanchless avarice that, were I king, 
I should cut off the nobles for their lands, 
Desire his jewels and this other's house : 
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 



Scene III] Macbeth 63 

The sword of our slain kings : 3'et do not fear', 80 

Scotland hath foisons to fill up }our will, 
Of your mere own : all these are portable, 
With other p-races weio'h'd. 

Mai. But I have none : the king-becoming graces, 
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness, 
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 90 
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, 
Uproar the universal peace, confound 
All unity on earth. 

Maccl. Scotland, Scotland ! 

Mai. If such an 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 accurs'd, lOO 

And does blaspheme his breed ? Thy royal father 
Was a most sainted king : the queen that bore thee, 
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet. 
Died every day she lived. — Fare thee well ! 
These evils thou repeat'st upon thyself 
Have banish'd me from Scotland, O my breast, 
Thy hope ends here ! 

Mai. MacduflT, this noble passion. 

Child of integrity, hath from my soul 



64 Macbeth [Act IV 

Wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts 
To thy good truth and honour. Devilish Macbeth i lo 
By many of these trains hath sought to win me 
Into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me 
From over-credulous haste : but God above 
Deal between thee and me ! for even now 
I put myself to thy direction, and 
Unspeak mine own detraction ; here abjure 
The taints and blames I laid upon mj'self, 
For strangers to my nature. I am yet 
Unknown to woman, never was forsworn, 
Scarcely have coveted what was mine own, 120 

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, 
Is thine and my poor country's to command : 
Whither indeed, before thy here-approach. 
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men. 
Already at a point, was setting forth. 
Now we'll together ; and the chance of goodness 129 

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 ? 
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. 



Scene III] Macbeth 65 

J£al. 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, 140 

I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven. 
Himself best knows : but strangely-visited people, 
All swoll'n and ulcei'ous, pitiful to the eye, 
The mere despair of surgery, he cures, 
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks. 
Put on with holy prayers : and 'tis spoken, 
To tlie 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, 150 

That speak him full of grace. 

Enter Ross. 

Macd. See, who comes here ? 

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

Macd. My 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 ! 

ALlraost afraid to know itself. It cannot i60 

Be call d out mother bu our grave: where nothing, 
But who knows nothing, 'f on»''e seen to smile; 
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air 
Are made, not mark'd ; where violent sorrow seems 
A modern ecstasy : the dead man's knell 
Is there scarce ask'd for who : ^nd good men s Hves 



66 Macbeth [Act IV 

Expire before the flowers in their caps, 
Dying or ere they sicken. 

Macd. O, relation 

Too nice, and yet too true ! 169 

3fal. 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, 
Which I have heavily borne, there ran a rumour iso 

Of many worthy fellows that were out ; 
Which was to my belief witness'd the rather. 
For that I saw the tyrant's power a-f oot : 
Now is the time of help ; your eye in Scotland 
Would create soldiers, make our women light, 
To dofi their dire distresses. 

Mai. Be 't their comfort 

We are coming thither : gracious England hath 
Lent us good Siward and ten thousand men ; 
An older and a better soldier none 190 

That Christendom gives out. 

Ross. Would I could answer 

Thi? comfort with the like ! But I have words 
That would be howl'd out in the desert air, 



Scene ill] Macbeth 67 

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 
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 raurder'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 tlie o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. 210 

Macd. My children too ? 

Ross. Wife, children, servants, all 

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



68 Macbeth [Act IV 

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 were 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. 0, I could play the woman with mine eyes 230 
And braggart with my tongue ! But, gentle heavens. 
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 : 
The night is long that never finds the day [Exeunt. 240 



Scene I] Macbeth 69 

ACT V 

Scene I. Dunsinane. Ante-i'oom in the castle. 
Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewomau. 

Doct. I have two nights watch'd with you, but can 
perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last 
walk'd ? 

Gent. Since his majesty went into the field, I have 
seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown 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 
once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching ! 
In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other 
actual performances, what, at any time, have j^ou heard 
her say ? 13 

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

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

Gent. Neither to you nor any one ; having no witness 
to confirm my speech. 

Enter Lady Macbeth, with a taper. 

Lo you, here she comes ! This is her very guise ; and, 
upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her ; stand close. 

Doct. How came she by that light ? 

Gent. Why, it stood by her; she has light by her 
continually ; 'tis her command. 2? 

Doct. You see, her eyes are open. 

Gent. Ay, but their sense is shut. 

Doct. What is it she does now ? Look, how she rubs 
her hands. 



70 Macbeth [Act V 

Gent. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem 
thus washing her hands : I have known her continue in 
this a quarter of an hour. 30 

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. 

Lady M. 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 call our power to account ? — 
Yet who would have thought the old man to have had 
so much blood in him. 

Doct. Do you mark that ? 40 

Lady M. 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 sure 
of that : heaven knows what she has known. 

Lady M. Here's the smell of the blood still : all the 
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. 
Oh . . oh . . oh ! 50 

Doct. What a sigh is there ! The heart is sorely 
charged. 

Gent. I would not have such a heart in my bosom 
for the dignity of the whole body. 

Doct. Well, well, well,— 

Gent. Pray God it be, sir. 

Doct. This disease is beyond my practice : yet I have 
known those which have walk'd in their sleep, who have 
died holily in their beds. 



Scene II] Macbeth 71 

Lady M. Wash your hands, put ou your nightgown ; 
look not so pale. — I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried ; 
he cannot come out on 's grave. 61 

Doct. Even so ? 

Lady M. To bed, to bed ! there's knocking at the 
gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. 
What's done cannot be undone. — To bed, to bed, to 
bed ! [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 : 70 

More needs she the divine than the physician. 
God, God forgive us all ! Look after her ; 
Remove from her the means of all annoyance, 
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night : 
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight. 
I think, but dare not speak. 

Gent Good night, good doctor. {Exeunt. 

Scene II. The country near Dunsinane. 

Drum and colours. Enter Mknteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, 
and Soliliers. 

Ment. The English power is near, led on by Malcolm, 
His uncle Si ward and the good Macduff: 
Revenges burn in them ; for their dear causes 
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm 
Excite the mortified man. 

Aug. Near Birnam wood 

Shall we well meet them ; that way are they coming. 



72 Macbeth [Act V 

Caith. Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother ? 

Len. For certain, sir, he is not : I have a file 
Of all the gentry : there is Siward's son, 
And many unrough youths that even now 10 

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. 

Ang. 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 pestered 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. 

Leii. Or so much as it needs. 

To dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds. SO 
Make we our march towards Birnam. [Exeunt, marching. 



Scene III] Macbeth 73 

Scene III. Dunsinane. A room in the castle. 
Enter Macbeth, Doctor, and Attendants. 

Mach. Bring me no more reports ; let them fl}' all", 
Till Birnam wood i-emove 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 fl}', false thanes, 
And mingle with the English epicures: 
The mind I sway by and the heart I bear 
Shall never sag wnith doubt nor shake wdth fear. 10 

Enter a Servant. 

The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon ! 
Where got'st thou that goose look ? 

Serv. There is ten thousand — 

Mach. Geese, villain ? 

Serv. Soldiers, sir. 

Mach. Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, 
Thou lily-liver'd boy. What soldiers, patch ? 
Death of thy soul ! those linen cheeks of thine 
Are counsellors to fear. Wliat soldiers, wdiey-face ? 

Serv. The English force, so please you. 

Mach. 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 disease me now. 
I have lived long enough : my way of life 
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf ; 
And that which should accompany old age, 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 



74 Macbeth [Act V 

I must not look to have ; but, in their stead, 
Curses, not loud but deep, inouth-honour, breath, 
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. 
Seyton i 

Enter Skyton. 

Sey. What is your gracious pleasure ? 

Mach. What news more ? 30 

Sey. All is confirm'd, my lord, which was reported. 

Mach. I'll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack'd. 
Give me my armour. 

Sey. 'Tis not needed yet. 

Mach. I'll put it on. 
Send out more horses ; skirr the country round ; 
Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armour. 
How does your patient, doctor ? 

Doct. Not so sick, my lord, 

As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies. 
That keep her from her rest. 

Mach. 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 stufl'd bosom of that perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart ? 

Doct. Therein the patient 

Must minister to himself. 

Mach. Throw physic to the dogs ; I'll none of it. 
Come, put mine armour on ; give me my staff'. 
Seyton, send out. Doctor, the thanes fly from me. 
Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast 50 

The water of my land, find her disease. 



i 
Scene IV] Macbeth 75 

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 ? Hearst thou of them ? 

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

Mach. Bring it after me. 

I will not be afraid of death and bane. 
Till Birnam forest cotne to Dunsiiiane. 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 Stward a7id his Son, Mac- 
duff, Mentkith, 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. 

Siiv. 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. 

M<d. 'Tis his main hope: lO 

For where there is advantage to be gain'd, 
Both more and less have given him the revolt, 



Macbeth [Act V 

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. 

Siiv. 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 must arbitrate : 20 

Towards which advance the war. {Exeunt, marching. 

Scene Y. Dunsinane. Within the castle. 
Enter Macbeth, Seyton, and Soldiers, ivith drum, and colours. 

Mach. 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 women within. 

What is that noise ? 

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, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, 
Cannot once start me. 



Scene V] Macbeth 77 

Re-enter Sktton. 

Wherefore was that cry ? 

Sey. The Queen, my lord, is dead. 

Mach. She should have died hereafter ; 
There would have been a time for sucli a word. 
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day 2C 

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 com'st to use thy tongue ; thy story quickly. 

Mess. Gracious my lord, 30 

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

Mach. 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. 

Mach. 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. 



78 Macbeth [Aci V 

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 aweary of the sun. 

And wish the estate o' the world were now undone. 50 

Ring the alarum-bell ! Blow, wind ! come, wrack ! 

At least we'll die with harness on our back. [Exeunt. 

Scene YI. Dunsinane. Before the castle. 

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

Mai. Now near enough; your leafy screens throw 
down. 
And show like those you are. You, worthy uncle, 
Shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, 
Lead our first battle : worthy Macduff and we 
Shall take upon 's what else remains to do. 
According to our order. 

Siw. 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. 10 

[Exeunt. 



Scene VII] Macbeth 79 

SCENE VII. AnotJver 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 SrwARD. 

Yo. Siw. What is thy name ? 
Macb. Thou 'It be afraid to hear it. 
Yo. Siiv. No; though thou call'st thyself a hotter 
name 
Than any is in hell. 

Macb. My name's Macbeth. 

Yo. Siw. The devil himself could not pronounce a 
title 
More hateful to mine ear. 

Macb. No, nor more fearful. 

Yo. Siw. Thou liest, abhorred tyrant ; with my 
sword 10 

111 prove the lie thou speak'st. 

[They JigM and young Siward 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 bom. [Exit. 

Alarums. Enter Macduff. 

Macd. That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy 
face ! 
If thou be'st slain and witli no stroke of mine, 
My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still. 
I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms 



80 Macbeth [Act V 

Are hired to bear their staves : either thou, Macbeth, 

Or else my sword with an unbatter'd edge 

I sheathe again undeeded. There thou should'st be ; 20 

By this great clatter, one of greatest note 

Seems bruited. Let me find him, fortune ! 

And more I beg not. [Exit. Alarums. 

Enter Malcolm and old Siward. 

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, Alarums. 

Scene VIII. Another part of the field. 

Enter Macbeth. 

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

Enter Macduff. 

Macd. Turn, hell-hound, turn ! 

Mach. 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 : 

My voice is in my sword : thou bloodier villain 
Than terms can give thee out ! [They fight. 

Mach. Thou losest labour : 

As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air 



Scene VIII] Macbeth 81 

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 serv'd 
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb 
Untimely ripp'd. 

Macb. Accursed be that tongue tliat 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'll not fight with thee. 

Macd. Then yield thee, coward, 
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time : 
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are. 
Painted 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, 

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 liim that first cries " Hold, enough ! " 

[Exeunt, fightinij. Alarums. 

Retreat. Flourish. Enter, with drum, and colours, Malcolm, old 
SiWARD, I^ss, the other Thanes and Soldiers. 

Mai. I would the friends we miss were safe arrived. 
Siw. Some must go off: and yet, by these I see, 
So great a day as this is cheaply bought. 



82 Macbeth [Act V 

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. 

Siw. Had he his hurts before ? 

Ross. Ay, on the front. 

Siw. Why then, God's soldier be he ! 

Had I as many sons as I have hairs, 
I w^ould not wish them to a fairer death : 
And so, his knell is knoll'd. 

Mai. He's worth more sorrow, 50 

And that I'll spend for him. 

Siw. He's worth no more : 

They say he parted well, and paid liis score : 
And so, God be with him ! Here comes newer comfort. 

Re-enter Macduff, and Soldiers bearing Macbeth's 
head on a spear. 

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. [Flourish. 



Scene VIII] Macbeth 83 

Mai. We shall not spend a large expense of time 60 
Before we reckon with your several loves, 
And makes us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, 
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland 
In such an honour named. What's more to do, 
Which would be planted newly with the time. 
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. iJxtuul. 



NOTES. 



Act I. — Scene I. 

In the opening scene of the phxy of Macbeth, the curtain 
rises upon a desert place, with thunder and Hghtning. Then 
enter three witches. To many people of Shakespeare's time, 
witches were very real, and we may be sure that the whole 
attention of the audience was at once given to the play. 
Imagine, as you read the scene, the dress and expression of 
face of these malignant creatures, their uncanny movements, 
gestures, and tones of voice, accompanied as they were by 
thimder and lightning, and you may form some idea of how 
their appearance might affect superstitious people. 

Tliey do not say very much, but we learn from their broken 
sentences^^that somewhere a battle is in progressjJaiid[_that 
when the battle is over they are going to meet witn Macbeth^/ 
who is evidently a personage of some importance in their eyes. 

A\1iat can such a meeting forebode for him ? These witches 
are not creatures of good omen, for we know that their 
associates are cats, toads, and other repulsive creatures ; and 
they tell us that what is fair and good to other people is 
foul and evil to them, and they "Hover through the fog and 
Slthy air." 

This scene serves then three purposes in the play : 

(a) It attracts and holds the attention of the audience. 
(6) It tells of the battle and speaks of Macbeth, 
(c) It gives us some idea of the mood of the play — human 
struggle against the power of evil. 

3. hurlyburly. Noise and confusion of battle. 

6. heath. A bare waste tract of land. 

8. Graymalkin. The name of a cat. 

P. Paddock. A toad. 

10. Anon. I'll come at once. 

86 



86 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT I. 

Questions. 

1. What do we learn as to the character of the witches in 
this scene ? 

2. "The opening scene in a play of Shakespeare generally 
gives the audience a, sviggestion as to the character of the play 
as a whole." Show that this statement is true of the first 
scene in Macbeth, 

Scene II. 

At the opening of Scene II. we meet with Duncan, King of 
Scotland, his two sons, and attendants, who are in a soldiers' 
camp near the town of Forres. In the course of the conver- 
sation which follows, we learn that two battles have taken 
place, in which Macbeth has shown great personal com-age. 
He has not only slain the rebel Macdonwald, but has forced the 
Norwegian king to make humiliating terms. Duncan, on the 
other hand, although a mild and benevolent man, is a very 
weak king. His place should have been at the head of his 
army ; but he is no soldier, and he is content to leave the 
defence of his kingdom in the hands of Macbeth and Banquo. 
Which of these two men, Duncan or Macbeth, is best fitted to 
be king in these troubled times ? 

1-3. Judging by his condition he can give the latest news of 
the rebellion. 

8. spent. Exhausted. 

9. choke their art. Prevent each other from making use of 
their art of swimming. 

10. to that. To that end ; to make him a rebel. 

11. villanies. Evil qualities. 

12. the western isles. Small islands to the west of Scotland. 

13. of. With, kerns. Light armed soldiers, 
gallowglasses. Heavy armed soldiers. 

17. smoked. Steamed. 

18. minion. Favourite. 

19. slave. Here used in contempt. 

20. Which. In older English which was frequently used to 
refer to persons, where we should now use who. 



SCENE II.] NOTES ON MACBETH 87 

It makes little difference whether we consider he (Macbeth) 
or the slave (Macdoiiwald) as the antecedent. In the former 
case the meaning is '^lacbeth did not take leave of Macdonwald 
until he killed him;' in the latter case the meaning is 
'Macdonwald did not have a chance to take leave of Macbeth 
before he was killed.* 

shook hands. In taking his leave. 

21. from the nave to the chaps. From the navel to the jaws. 

23. cousin. [Macbeth and Duncan were first cousins. 

24. whence the sun 'gins his reflection. From the east. 

Tlie sun rises in the east, but storms also come from the east; 
so from the same soui'ce from which you have received the 
good news of Macdonwald's defeat there also comes the bad 
news of the Norwegian king's invasion. 

30. Norweyan. Norwegian. 

surveying vantage. Seeing an opportunity to attack us. 
vantage. Advantage. 

31. furbished. Bright, polished. 

S^. Yes. Ironical, as the following line shows. 

35. sooth. Truth. 

36. cracks. Literally, reports. Here, the charges to which 
the ' cracks ' are due. 

39. memorize another Golgotha. ^lake this battlefield as famous 
as Golgotha. 

Golgotha. Literally, a place of a skull. (Matthew, xxvii, .3.3.) 

40. His sentence is unfinished. 

44. thane. In Anglo-Saxon times, a nobleman of almost the 
same rank as an earl. 

48-9. The Norwegian banners have been captured by the 
Scottish army. As they flcip gaily in the breeze they help to 
cool our soldiers off after the fight. 

flout the sky. Flap mockingly in the face of the sky. 

49. Norway, The Norwegian king. 

53. Bellona's bridegroom. Bellona was a Roman goddess of 
war. It is high praise of Macbeth to speak of him as Bellond'a 
bindegroam. 



88 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT L 

lapped in proof. Clad in armour. 

54. Made him compare himself with Macbeth. 

55. Point ag'ainst point. Sword against sword. 

56. lavish. Insolent, over-confident. 

57. That. So that. 

58. craves composition. Begs for terms of peace. 

60. Saint Colme's inch. The island of St. Colmnba in the 
Firth of Forth. 

inch. Celtic for island. 

63. Our bosom interest. The interests that we have most at 
heart. 

Questions. 

1. In this scene what impression does the audience get of 
Malcolm, Duncan, and Macbeth, respectively ? 

2. "WTiat is the object of the dramatist in introducing two 
different battles into this scene ? 

3. What light does this scene throw upon the condition of 
Scotland under the rule of Duncan ? 

Scene III. 

In scene III. the witches, or "weird sisters," meet with 
Macbeth and Banquo on the heath near Forres. They greet 
Macbeth as thane of Glamis and thane of Cawdor, and 
prophesy that he shall be king hereafter. When Macbeth 
hears this prophecy he starts ; for, since he has saved the 
kingdom, he has no doubt been thinking about the chance of 
his some day becoming king ; but when he tries to question 
the weird sisters further, they vanish. Banquo, on the other 
hand, does not trust the prophecies of the weird sisters, and 
looks upon the witches as "instruments of darkness" who 
have been sent to tempt him. Shortly after this, Macbeth 
learns that he has been made thane of Cawdor, and this 
encourages him to think that perhaps the third prophecy may 
yet come true also ; and with the thought of becoming king 
comes the thought of murdering Duncan so as to make the 
prophecy come true. Bvit he recoils from this, and decides to 
let things take their coui'se. He has not, however, finally 
given up all thought of taking some action to help to fulfil tha 



SCENE III.] NOTES OS MACBETH 89 

prophecy, for he proposes to Banquo that they think over the 
matter and discuss it together at some future time. 

G. Aroint thee. Away with you. The expression is said to be 
derived from ?-^?if ^//ee, a Cheshire phrase, meaning "Get out 
of the way." 

rump-fed. Fed on the best joints ; hence, fat and pampered. 

ronyon. A term of contempt. 

7. Aleppo. In Asia Minor. 

The Tiger. Tlie name of a vessel. 

8. in a sieve. "Witches were supposed to have the power of 

sailing in a sieve. 

9. without a tail. According to popular belief, witches might 
take the form of any animal they pleased, but the animal was 
always without a tail. 

10. I'll do. The witch threatens to gnaw a hole in the vessel. 

15. I can make them blow to any port I wish. 

16-7. All the directions (quarters) from which the winds 
come, as maiked on the sailors' charts. 

the shipman's card. Either the sailor's chart, or the card in 
the mariner's compass upon which the directions are marked. 

18. drain him. Drain the blood from his body. 

iO. pent-house lid. The eyelid, which slopes over the eye like 
the roitf of a shed or lean-to (pent-house). 

21. forbid. Placed under a curse. 

22. se'nnights. "Weeks ; seven nights. 

2:5. peak. Grow thin. 

32. weird sisters. The witches of Macbeth in most respects 
resemble the common witches of vulgar superstition ; but in 
speaking of them as tveird sisters, Shakespeare evidently 
wishes to suggest that they have something of the character 
of the three Fates of classical mythcjlogy. ^]'ell•d is derived 
from A.S. ici/rd. Fate. 

3:3. Posters. Swift travellers. 

35. Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine. Circling three times in 
your direction, three Limes in mii>e. 



90 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT I. 

38. So foul and fair a day. Perhaps in reference to the 
changeable weather ; or perhaps because the weather is foul, 
while his fortunes have been fair. 

39. Forres. A town in Scotland about twenty-five miles 
from Inverness. 

42. are on 't. Are of it ; belong to it. 

44. choppy. Chapped. 

48. Glamis. A village in the eastern part of Scotland. 

49. Cawdor. A village near Inverness. 

53. fantastical. Creations of the fancy ; unreal. 

54. show. Appear. 

55. present grace. Immediate favour. The news that he was 
thane of Glamis. 

56. noble having. The prediction that he was to become 
thane of Cawdor. 

57. withal. With it ; therewith. 
67. get. Beget. 

71. Sinel. Macbeth's father. 

76. owe. Own, possess. 

84. insane root. The root that makes people insane. Perhaps 
either hemlock or henbane. 

92-3. In Duncan's mind there is a struggle as to whether 
thy praises or his wonder shall occupy his thoughts. 

93. silenced with that. His mind is so full of these conflicting 
feelings that he cannot speak. 

104. earnest. Pledge. 

106. In which addition. In possession of this added title. 

112. line. Give secret help, just as a garment is lined on the 
inside. 

117. behind. Yet to come. 

120. home. To its full extent. 

123-6. Because they are honest with us in trifles we trvLst 
them ; and as a result they betray us in important things. 

128. prologue. A speech with which a play was sometimes 
introduced, 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 91 

the swelling' act. 'Ilie play itself would, begin when Macbeth 
became king. 

130. supernatural soliciting. The suggestion of the witches 
that he might become king. 

134. that suggestion. The thought that he might nnirder 
Duncan. 

137-S. Present fears are less than horrible imaginings. IVIacbeth 
portiays his own chaiacter in these woicls. "When face to face 
with an enemy in battle he can fight ; he is then not afraid of 
"strange images of death;" his steel "smokes with bloody 
execution." But at the very thought of this murder, which 
requires mental and moral courage, he falls a prey to "horrible 
imaginings." 

1.39-42. Although my thought of murdering Duncan as yet 
exists only in my fancy, it shakes my whole being so that I 
can do nothing but think of the future, and the only things 
that exist for me are the things that have not yet taken place. 

140. my single state of man. He compares his mind to a 
kingdom. SuigJe may refer to the fact that this "state" 
consists of only one man, or it may simply mean "weak." 

function. Power to act. 

141. surmise. Conjecture as to the future, 

147. Even the roughest day will at length come to an end ; 
I shall let things take their course, and wait to see what will 
happen. 

li>4. The interim having weighed it. Having thought it over 
in the meantime. 

Questions. 

1. What is the dramatist's purpose in reporting the witches' 
talk, in lines 1-30? 

2. Contrast the attitude of Banquo towards the witches with 
that of Macbeth. 

3. " If the weird sisters had not greeted Macbeth as thane of 
Cawdor, he would not have been so ready to believe their 
prophecy that he would some day be king." Explain. 

4. In what different ways do Macibeth and Banquo view the 
fulfilment of the witches' prophecy that Macbeth would be 
thane of Cawdor ? 



92 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT 1 

5. Why did Macbeth decide that he would do nothing to 
^ake himself king (11. 43-4) ? 

6, What qualities of Macbeth's character are revealed in this 
!^v ene ? 

Scene IV. 

After receiving the title of thane of Cawdor, Macbeth, as we 
have seen, had apparently decided that for the present he 
would let things take their corn-se. " If chance will have me 
king, why chance may crown me without my stir." As 
matters stood he had good reason to suppose that he might 
be elected king upon Duncan's death. But, in Scene IV., 
after greeting Macbeth and Banquo, Duncan names his son 
Malcolm — still a mere boy — as his successor. This announce- 
ment makes it necessary for Macbeth to take action if his 
hopes are to be realized, since it is clear to him that he can no 
longer trust to chance. 

10. owed. Owned, possessed. 

11-2. It is impossible to tell the character of a man's 
thoughts from the expression of his face. 

13-4. These words are scarcely spoken when Macbeth enters. 
Macbeth is another gentleman on whona Duncan "builds an 
absolute trust," but who is at heart just as great a traitor 
as Cawdor. Of course Duncan does not know of Macbeth's 
thoughts, but the audience does, and to them the words of 
Duncan express a sort of irony or double meaning. This 
element of double meaning in the speaker's words, of which 
he is ignorant, but which the audience sees, is known as 
dramatic irony ; and from this point throughout the rest of 
the play, dramatic irony is I'epeatedly introduced to give added 
interest to the plot. 

18-20. I wish that you had deserved less, so that the reward 
I give you might have been more instead of less than your 
deserts. 

23. pays itself. Is its own reward. 

24-5. Our duties are children and servants to your throne 
and state. It is our duty to serve you. 

27. Safe toward. So as not to fail in the love and honoul 
that is due you. 



SCENE v.] NOTES ON MACBETH 93 

S4. Wanton. Unrestrained. 

35. drops of sorrow. Tears. 

"Tlie impression of the audience that Duncan is a weak 
king is strengthened by the ftict that he shows a lack of V 
control over his feelings, and actually weeps (though they are 
tears of joy) in the presence of his two generals." 

37. establish our estate. Name as our successor. 

According to the old laws of the realm, "if he that should 
succeed were not of able age to take the chai'ge upon himself, , 
he that was next of blood unto him should be admitted." 
Malcolm was a mere lad, unable to defend himself (Act I., Sc. 
II., 11. 3-5), and Macbeth, being Duncan's cousin, had a good 
chance of becoming king ; but Duncan's action in naming 
Malcolm as his successor made it unlikely that Macbeth Avould 
be chosen. 

39. The Prince of Cumberland. This title corresponds to the 
English title of Prince of Wales. 

42. Inverness. The seat of Macbeth's castle. 

44. Our leisure time is wearisome if it is not spent in your 
service. 

54-.5. Banquo had every reason to be jealous of Macbeth ; 
but he is generous enough to add his commendations to 
Duncan's praise of his rival. 

57-8. Another instance cf dramatic irony. 

Questions. 

1. " In this scene we find further evidence of Duncan's 
weakness." Explain. 

2. "What is the dramatist's purpose in having Duncan reward 
Macbeth to the neglect of Bancjuo ? 

3. Can you suggest any reason why Duncan sliould name 
Malcolm as his successor at this particular time ? 

4. Point out two examples of dramatic irony in this scene. 

Scene V. 

Lady Macbeth's first words after reading the letter which 
she has received from Macbeth, show us the kind of woman 
she is : " Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou 



94 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT t 

art promised." We feel at once that here is a woman of 
invincible will, who will carry through, against all odds, what- 
ever she undertakes. It is worth while noticing, too, that in 
these words it is of her husband's future, not of her own, that 
she speaks. He must be king. Bvit how is it to be brought 
about? She realizes at once that Macbeth is not the kind of 
man to carry through a crime such as this. But we must 
read her w^ords very carefully, or w^e are likely to get a 
wrong idea of Macbeth's character. She says of Macbeth : 

"Yet do I fear thy nature. 
It is too full of the milk of hviraan kindness 
To catch the nearest way ; thou wouldst be great ; 
Art not without ambition, but without 
The illness should attend it, what thou wouldst highly 
That wouldst thou holily." 

Taken by itself this part of Lady Macbeth's speech seems to 
mean that Macbeth is too kind and gentle in disposition 
to commit a crime, and that his desire to do right is even 
stronger than his ambition. But let us read further : 

"Thou wouldst not play false. 

And yet wouldst wrongly win ; thou'ldst have, great 

Glamis, 
That which cries ' Thus thou must do, if thou have it ; 
And that which rather thou dost fear to do 
Than wishest should be undone.' " 

Here we get the full explanation. Macbeth is quite willing 
to do wrong, but he is afraid to do it, — perhaps through fear 
of being found out; and Lady Macbeth sees that she must spur 
him on to commit the deed if it is to be done at all. 

When Macbeth arrives she announces her resolve, but she 
sees at once by his moody expression that he is troubled in 
mind. In response to her spirited appeal, his reply is " We 
will speak further ; " bvit she tries to reassure him with the 
promise that she herself will plan and carry out the crime. 

2. mortal. Human. 

5. missives. Usually, letters ; here, messengers. 

7. the coming' on of time. The future. 



SCENE v.] NOTES ON MACBETH 95 

9. the dues of rejoicing-. The opportunity to rejoice, which is 
due to you. 

16. The illness should attend it. The evil disposition which 
should accompany (attend) ambition. 

21. Hie. Hasten. 

24. All that impedes thee. Your fear (see 1. 20). 
the golden round. Tlie crown. 

25. metaphysical. Supernatural. 

26. withal. With. 

32. had the speed of him. Made greater speed than he. 

35. The raven. The crofiking of the raven was supposed to 
forebode death. Perhaps Lady JNIacbeth refers to the hoarse 
voice of the messenger. 

41. Prevent pity (remorse) from finding entrance (access). 

42. compunctious visitings of nature. Natural feelings of pity 
pricking me. 

43-4. keep peace between the effect and it. Prevent it (my 
purpose) fiom being carried out. 

45-7. murdering ministers, etc. The invisible agents who 
help to carry out evil designs. 

ministers. Agents, helpers, sightless. Invisible. 

nature's mischief. The evil things in oiu- nature. 

48. pall thee. Cloak thyself. 

dunnest. Daikost. 

50. blanket of the dark. Tlie darkness covering the earth like 
a blanket. 

51. Hold, hold I Stop, go no further. The word "Hold!" 
was used in mediaeval times as an authoritative command to 
combatants to stoj) fighting. 

55. the instant. The present moment. 

60. To beguile the time. To deceive people. 

64. provided for. Attended to, — that is, murdered. 

67. Give solely sovereign sway. Make us supi-eme, beyond 
dispute. 

69. If you change your expression of face (favour) so as to 
show your feelings, you will always live in fear of being 
discovered. 



96 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT £ 

Questions. 

1. (a) "When was Macbeth's letter written ? 
(6) What reason does he give for writing ? 

2. "The first sentence uttered by Lady Macbeth gives us the 
keynote of her character." Explain. 

3. In speaking of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth says, "Yet do I 
fear thy nature." What does she mean ? 

4. "Thou'rt mad to say it," (1. 28). In what mood are these 
words uttered? Why does Lady Macbeth hasten to explain 
her meaning to the messenger ? 

5. WTiat evidence is there in this scene that Lady Macbeth 
has some thought of committing the murder herself ? 

6. In reply to Lady Macbeth, Macbeth says, "To-morrow, 
as he purposes," (1. 57), and, "We will speak further," (1. 68). 

What do these speeches show as to his state of mind ? 

Scene VI. 

In Scene VI., Duncan and Ban quo arrive at the castle of 
Macbeth, and are welcomed by Lady Macbeth. The chief 
interest in this scene lies in its irony. Duncan and Banquo, 
as they approach the castle, join in praising the gentleness 
and pleasantness of the scene. The audience know, though 
Duncan and Banquo do not, that in entering this pleasant 
castle they are going to their death. 

The exchanging of loving greetings between Duncan and 
Lady Macbeth further adds to the irony of the scene, for we 
know that Lady Macbeth's welcome is false, and that Duncan 
is heaping up kindness on those who have already plotted his 
destruction. 

1. seat. Situation. 

2. Nimbly. Freshly. 

4. The temple-haunting martlet. The martin which lives in the 
neighbourhood of churches (temples). 

approve. Show, prove. 

5. mansionry. House-building. 

the heaven's breath, etc. The air is inviting. 

6. jutty. Projecting part of the walL 



SCENE VII.] NOTES ON MACBETH 97 

frieze. Referring to the projections at the top of the columns 
in the building. 

7. coig'n of vantage. Corner which is suitable for nesting. 

8. pendent bed. Hanging nest. 

procreant cradle. The nest where the young are hatched. 

11-4. A visit from those we love may give us trouble, but 
we are thankful for this trouble because it proves that they 
love us. You should, then, say, "God bless you for the trouble 
you are giving us." 

16. single. Weak. ^ 

20. your hermits. Bound to pray for you. 

21. coursed. Followed close, pursued. 

22. purveyor. To provide for his coming. 

23. holp. Helped. 

25-8. The figure here is taken from book-keeping. The 
servant holds everything in readiness to have his accounts 
audited whenever his master desires. 

26. compt. Account. 

28. Still. Always. 

31. By your leave. He offers his arm to Lady Macbeth. 

Questions. 

1. What suggestion does this scene contain that, even before 
the play opened, Macbeth had already received honours from 
Duncan ? 

2. Point out two instances of dramatic irony in this scene. 

.3. Why did Macbeth not come to welcome Duncan upon his 
arrival ? 

Scene VII. 

In Scene VII. the chief interest lies in Macbeth's indecision 
and the means that Lady Macbeth takes to overcome it. She 
knows that his hesitation is due to cowardice and her taunts 
are such as mf)st appeal to a coward. We learn from this 
scene that it was Macbeth who first proposed the crime ; but 
it is certain that if left to himself he would not have carried it 
out. Lady Macbeth has less to gain by it ; but it is her taunts. 



98 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT 1^ 

and above all her ability to supply the practical details, 
that finally overcome Macbeth's fears and make the murder 
possible. 

Hautboy. An oboe — a high-toned wind instrument. 

Sewer. The chief servant, whose duty it was to taste the 
food before it was served. 

1-7. If no results were to follow the murder when it is 
committed, then I should be glad to be over with it at once ; 
if the murder could be free from disagreeable consequences 
and could be successful as soon as completed ; if I couid be 
sure that this blow would be the end of it all in this life, I 
would take chances of not being punished in the life to come. 

3. trammel up. To trammel is to impede the movements, 
sometimes by entangling the feet ; literally, to catch in a net. 

4. his surcease. Duncan's death. In Shakespeare, his is 
frequently used as the possessive of it. If we give it this 
interpretation here, then his must refer to assassination (1. 2), 
and /lis surcease will mean "the completion of the murder." 
But it is simpler to take his as referring to Duncan. 

5. the be-all. The whole thing. 

6. Note the metaphor. If this life is a bank and shoal, 
what is the life to come ? 

7. jump. Jump over, disregard. He means to say that he 
would take the risk of punishment in the life to come. 

7-12. We always have punishment in this life ; for in 
murdering the king I am setting the example for some one to 
murder me. If we have prepared a cup of poison for another, 
we get our just dues by having the contents of the cup 
presented to us. 

8. still. Always. 

10. even-handed. Giving each one exactly what he deserves. 

11. Commends. Offers, chalice. Cup. 

17. borne his faculties so meek. Performed his duties so 
humbly. 

18. clear. Free from blame. 

21. Pity is " like a naked new-born babe " because it touches 
our feelings of tenderness. 



SCENE VII.] NOTES ON MACBETH 99 

22. Striding- the blast. Riding u\Mm the stoi'm. StHding 
modifies "pity." 

23, sightless couriers of the air. Invisible winds. 

25. drown the wind. Tears shall be as plentiful as the rain- 
drops which cause the wind to die down. 

no spur, etc. I have nothing to spur me on to carry out my 
intention. He compaies hinist>lf to a rider who has no spur 
by which he might urge his horse forward. 

27, Vaulting- ambition, Tlie figure is changed. He compares 
himself to a mtin who in vaulting to his horse's back leaps too 
far and ftiUs on the other side, 

39. Such I account thy love. You have shown yoiirself to be 
fickle and chjingeable in your desire to bect)me king, P^'rom 
this time forward I will consider that you are just as fickle in 
your protestations of love to me. 

41-3, Would you have these "golden opinions" which you 
esteem so highly, and yet know in your own heart that you 
are a coward? 

the ornament of life. This may be taken to refer to either the 
"golden opinicms" or to the crown. 

44. "I dare not" is the servant who is afraid to carry out 
the wishes of his master, "I would," 

4.5, the adage, "The cat would eate fyshe, and would not 
wet her feete." (Hey wood's Provei'bs, 1562,) 

48, break. Disclose, 

52, Did then adhere. Were then suitable, 
would make. Wished to make, 

53, that their fitness. Their very fitness, 

60, But Only. The metaphor refers to the screwing v.p of 
the strings of a musical instrument, such as a violin. 

62, the rather. All the more. 

61. wassail. (A. S. tvaes hael. Health Ix^ to you,) Liquoi 
used in carousals, 

convince. Overcome. 



100 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT I.^ 

65-7. According to an old belief the brain was divided into 
three chambers. The lowest of these chambers was the seat 
of naemory ; and since the other parts of the brain could be 
reached only through this chamber, memory is spoken of as 
"the warder of the brain." The idea of the poet seems to be 
that memory is overcome by the fumes of drink which then 
pass up into the chamber of reason as into a retort (limbec). 

receipt. Receptacle. 

71. spongy. Saturated with liquor. 

72. quell. Murder, killing. (A. S. cwellan, to kill.) 
74. received. Accepted as true. 

78. As. Since, because. 

79-30. bend up each corporal agent. Strain all the powers of 
my body. 

81. mock the time. Deceive the world. 

Questions. 

1. (a) What reason does Macbeth give in lines 1-12 for not 
conunitting the murder ? 

(6) What bearing has the remainder of the speech upon this 
reason ? 

2. In line 28 Macbeth says "How now? What news?" 
What does this question reveal as to his state of mind ? 

3. "The reason which Macbeth gives in lines 31-35 is not his 
real reason, and he does not deceive Lady Macbeth by it." 
Explain. 

4. Macbeth in line 31, says, "We will proceed no further in 
this business." What means did Lady Macbeth use to make 
him change his mind ? 

5. What evidence do you find, in this scene, that Macbeth 
had originally suggested the murder ? 

6. (a) In line 60, Macbeth says, " If we should fail ? " Show 
by reference to other parts of the scene that fear of failure 
was his real reason for hesitating to commit the crime. 

(6) Lady Macbeth replies, " We fail ! " It is possible to read 
Beatcaoo in two wa^s so as to express two diS««nt 



-feuMMARY] NOTES ON MACBETH 101 

meanings. Explain. TMiat effect would it have on the 
meaning if we were to substitute an interrogation mark for 
the exclamation mark ? 

Summary op Act I. 

Act I. introduces the audience to most of the leading charac- 
ters in the play, and shows the circumstances which made the 
murder of Duncan possible. The chief interest in Act I. lies 
in the various stages in the temptation of Macbeth, from the 
appearance of the AVeird Sisters in the opening scene to the 
final decision in the closing lines of the last scene. The steps 
in the temptation may be briefly summarized as follows : 

1. Macbeth appears to have proposed the murder of Duncan 
at some time previous to the opening of the play, for Lady 
Macbeth says in Scene 7 : 

" What beast was't then, that made you break this enter- 
prise to me ? 

Nor time nor place did thoTi adhere aiid yet you 

would make both." 

2. Macbeth "starts" at the witches' prophecies, showing 
that he had been thinking of these very things. He asks the 
witches to stay and tell him more, and when they vanish he 
says, "Would they had stayed." 

3. "WTien part of the prophecy is fulfilled, he debates with 
himself as to whether it is good or evil. Then he decides to 
let things take their course ; but his conversation with Banquo 
shows that he is still thinking of it. 

4. Malcolm is appointed as Duncan's sviccessor. Macbeth 
sees that he must take some action, and he hints at murder. 

5. In speaking to Lady Macbeth in Scene Y., he shows that 
he is undecided. Then in Scene VIL he enumerates the 
reasons why he should not murder Duncan. He shows in this 
soliloquy that ic is really the fear of consequence that deters 
him. 

6. Lady Macbeth shows him how he may commit the crime 
and still escape punishment. He at once falls in with her plan. 



102 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT 11^^ 

Act II, — Scene I. 

This scene does not contain any important incidents, but 
yet it provides a necessary preparation for the scene to 
follow. It shows us the generosity and the unsuspecting 
"content" of Duncan, and in so doing it adds to our horror of 
the crime. It gives us a glimpse into the thoughts of Banquo 
as contrasted with those of Macbeth ; and finally the soliloquy 
of Macbeth prepares the way for the half-hysterical excitement 
of the miu'der scene which follows. 

4. husbandry. Economy. 

5. that. Perhaps his dagger, or shield, or helmet. 

6. A heavy summons. A feeling of heaviness which bids him 
sleep. 

8. the cursed thoughts. Banquo, as well as Macbeth, is 
tempted. In his waking moments he is able to restrain these 
thoughts, but he cannot control his dreams. 

14. largess. Liberal gifts. 

offices. Officers, servants. 

17-9. Being unprepared for the king's coming, we have not 
done as much for him as we should like. 

25. cleave to my consent w^hen 'tis. Give me your support 
when the time comes. 

26. So. So long as. 

28. keep my bosom franchised. Keep my heart free from 
disloyalty. 

29. I shall be counsell'd. I shall be willing to listen to what 
you advise. 

31. my drink. It was the custom in early times among the 
nobles to drink a cup of spiced wine before retiring for the 
night. 

36. fatal vision. The sight of the dagger upon which the fate 
of Duncan depended. 

36-7. sensible to feeling as to sight. Capable of being felt as 
well as seen. 

40. palpable. Capable of being handled^ , 



SCENE I.] NOTES ON MACBETH 103 

42. Thou marshall'st me. The sight of the thvgger iirgos me 
forward. 

4-1-5. Either I must trust to my sense of touch which tells 
me that there is no dagger and that my eyes ai-e deceived ; 
or else I must conclude that my eyes are more trustworthy 
than my other senses. 

46. dudgeon. Handle. 

gouts. Drops. 

48. It is the thought of murder which presents this vision 
to my eyes. 

50. abuse. Deceive. 

51. The curtain'd sleep. Tlie sleeper whose bed is curtained 
off from the rest of the room. 

51-2. witchcraft celebrates pale Hecate's offerings. The witches 
are making their offerings to Hecate. 

Pale. Diana, or Hecate, was goddess of the moon, 

Hecate. The name given to Diana as goddess of the lower 
world. In popular mythology she is spoken of as queen of the 
witches. 

52. Tvither'd murder. ^lurder is personified as an ugly 
old man. 

53. The wolf is the sentinel who wakens the murderer at 
the proper time. 

Alarum'd. Awakened. Another form of the word alarm, 
which means, literally, a call to arms. 

54. Whose howl 's his watch. Whose howl is the sound 
that marks the piogiess of the night. 

58-9. Macbeth feels that the darkness and silence are in 
keeping with the crime, and he does not wish to have the 
silence broken by the sound of his steps on the stones. But 
the expression, " the present horror" may refer to the murder 
itself. If this is the meaning then Macbeth is merely express- 
ing the fear that the nnnder may have to be deferred to some 
future time when the conditions may be less suitable. 

60. He feels that if he talks about the muider his resolve to 
commit the crime may be weakened. 



104 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT II. 

Questions. 

1. What interval of time has elapsed between Acts I. and II. ? 

2. What evidence is there in lines 1-10 that Banquo is uneasy 
in mind ? 

3. (a) Why does Banquo speak of the weird sisters (11. 20-21)? 

(6) Macbeth replies, "I think not of them." Why does he 
say this ? 

4. "In this scene the attitude of Banquo towards the king 
stands out in sharp contrast with that of Macbeth." Illustrate 
this statement. 

5. "In lines 29-30 there is a touch of dramatic irony." 
Explain. 

6. (a) When Macbeth is left alone he fancies that he sees a 
dagger before him. Can you account for this ? 

(6) In line 47 he says, "There's no such thing." What has 
led him to this conclusion ? 

7. Into what two divisions does the thought in this soliloquy 
fall? 

8. This soliloquy does not contribute anything to the action 
of the plot. What then is its value in the play ? 

Scene II. 

Lady Macbeth has been strong enough to plan and carry out 
the preparations for the crime ; but in the excitement of the 
murder scene it is evident that she is under intense strain. 
When Macbeth returns from the murder he is in a half 
hysterical state, and Lady Macbeth is forced to nerve herself 
to return to the chamber to smear the grooms with blood. In 
the first part of this scene the dramatist has attempted to 
soften her character by a number of suggestive touches which 
remind us of the feminine qualities of her nature ; but in the 
latter part of the scene her strength of will and her power of 
self-control appear at their strongest. 

2. quenched. Stupefied. Note the metaphor. 

3. the owl. The owl has always been considered a bird of 
ill omen. 



SCENE II.] NOTES ON MACBETH 105 

the fatal bellman. It was the custom to send the bellman 
(the town-crier) to :;oiulemnecl persons the night before their 
execution ; hence the word fatal. 

6. mock their charg-e. Their snoring shows that instead of 
g^cxrding the king as was their duty, they are asleep. Hence 
it is a mere mockery. 

possets. A hot drink, generally made of curdled milk. 

7. nature. Here, life. 

11-2. If we attempt the murder without accomplishing it, 
we are ruined. 
21. sorry. Pitiful, \vretched. 

24. That So that. 

25. addressed. Turned their thoughts. 

26. lodged. Lady Macbeth attempts to divert Macbeth's 
thoughts by a play on words. Lodged has a double meaning, 
— •"occupying an apartment," and "lying fiat." 

28. As. As if. 
hangman's. Executioner's. 

29. Listening' their fear. Listening to their fear. 
35. Methought. It seemed to me. 

.37. Tlie cares of the day are compared to a loose skein of 
silk which it is difficult to disenttmgle. 
ravelled. Tangled. 
sleave. A skein of flossy silk ; not the same word as sleeve. 

38. sore labour's bath. »Sleep is as refreshing as a bath to the 
tired (sore) labourer. 

39. second course. The second course is usually the sub- 
stantial nourishing part of the feast. But course may mean 
simply "division of the day." 

46. brainsickly. Foolishly. 

47. witness. Evidence of the crime. 

54. as pictures. As harmless as people in pictures. 

56-7. gild, goiilt. Lady Macbeth assmnes an air of bravado 
and attempts to make light of the ordeal, 

56. ^^thal, A sort of intensive adverb which strengthens 
the statement. 



106 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT II. 

62. multitudinous. Referring to the multitude of waves, 
incarnadine. Redden. 

63. one red. Altogether red. 

68-9. Your self-control which usually serves (attends) you, 
has left you. 

70. nightgown. Dressing robe. 

lest occasion call us. Lest it should happen that we are 
called on. 

71. 'watchers. People who have not gone to bed. 

72. poorly. Showing poor control of yourself. 

73. Rather than realize what I have done, it would be better 
for me to forget everything. 

Questions. 

1. In what way would your estimate of the character of 
Lady Macbeth be affected if the first two lines of this scene 
were omitted ? 

2. In line 14 Lady Macbeth exclaims, "My husband!" 
What emotion do you think these words express ? 

3. Upon his return to his courtyard Macbeth appears to be 
in a half hysterical state. 

(a) What would lead you to this conclusion ? 

(b) "Whut different means did Lady Macbeth use to bring 
him back to a proper frame of mind ? 

4. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth refer to the blood on 
their hands. Compare what they say regarding it. 

5. Aside froin the speeches of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, 
whiit details in this scene are likely to affect the feelings of 
the audience most strongly ? 

6. In the fight with Macdonwald, Macbeth had shown great 
courage. How then can you account for the fact that in this 
scene he shows such a lack of self-control ? 

Scene III. 

The porter's speech at the beginning of Scene III. serves two 
piirposes. It gives Macbeth and Lady Macbeth time to pre- 
pare for the entrance of the visitors, and at the same time it 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 107 

affords the necessary relaxation to the audience who have 
been under an intense strain during the murder scene. The 
porter's speech is amusing ; bub to the audience there is a 
certain grimness in the humour for they cannot help feehng 
that the porter of Macbeth's castle was the porter of hell-gate 
in a much truer sense than he himself knew. 

Oiir chief interest in the scene lies in the conduct of Macbeth 
and Lady Macbeth. With the excitement of the scene and 
the opportunity of renewed action, Macbeth recovers his self- 
possession, but on the impulse of the moment kills the grooms. 
This was, of coiu-se, a very unwise thing to do, for it made it 
appear as if Macbeth was afraid of what they might say. 
Indeed the observant, ironical Lennox has already drawn his 
own conclusions, and remarks significantly on the fact that 
the grooms' daggers were found "unwiped, upon their pilloios.'* 

When Lady Macbeth is told of the murder she shows an 
unnatural concern, not because Duncan has been murdered 
but because it has been done in their house. She is, no doubt, 
shrewd enough to see through the irony of Lennox and quick 
enough to see the folly of Macbeth's action in killing the 
grooms ; and when, to add to her horror, Macbeth describes the 
scene in the death chamber her overwrought nerves can stand 
no more, and she faints. Is the fainting real, or only a clever 
pretence ? Most people prefer to look on it as real — the natural 
re-action after the crime, the sign that in Lady Macbeth's 
nature there is a breaking point, which will later on show 
itself in a still more terrible way. 

2. old. A slang expression, meaning ' j^lenty of.' 

4-5. a farmer. TSTien there is a prospect of a good harvest 
the price of grain drops, and the farmer who has been holding 
his gi-ain for higher prices is the loser. 

5. come in time. You have come in time. 

6. napkins. Handkerchiefs, 
enow. Enough. 

8. an equivocator. One who makes statements which are 
purposely misleading. 

It is supposed that these lines refer to the trial of the Jesuit 
Garnet in 1008, for having been implicated in the Gunpowder 



108 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT II. 

Plot. In the cou-rse of his trial Garnet is said to have declared 
that it is not »vrong to equivocate upon oath. 

10. treason. Probably a reference to the Gunpowder Plot. 

11. equivocate to heaven. Get himself into heaven by equivo- 
cation. 

13-4. stealing' out of a French hose. The humour lies, perhaps, 
in the fact that French hose were at this time so tight that it 
would be impossible to steal any cloth out of them. 

15. goose. A tailor's iron. 

18. the primrose way. The flow^ery path. 

19. Anon. In a moment. 

20. remember the porter. With a fee, or "tip." 
23-4. the second cock. About two in the morning. 
29. timely. Early. 

81. a joyful trouble. A figure of speech known as oxyvioron. 
32. The pleasure that w^e get out of our labour is a cure for 
the pain that it gives us. 
34. limited. Appointed. 

40. combustion. Literally, conflagration ; here, probably a 
social upheaval. 

41. the obscure bird. The owl. 
48. Confusion. Destruction. 

50. The king was coinmonly spoken of as "the Lord's an- 
nointed," and also as "the temple of the living God." 

54. Gorgon. The Gorgons, in classical mythology, were three 
sisters, whose appearance was so horrible that every one who 
gazed on them was turned to stone. 

60. The great doom's image. A picture as terrible as the day 
of 3 udgment. 

61. sprites. Spirits. 

62. countenance. To be in keeping with. 
64. parley. Conference. 

75. chance. Event, happening. 

77. serious. Important, worth while. 

mortality. Human life. 



SCENE III] NOTES ON MACBETH 109 

7S. toys. Trifles. 

80. this vault. The wiue-cellar ; here, the world. 

81. You are. You are amiss, i.e., lacking a father. Macbeth 
plays on the word amiss. 

86. badged. Marked, as with a badge. 

94. expedition. Swiftness. 

95. pauser. Reason, which makes men pause. 

96. laced. Streaked. 

97-8. Just as besiegers enter the city through a breach in 
the walls, and lay it waste ; s'^ death entered through Duncan's 
gaping wounds jxnd laid his life waste. 

100. breech'd. Covered as with breeches. 

104. argument. Subject which is being discussed. 

106. Hid in an auger-hole. Coming from a source so insignifi- 
cant that we would not notice or suspect it. 

107-9. Duncan's sons suspect that the grief of Macbeth and 
Liidy Macl)eth is not natiu-al but forced ; and, in their opinion, 
the very commotion that Macbeth is making shows that his 
sorrow is only feigned. 

110. frailties. Our bodies which feel the cold. 

113. scruples. Doubts. 

114. thence. Standing in God's presence. 

115. the undivulged pretence, etc. The secret purposes of 
malicious traitors. 

117. manly readiness. Om- clothing. 

119. consort vvith them. Remain in their company. 

120. an office. An action, a duty. 

124-.5. near. Nearer. The more closely people are related 
the more likely they are to do one another harm. Macbeth 
was Duncan's cousin. 

129. shift. Slip, steal quietly. 

129-30. There is an excuse for stealing ovirselves away when 
we are in danger. 



110 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT II. 

Questions. 

1. Some critics consider that the porter's speech detracts 
from the effectiveness of this scene. What is your opinion ? 

2. Wliy does Shakespeare introduce the reference to the 
'unruly' night (11. 35-43)? 

3. "The labour we delight in physics pain" (1. 33). This 
sentiment was expressed in one of the earlier scenes in the 
play. Give the reference. 

4. Comment on Macbeth's speeches; "He does; he did ap- 
point so" (1, 35) ; and, "'Twas a rough night" (1. 43). 

5. "WnLiich do you think speaks and acts more naturally when 
the murder is discovered, Macbeth or Lady Macbeth ? Why ? 

6. Point out at least two examples of dramatic irony in this 
scene. 

7. "Banqvio, Macduff, Lennox, Malcolm and Donalbain, all 
show by their speeches that they suspect Macbeth." Explain. 

8. Do you think that Macbeth did a wise thing in killing the 
grooms ? 

9. What reasons have you for supposing that Lady Macbeth 
really faints (1. 109), or, on the other hand, that she is merely 
feigning ? 

Scene IV. 

It is a comnaon device of the poet to add to the impressive- 
ness of his story by making nature appear to sympathize 
with mankind in their sufferings. In the previous scene 
Lennox has told us how rough the night has been, and in 
Scene IV., in the conver-sation between Ross and the Old Man^ 
we are given further details, 

4, trifled. JNIade them appear as trifles. 

5-6. act, stage. Note the metaphor. 

7. the travelling- lamp. The sun. 

8. Is it because night has overcome the day, or because the 
day is ashamed ? 

12. towering. Soaring aloft, 

her pride of place. The place from A\hich she swoops down 
upon her prey. 



SCENE IV.] NOTES ON MACBETH IH 

13. mousing. Mouse-hunting. 

hawk'd at. Attacked. 

15. minions. Most highly prized ; literally, darlings. 

18. eat. The past tense of eat is either ate, or eat (pr. et), as 
here. 

24. pretend. Aim at, look for. 

suborn'd. Bribed. 

27. still. As in the other cases about which they have been 
talking, 

28-9. It would be a very thriftless thing for Malcolm and 
Donalbain to kill their father on whom they were dependent, 
ravin up. Devour. 

31. Scone. Formerly a city of some importance, two miles 
from the present town of Perth. It was the coronation place 
of the early Scottish kings ; but in 1296, Edwaid I, caused 
the ancient coronation stone to be removed to Westminster 
Abbey. 

33. Colmekill. Another name for lona, an island to the west 
of Scotland, near the island of Mull in Argyleshire. It was 
on this island that St. Cohnnba first preached Christianity ; 
hence the name Colniekill, which means, " the cell (or chapel) 
of St. Columba." Both Duncan and Macbeth are buried there. 

36. Fife. The seat of Macduff's castle, to the north of the 
Firth of Forth. 



40. benison. Blessing. 



Questions. 



1. What is the relation between the two iinnatural incidents 
mentioned in lines 11-18, and the nuirdor of Duncan by 
Macbeth ? 

2. What reasons have Ross and Macduff for thinking that 
neither the grooms nor the sons of Duncan were responsible 
for the murder ? 

3. What do lines .36-38 show as to Macduff's frame of mind ? 



112 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT III. 

Summary of Act II. 

Act II. deals with the murder of Duncan, the discoveiy of 
the murder, and its immediate consequences. Macbetli's solilo- 
quy immediately before the murder, shows that he is excited 
and overwrought ; and when he returns to the courtyard after 
the murder, he is in a half hysterical state. In the excitement 
which follows upon the discovery, he once more gains his self- 
control, for he is now able to find an outlet for his feelings in 
energetic speech and action. 

When Macbeth gives way under the strain of excitement, 
Lady Macbeth is able to summon her reserve of will-power to 
meet the situation ; but when the murder is discovered she is 
not able to act in so natural a manner as Macbeth. He is a 
man of action ; her strength lies in her power of will. 

Macbeth has, for the time being, escaped the consequences of 
his crime by the killing of the grooms, who could be the only 
witnesses against him, and by the flight of Malcolm and Donal- 
bain. But various circumstances connected with the murder 
have aroused the suspicions of his nobles ; and the Act closes 
with uneasy forebodings as to the future welfare of the king- 
dom under Macbeth. 

Act III. — Scene I. 

By the murder of Duncan, Macbeth had brought about the 
fulfilment of the witches' prophecy that he should become 
king. But the witches had promised further that the seed of 
Banquo should be kings, and as we might expect, both Banquo 
and Macbeth now recall this promise. Banquo has thus far 
refused to fall in with the designs of Macbeth, and Macbeth 
feels that his position would be more secure if Banquo were 
out of the way. The fact that he has carried the murder of 
Duncan through successfully has given him confidence and he 
is ready to undertake this second crime without consulting 
Lady Macbeth. 

4. stand in thy posterity. Remain with your descendants. 

7. their speeches shine. Their speeches have brought 
prosperity. 

8. verities. Prophecies which have come true. 



SCENE I.] NOTES ON MACBETH 113 

9. my oracles. AVliy may I too not believe their piophecies 
regarding me ? 

sennet. Flourish of trumpets. 

13. all-thing. Altogether. 

14. solemn. Ceremonious ; a state banquet. 

16. the which. The use of the makes the pronoun more 
definite. 

22. stiU. Always. 

grave and prosperous. His advice was weighty (grave) and 
led to happy lesults. 

26. the better. Better than I expect. 

30. bloody. Guilty of murder. 

bestowed. Established. 

32. parricide. Murder of their fathei-. 

34. cause of state craving us jointly. Public affairs requiring 
the attention of us both. 

37. our time does call upon 's. It is time for us to set out. 

44. while then. Till then. 

45. Sirrah. Used in addressing inferiors. 

48-9. It is not worth being king unless I can be safe. Ac- 
coi'ding to this interpretation hat has the value of unless. 
Some editors, however, place a semicolon after " nothing," in 
which case the sentence is eriuivalent to : •' To be thiis is 
nothing ; but to be safely thus would be something worth 
while." 

49. in Banquo. Concerning Banquo. 

50-1. Ho has king-like qualities which I cannot help fearing. 

56. My Genius, llie guardian spirit which watches over my 
actions. 

&5. filed. Defiled. 

67. rancours. Poisons. Note the nietajihor. 

68. mine eternal jewel. My immortal soid. 

71. the list. Tile euchjscd gi-ound Avhcre tournaments were 
fought. 

72. champion me to the utterance. Fight against me to the 
death. The phi-iuse to the ufleraiice comes from the French 



114 NOTES OS MACBETH [aCT III. 

expression d Voutrance, -which was used of combats which 
ended with the death of one of the combatants. 

80. passed in probation with you. Spent in proving this to you. 

81. borne in hand. Buoyed up with false hopes, 
the instruments. The means that were used. 

83. a notion crazed. A man with weak understanding. 
88. g-ospell'd. Taught to forgive (Matthew v., 4). 

92-5. Just as in the list (catalogue) of dogs the poor as 
well as the good are included, so in the list of men you 
would be included, however worthless you might be. 

94. Shougfhs. Shaggy-haired dogs, 
water-rugs. Rough -svater-dogs. 
demi-wolves. A cross between a dog and a Tvolf. 
clept. Called. Sometimes spelled yclept. 

95. the valued file. The list (file) in which the values of 
different breeds are given. 

97. the housekeeper. The ^vatch-dog. 

99. closed. Inclosed. 

99-101. The catalogue (1. 92) or bill, describes them all 
merely as dogs. The valued file (1. 95) adds some particular 
information about each. 

102. a station in the file. A place in the list. 

106. Grapples. Binds. 

108. Uege. Lord, iie^e literally means "a free man." 

112. tugg'd with. Pulled about by. 

116-8. The figure is that of two men fighting a duel at close 
quarters (bloody distance). 

my near'st of life. My vital parts, nearest to the seat of life. 

120. bid my will avouch it Justify myself only on the grotmd 
that it is my will that he should die, 

125. Concealing it from the knowledge of the public. 

128. I see by looking at you that you are men of spirit. 

130. the perfect spy o' the time. I shall watch carefully and let 
you know the exact time when the murder is to be conmoitted. 

132. something. A short distance. 



SCENE II.] NOTES ON MACBETH 115 

132-3. (It) being always kept in mind thiit I must be kept 
clear of blame. 

134. rubs. Imperfections. In bowling, a nib is something 
that inteiferes with the free movement of the ball. 

136. material. Important. 

138. Resolve yourselves. JNIake up your minds ; or perhaps 
the word 7T.so7rc is used in its literal sense, in which case the 
expression means, "separate yourselves." 

Questions. 

1. How does Banquo view the fulfilment of the prophecies O! 
the weird sisters regarding Macbeth ? 

2. T\"hat means does Macbeth use to prevent Banquo from 
becoming suspicious regarding the inquiries that are made as 
to his plans ? 

3. "UTiat evidence do you find in this scene as to the length 
of time that has elapsed since the murder of Duncan ? 

4. "UTiat two reasons does Macbeth give for fearing Banquo ? 

5. Macbeth hesitiited to murder Duncan because of his fear 
of the consequences. 'Wliy does he not show the same hesita- 
tion in undertaking the murder of Banquo ? 

Scene II. 

Scene II. is of interest because it gives us an insight into the 
state of mind of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The short 
soliloquy of Lady Macbeth at the opening of the scene shows 
us that even though she has become queen she is far from 
happy : 

"Nought's had, all's spent, 
"\Miere our desire is got without content." 

We are not told why she is unhappy, but we are left to 
suppose that in some degree she is suffeiing from remorse. 
But no doubt it is the conduct of Macbeth that is the chief 
cause of her depression. She finds that although she was 
able to force him into the crime, she is unable to control his 
actions and feelings further, and she sees that as long as he 
is in these moods neither of them can have any real peace of 
mind. 



116 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT III. 

4. Nought's had. We have gained nothing. 

9. sorriest fancies. Most melancholy thoughts. 

10. Using. Keeping in your mind. 

11-2. When things cannot be helped there is no use in 
woi'rying over them. 

13. scotch'd. Cut, wounded. 

14. She'll close. The cuts will heal. 

16. let the frame of things disjoint. Let the framework of the 
universe fall to pieces. 

both the worlds. Both heaven and earth. 

21-2. The torture of the mind is compared to the torture of 
a person on the rack. 

ecstasy. Here, agony. Literally, any unusual menta,l state, 
as, rapture, frenzy, or trance. 

23. fitful. Intermittent, as in fever and ague. 

25. Malice domestic. Treachery among the king's own sub- 
jects, — referring, no doubt, to the Thane of Cawdor and the 
rebel Macdonwald. 

foreign levy. Foreign troops raised for the purpose of in- 
vading Scotland, — referring to the invasion of Scotland by 
Sweno, king of Norway. 

31. Present him eminence. Single him out for special favour. 

32. Unsafe. (We being) unsafe. 

33. lave our honours. Wash away the suspicion of our crime 
in streams of flattery. 

Si. vizards to our hearts. Masks to conceal our real feelings. 
38. nature's copy 's not eterne. They have not a perpetual 
lease of life, 
copy. Copyhold, — a lease of land for a limited period of time, 
eterne. Eternal. 

41. His cloistered flight. Cloisters are covered walks around 
the courtyards of monasteries or colleges. Here the poet com- 
pares the dimness of twilight in which the bat flies to and fro, 
to the dim light of the narrow cloisters. Or, cloistered flight 
may mean, literally, flight within the cloisters, which are 
favourite haunts of bats. 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 117 

Hecate. The goddess of night. 

42. shard-borne. The wings of the beetle are hard and sliiny, 
like fragments of pottery (shards). 

43. yawning. Drowsy. 

46. seeling'. Closing the eyelids. Whsn hawks were being 
tamed it was customary to close the eyes by running a thread 
through the lids. This was known as seeling. 

47. Scarf up. Cover over. 

49. bond. Anything by which a man has become bound, as, 
for instance, a legal docviment. In this case, Banquo's life is 
the bond; or perhaps Macbeth is thinking of the witches' 
prophecy as the bond. 

50. keeps me pale. Iveejjs me in fear. 

51. rooky. IMisty, foggy, — connected with the verb reck ; or 
perhaps, full of rooks. 

Questions. 

1. The first line of the scene shows that Lady Macbeth has 
been thinking of Banquo. Is there any indication in the scene 
that she has any thought of his death ? 

2. If we were to omit Lady Macbeth's soliloquy (11. 4-7), how 
would our idea of the character of Lady Macbeth be affected ? 

3. "These terrible dreams" (1. 18). In what other case are 
terrible dieams referred to in the earlier part of the play ? 

4. 'V\Tiat different means does Lady Macbeth use, in the 
course of the scene, to influence her husband? 

5. " Macbeth's feverish state of mind is shown by the fact 
that his language is highly coloiu-ed." Point out an instance 
in the earlier part of the play in which Macbeth's language is 
also highly coloured. 

6. Lady ^Macbeth apparently does not understand Macbeth's 
hints as to the murder of Banquo. Can you account for this ? 

Scene III. 

The murder of Banquo, in this scene, is the last of Macbeth's 
successes; the escape of Fleance marks the beginning of his 
downfalL This scene, then, forms the dramatic centre of the 



118 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT III. 

play ; and, coming as it does, in the centre of Act III., it forms 
the mechanical centre also. 

2-4. We do not need to distrust him, since he gives accurate 
(just) dii'ections as to our duties (offices). 

6-7. Tlie belated traveller spiu-s fast so as to reach the inn 
in time. 

10. the note of expectation. The list of expected guests. 

11. go about. Go around to the rear of the castle. 

Questions. 

1. It has been suggested that the third murderer is Macbeth 
himself. What evidence is there to support this suggestion? 
Examine the speeches of the third murderer carefully. 

2. In speaking of the escape of Fleance, the second murderer 
says : "We have lost best half of our affair." Explain. 

Scene IV. 

In Scenes I. and II. we learned that Macbeth was brooding 
over the witches' prophecy to Banquo ; and in Scene II. his 
highly-coloured language is a further indication of his dis- 
ordered state of mind. We are not surprised, then, that in 
this scene the news which the murderer has brought should 
have left him "quite unmann'd in folly." When the ghost of 
Banquo appears, Lady Macbeth tries every means in her power 
to save the situation, but fails ; and when the guests are gone 
she gives way to an unmistakable mood of depression. 

1. your own degrees. Your rank, and hence your places at 
the table. 

1-2. at first and last. Once for all. 

5, her state. Her chtiir of state, as queen. 

14. This may mean either, " It is better for the blood to be 
on your face than in his body ; " or, " It is better for you to be 
here outside the door than for him to be seated at the banquet 
within the hall." 

19. nonpareil. Without an equal. 

21. my fit. My fit of terror. 

23. casing. Surrounding. 



SCENE IV.] NOTES ON MACBETH 119 

21. cabin'd, cribb'd. Confined in close qnarters, as in a cabin 
or a crib. 

25. saucy. Sharp, violent. 

27. trenched. Deeply cut. 

32. ourselves. Each other. 

Svo. Unless the guests are made "welcome, it is like a feast 
for which they are paying, instead of one to which they are 
invited. 

36. When away from home, it is form and ceremony that 
makes the guest enjoy the feast. 

38. •wait on. Attend, accompany. 

40. our country's honour. All the distinguished men in our 
country. 

roofd. Under this roof. 

49. this. Tliis muider. 

57. extend his passion. Prolong his fit. 

60. proper stuff. Utter nonsense. Proper is used ironically. 

61. Tills is purely an imaginary picture painted by your fear. 
63. flaws. Sudden outbursts ; literally, gusts of wind. 

66. Authorized. Whose truth is vouched for. 

71-3. If the dead are to come out of their graves in this way 
they will have no monuments but the stomachs of the kites 
which feed upon thein. 

charnel-houses. Houses in wliich the dead aie placed to 
await burial. 

76. Before mankind made laws to purge the common- 
wealth of its evil and make it gentle. 

81. mortal. Deadly. 

92. all to all. All good wishes to you all. 

the pledge. Which Macbeth had just proposed. 

93. Avaunt. Begone. 

95. speculation. Intelligence ; or perhaps, power of sight. 
101. arm'd. Referring either to the thick hide, or to the tusk. 
Hyrcan. H\Tcania was a name given to the district south of 
the Caspian sea. 



120 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT III.'. 

102. that. The form of Banquo. 

105. If trembling I inhabit then. If I lemain in a state of fear 
or trembling. ^ 

protest. Declared 

106. The baby of a girl. Either, a doll ; or a weak puny baby. 

109. displaced. Banished. 

110. admired. Literally, to be wondered at, strange ; but 
possibly Lady Macbeth is using the word ironically. 

111. overcome. Overshadow. 

112-3. You make me think that my own disposition must be 
a strange one. 

owe. Own, possess. 

119. Do not be particular about going in the order of 
your rank. 

123. So as to reveal the murderer. 

124-6. The ability to foretell the future by natural signs, and 
to understand the meanings of the actions of birds such as 
magpies, choughs, and rooks, has resulted in the discovery of 
mui'derers, no matter how they have concealed themselves. 

125. magot-pies. Magpies, choughs. Jackdaws. Both mag- 
pies and choughs belong to the crow family. 

127. at odds with. Struggling with. 

128. Hov/ say'st thou ? What do you say to this ? 

137. should I wade no more. Should I decide to shed no more 
blood. 

140. Which I do not dare to think about before doing them. 

141. the season. That which keeps our natures wholesom.e. 

142. self-abuse. Self-deception, in being deluded by fancies. 

143. the initiate fear. The fear which accompanies the be- 
ginning of crime, but which will disappear as one becomes 
hardened. 

Questions. 

1. "The man who is guilty of a crime naturally feels that 
every one suspects him, and in the effort to divert suspicion 
from himself he sometimes betrays his guilt." Show in what re* 
spect this is true of Macbeth's words and actions in this scene. 



SCENE v.] NOTES ON MACBETH 121 

2. Why does the di'amatist represent the murderer as 
bringing tlie news of Banquo's murder to jNIacbeth in the 
midst of the banquet scene ? 

3. Point out the instances of dramatic irony that occur in 
this scene. 

4. T\Tiat is there in the appearance and actions of the ghost 
that terrifies Macbeth on each occasion that it enters? 

5. (a) "\Miat explanation does Lady Macbeth give to the 
lords of her husband's strange behaviour ? 

(&) "WTiat means does she use to bring IMacbeth back to his 
proper senses ? 

6. After the departure of the guests, Lady Macbeth at once 
gives way to a mood of deep dejection. How do you account 
for this ? 

7. In speaking of Banquo, in Scene I., Macbeth had said, 
"We wear our health but sickly in his life, ^vhich in his health 
were perfect." How is it that, now that Banquo is dead, he is 
still unsatisfied ? 

8. (a) Why did Macbeth decide to consult the weird sisters 
again ? 

(6) How does Macbeth's mental state, as expressed in lines 
135-140, differ from that of the earlier part of the play, so; 
expressed, for instance, in Act I., Scene III., 11. 143-147? 
Accoimt for the change that has taken place? 

(r) How does !Macbeth himself account for his state of mind 
during the banquet scene ? 

SCENK V. 

This scene adds little to the play. It is generally supposed 
that Shakespeai-e did not wiite it, but that it was added later 
by a playwright named Middleton. 

1. ang^erly. Angi-ily. 

2. beldams. Literally, fine ladies (belles dames) : here used 
ironically for old hags. 

7. close. Secret. 

15. Acheron. A river in Greece, supposed to lead to the 
lower world ; hence ' the pit of Acheron ' is the entrance to the 
lower world. 



122 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT III. 

24. profound. Literally, deep ; but here there is a suggestion 
of mysterious and hidden qualities. 

26. sleights. Arts, tricks. 

27. sprites. Spirits. 

30-1. bear his hopes, etc. He shall trust in his hopes in a 
way that is neither wise nor becoming, and he shall have no 
fear of the future. 

32-.3. security is mortals' chiefest enemy. When we think we 
are safe, we neglect to take proper precautions. Distinguish 
security and safety. 

33. The song, " Come aAvay, come away," occurs in a play 
of Middleton's, entitled The Witch. 

Scene VI. 

We learned in Scene IV. that IMacbeth kept paid spies in 
the houses of his nobles ; and it appears that this system of 
espionage has gone so far that men are afraid to speak their 
thoughts openly. la Scene VI. we find Lennox and another 
lord discussing what has taken place. Lennox with fine irony 
reviews the crimes of Macbeth, ths inurder of Duncan, of the 
grooms, and of Banquo ; and in the remainder of the scene we 
learn something of the relations that exist between Macbeth 
and Macduff. It is these relations that supply the motive for 
the action in the remainder of the play ; and this scene forms 
a connecting link between the Macduff story and Macbeth's 
previous crimes. 

1-2. From what I have already said, you may know that I 
think as you do about this matter ; and you can judge fuilher 
as to my opinions without my telling you : but I will say this, 
that things have been carried on (boi^ne) in a strange fashion. 

4. marry. A mild form of oath, a corruption of Mary. 

8. Who cannot Tvant the thought. Who can fail to think? 
Lennox uses a double negative to make his question stronger. 

19. an 't. If it. 

21. from broad vrords. Because he spoke his thoughts plainly, 

27. Edward. Edward the Confessor. 

29. his high respect. Tlie high respect in which he is held. 

30. upon his aid. In his behalf. 



'summary] notes on MACBETH 123 

31. To wake. To arouse. 

Si'ward. Earl of Northumberland, who had put down the 
rebellion of Earl Godwin. 

35. Free our feasts and banquets froin bloody knives. 

40-3. "WHien Macduff says, "Sir, not I," the messenger 
frowns and hums as if to say, "You'll be sorry for making me 
carry so unwelcome an answer back to the king." 

cloudy. Frowning. 

turns me his back. The pronoun me is ethical dative, suggest- 
ing the interest which the speaker has in the conduct of the 
messenger. 

clogs me. Burdens me. 

49. Under. Related to suffering. 

Questions. 

1. (a) Judging from the speech of Lennox, ui:)on whom did 
Macbeth place the blame for the murder of Banquo ? 

{h) In what respect did the murder of Banquo and the 
escape of Fleance suggest the circumstances connected with 
Macbeth's former crime ? 

2. "Wliat do we learn from this scene as to (a) the fortunes of 
Malcolm, {h) the action of Macduff, and (r) the further action 
of Macbeth ? 

Summary. 

Act III. deals almost entirely with the murder of Banquo, — 
its causes and consequences ; and, as we have seen, the murder 
of Banquo and the escape of Fleance mark the dramatic 
centre of the play. But although we are interested in the 
action we are still more interested in the further development 
of the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth, 
as we have seen, cannot stand the strain of mental suspense, 
and his fear that the prophecy of the weird sisters regarding 
Banquo may come true makes him take action to pi-event its 
fulfilment. The partial failure of his plans, however, pi-oves 
too much for his disordei'ed imagination and he beti-ays 
himself before the assembled nobles at the banquet. To a 
man of Macbeth's temperament, lacking in mental control 
and unhappy unless in action, there is only one course left 



124 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT IV. 

open, the effort to escape the consequences of his crimes by- 
striking down blindly all those who attempt to oppose him or 
stand in his way. 

At the opening of Act III., Lady Macbeth appears in an 
unhappy, dejected mood — partly as a result of her own re- 
morse, but chiefly because she sees that Macbeth is brooding 
over his crimes. Her self control, however, never forsakes 
her, and both before the murder of Banquo and during the 
banquet, she uses all her resources in the attempt to control 
the mood of Macbeth and conceal his weaknesses. Wlien she 
sees that all is over, however, she gives way to a mood of utter 
dejection, which prepares the way for her "thick-coming 
fancies " in the final scene in which she appears in the play. 

Act IV. — Scene I. 

As the witches' prophecies and their fulfilment form the 
chief source of interest in the second half of the play, the 
dramatist takes special means in this scene to make the inter- 
view with the witches impressive. The witches' cauldron is 
introduced and the gruesome ingredients of the "hell-broth" 
are detailed in such a way as to make the avidience shudder at 
the charm. Each of the prophecies is accompanied by a 
mysterious apjjarition which renders it more impressive ; and 
the prophecies themselves ai-e so striking as to challenge the 
interest of the audience in their fulfilment. 

1. brinded. Brindled, streaked. 

2. hedge-pig. Hedge-hog. 

3. Harpier. This niay be a corruption of the word harpy. 
In mythology, a harpy was a monster with the face of a 
woman and the body of a bird of prey. 

6-8. It makes little difference whether we consider the verb 
to be lias stoeltered or has got. 

sweltered. Like a cold sweat. 

12. Fillet. A little strip or slice. 

fenny. Living in a bog or fen. 

14. newt. A small lizard. Originally this word was spelled 
ewt, but in the course of time the expression an eivt came t,o'Di 
written a netvt, and the form eiot disappeared. 



SCENE I.J NOTES ON MACBETH 125 

16. fork. The forked tongue. 

blind-worm. The slow-worm. In reality it has no sting. 

23. mummy. The dried carcase. 

maw and gulf. Stomach and throat or g>illet (gulf). 

24. ravin'd. Ravenous. 

27. yew. An evergreen, commonly found in cluuch yards, 
It was formerly thought to be poisonous. 

31. slab. Slimy. 

32. chaudron. Entrails. 

38. This speech of Hecate is also supposed to have been 
interpolated by Middleton. The song, "Black Spirits," is 
found in Middleton's play. The Witch. 

49. conjure. To call upon by oath. In modern English 
conjure (pr. kun'jer) means "to influence by magic," while 
conjure (pr. kon-jur') means "to call upon by oath." 

52. yesty. Yeasty, foaming. 

5.3. Confound. Destroy. 

navigation. Ships. 

at. bladed corn. Corn in the leaf or blade. 

lodged. Laid flat. 

58. nature's germens. The seeds of all life in Nature. 

59. sicken. Grow sick of destroying, 

62. 'em. This is not an abbreviation for them, but another 
form (if hey)i, the dative plural of the third person ])ronoini in 
Old English. 

64. Her nine farrow. Her litter of nine pigs. 

♦)7. deftly. Smartly. 

an armed head. The armed head is intended to lepresent 
Macbeth's head, cut off by Macduff. 

7.3. harp'd. Touclied upon, struck upon. 

70. a bloody Child. The bloody child is Macduff. See Act V., 
Scene VIII., U. 15-16. 

83. take a bond of fate. Just as we try to make certain that a 
man will pay a debt, by requiring him to give a A\Titten pronn'se 
(bond) ; so by killing Macduff, Macbeth will make certain that 
fate will fulfil its promise to him. 



126 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT IV. 

j(). a Child crowned. This refers to Malcolm, who afterwards 
became king. The tree in his hand refers to Birnam Wood. 

87-8. round and top. Referring to the shape and position of 
the crown, and also to the fact that the crown represents 
complete authority. 

92. The village of Birnam is about seven miles from Perth. 
Dvmsinane hill is about twelve miles from Birnam. 

94. impress. Force into his service. 

95. bodements. Prophecies. 

98. the lease of nature. For the natural term of life. 

98-9. pay his breath, etc. Die in due time, as all men must. 

105. noise. Music, — a common use of the word in Shake- 
peare's time. 

A show of eight kings. James I. of England and the Scottish 
kings who were his ancestors. Those shown in the mirror 
(glass) were the descendants of James. 

116. the crack of doom. The burst of thunder announcing 
the day of judgment. 

120. two-fold balls. This is supposed to refer to the double 
coronation of James I., at Scone and in London. 

treble sceptres. This probably refers to the fact that James 
was ruler over three kingdoms, England, Ireland, and 
Scotland. 

122. blood-bolter'd. His hair being matted (boltered) with 
blood. 

124-31. This speech was probably not written by Shakespeare. 

126. sprites. Spirits. 

129. antic round. The grotesque movements of the witches' 
dance. In these dances they were supposed to do everything 
in the opposite way from human beings. 

131. We gave hiin a proper welcome, as was our duty. 

143. anticipatest. Dost prevent, or forestall. 

144-5. It was his purpose to murder Macduff, but he has 
been forced to give up this purpose. The only way to prevent 
your purpose from escaping you is to carry it out at once. 

146-7. The things that I wish for most, shall be done first. 



SCENE II.] NOTES ON MACBETH l**;^ 

152. That trace him in his line. That follow hiiu in his lineage 
I'A. no more sights. Such as the witches had shown him. 

Questions. 

1. Do you think that the details as to the contents of the 
Ciiuldion are necessary in this scene? Why sh(mld the witches 
now make more elaborate preparations for the visit of 
Macbeth than they had made )n the first scene in the play? 

2. Point out the relation between the character of each 
apparition and the prophecy or warning which follows in 
eiich case. 

3. Tlie witches had told Mficbeth that "none of w-oman 
born" should harm him. Why then did he decide to attack 
Macduff? 

4. '* In calling down a curse upon the witches, Macbeth 
imconsciously calls down a curse upon himself." Explain. 

5. How do you iccount for the fact that Macbeth determined 
to kill the wife and children of Macduff? 

6. At the close of the banquet-scene, Macbeth had decided to 
visit the weird sisters because he was "bound to know by the 
w(3rst means the worst." What was "the worst" that he 
learned by his visit ? 

7. "Froni this moment the firstlings of my heart shall be 
the firstlings of my hand." What has led Macbeth to make 
this resolve? Point out in what respects this resolve is in 
keeping with Macbeth's character as seen in the earlier part 
of the play. 

Scene II. 

The second scene shows some of the details of the crime 
which Macbeth had resolved upon after his interview with the 
"Weird sistei"s. In the conversation that takes place between 
Lady Macduff and Ross it becomes clear that Macduff was 
guilty of a fearful error of judgment in leaving his wife and 
family unprotected while he fled to England. In the first half 
of the play Banrpio had been negligent in not protecting 
himself against Macbeth, and he had paid for his negligence 
with his own life. In the case of Macduff, however, it is 
because he is over-impulsive and over-hasty that the punish- 
ment falls upon him, and in this cime it falls upon him 



128 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT IV. 

indirectly. The conversation has a further purpose. It gives 
the audience the impression that conditions are rapidly 
becoming worse in Scotland ; and we are led to believe that 
the muider of the family of Macduff is, after all, only a single 
incident in the general misrule. 

3-4. Macduff had done nothing to make him a traitor to his 
country ; but his fears had led him to forsake his wife and 
children, and thus he was a traitor to them. 

7. titles. Everything to which he had a title or claim. 

9. the natural touch. The natural feeling of affection. 

11. Her young ones. In the nominative absolute construction. 

15. for. As for. 

17. the fits o' the season. "What is best suited to (befits) the 
times ; or perhaps fits means the uncertainties or changing 
circumstances of the times. 

19. do not know^ ourselves. Do not know ourselves to be 
traitors. 

hold rumour, etc. We are ready to believe rumours which 
are in accord with our fears. 

22. Each way and move. This expression is awkward. Some 
editions read, "And each way move." 

25. My pretty cousin. Ross turns to speak to the boy. 

29. my disgrace. I should disgrace myself by weeping. 

34. lime. A sticky substance used for catching birds. 

35. gin. Trap, or snare. 

36. Poor birds. There is a pun on the word poor (see line 34). 
The boy uses "poor" in the sense of lean, poor in flesh. 

48. swears and lies. Takes an oath and proves false to it. 
56. enow. Enough. 

65. in your state of honour I am perfect. I am perfectly aware 
of your noble rank. 

66. doubt. Fear. 

67. homely. Plain, of humble rank. 

69. methinks. It seems to me. 

70. To do w^orse. To leave you to meet your fate without 
warning you. 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 129 

82. shag-hair'd. "\\'ith rough shaggy hair. 

83. fry. Spawn, oi* offspring. 

Questions. 

1. Show in what way this scene contrihutes to the action ot 
the pUiy. In what way would the development of the plot be 
affected if the scene were omitted ? 

2. In speiiking of her husband, Lady ]\[acduff says, "His 
flight was madness ! " A^Hiat is your opinion of his action ? 

3. "Lady ISIacduff's son is an old-fashioned and rather un- 
natural boy." In what ways does this appear in the scene? 

4. T\'Tiy does the dramatist not represent the murder of 
Lady Macduff as taking place on the stage ? 

Scene III. 

This scene is generally omitted in the modern acting of the 
play. Yet it serves several important purposes in the develop- 
ment of the story. LJn the first place it gives the audience an 
opportunitjfto learn more about JNIalcolm and to satisfy them- 
selves that he will be a good king.7 In the second place it 
shows usithe effect upon Macduff of the news that Macbeth 
has nuu'dered his wife and children*^ Tlie audience are satisfied 
that Macduff has been punished for his rashness, and they are 
ready to SJ^npathize with him in his grief and in his desire for 
revenge. In the middle of the scene there is a slight digression, 
in which Malcolm speaks of King Edward's power to cure 
"the king's evil" by his toiich. This passage is intended, no 
doubt, to please the vanity of King James I., who had as- 
cended the English throne only a few years before this play 
was written. 

3. mortal. Deadly. 

4. Bestride. Stiind over it to defend it. 

6. that So that. 

8. Like syllable of dolour. Similar sounds of gi-ief. Like is an 
adjective. 

10. "VMien I shall find suitable opportunities. 

12. sole name. Very name, mere name. 



130 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT IV; 

14-5. You may earn his favour by betraying me. 

wisdom. It is wisdom. 

19-20. Even a good man may become corrupt in carrying 
put the king's commands. 

21. If you are good, my suspicions cannot make you evil. 

23-4. Malcolm says in effect, "There is no way of judging 
between persons who are really good and those who only have 
the appearance of being so ; and even though I suspect you, 
you may nevertheless be virtuous." 

the brows of grace. The appearance of goodness. 

26. rawness. Raw haste. 

27. motives. The fact that his wife and children were pre- 
ciovis should have been a reason (motive) for protecting them. 

knots. He was bound to them by love. 

29-30. I do not wish to dishonour you by my suspicions 
(jealousies) ; I am thinking only of my own safety. 

83. wear thou thy wrongs. Thou seems to refer to tyranny, 
rather than to country. The tyrant may now continue in 
his course of wrong-doing. His right (title) to do wrong is 
confirmed. 

34. affeer'd. Confirmed. This is a legal term, and has no 
connection with the word afeard. 

39. I think. I am aware. 

41. withal. Besides. 

51. particulars. Particular forms. 

55. confineless harms. Boundless evils. 

57. to top. To overtop, to exceed. 

59. Sudden. Violent. 

62-3. The man who gives himself up to boundless intemper- 
ance is subject to the tyranny of his own passions. 

In nature. Either, " in its nature," or "in one's nature." 

67. Convey your pleasures. Enjoy your pleasures in secret. 

68. the time. The people living at this time. 

70. ill-compos'd affection. Disposition made up of evil qualities, 

71. stanchless. Insatiable. 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 131 

79. summer-seeming. Short-lived; resembling the warmth of 
summer-time. 

81. foisons. Abundance (Latin fiindo, I pour). 

82. your mere ow^n. Absolutely your own. 

82-3. All these can be endured when counterbalanced by 
other good qualities. 

88. no relish of them. Not the slightest flavour, or trace, ol 
them. 

91. Banish peace and good-will from the earth. 

92. Uproar. Stir up to a tumult. 
97. untitled. Without rightful title. 

101. blaspheme his breed. Slander his parentage. 
104. Died. Became dead to her sins. 

108. Child of integrity. Macduff's emotion could have resulted 
only from his sincere and honest love of his country. 

111. trains. Ai'tifices, snares. 

118. For. As. 

128. at a point. Fully prepared, 

129-30. May our chances of success be proportionate to the 
justice of our quarrel. 

131. stay his cure. Wait to be healed by him. 

13t-5. convinces the great assay of art. Baffles all the attempts 
of the physician. 

137. presently. Immediately. 

138. the evil. Scrofula, which was called "the king's 
evil " because it was believed that it could be cured only by 
the king's touch. In speaking of Edward the Confessor, 
Holinshed says : " 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 the realm." 

144. mere. Absolute, complete. 

145. a golden stamp. In the reign t)f James I. an ordinary 
gold coin was used ; but in the reign of Charles II. a special 
" touch-piece " waa coined. 



132 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT IV, 

153. My countryman. Malcolm evidently recognizes him by 
his dress. 

158. Is Scotland in the same condition as it was ? 
162. who knows nothing. Infants or imbeciles. 
104. not mark'd. "Without attracting attention. 

165. A modern ecstasy. An ordinary state of feeling. 

166. for who. For whom. 

168. or ere. Or and ere are both derived from A.S. aer, 
meaning "before." The use of the two words gives greater 
emphasis. 

relation. Account, story. 

169. nice. Exact, full of minute details. 

171. There are so many crimes that the account of one that 
is an hour old is stale, and the speaker is hissed for telling it. 

172. teems. Brings forth. 

180. heavily. With a heavy heart. 

181. were out. "Were up in arms. 

182. w^itness'd the rather. Made more credible ; seemed more 
likely to be true. 

183. pow^er. Forces. 
186. doff. Put off. 

190. none. There is none. 

191. gives out. Has to show^. 

194. latch. Catch. 

195. general cause. Public welfare. 

a fee-grief. A grief that affects a single person. Land held 
in fee is property that has a private owner. 

202. possess them with. Put them into possession of. 

206. quarry. Dead bodies ; game that has been killed. 

209-10. Grief that does not find an outlet in words causes 
the over-burdened heart to break. Supply to after "whispers." 

212. must. Was destined to be. Past tense. 

216. He has no children. He may refer to either Malcolm or 
Macbeth. Macbeth had one son, but he is not referred to in 
the play. ^ 



SCENE III.] NOTES ON MACBETH 133 

217-9. The kite is a bii-d of prey. Notice the figviie of speech 
in these three lines. 

220. Dispute it. Fight against yoiu* grief. 

22.J. naught. "Worthless, good for nothing. 

229. Convert. Change. 

235. Heaven forgive him too. Tliis may mean " If he escape 
me, nuiy he escape the vengeance of Heaven too;" or else. 
" May Heaven forgive him for his crime, as well as me for 
mine." 

237. The only thing that is lacking is oui* leave-taking. 

238. ripe for shaking. Ready to be shaken down like fruit 
from a tiee. 

239. Put on. Urge forward. 

their instruments. Macduff, Malcolm, Siwai d, and the others. 

Questions. 

1. (a) What reason has Malcolm to doubt the sincerity of 
Macduff? 

(b) How does he put Macduff's sincerity to the test ? 

2. On what different occasions has Malcolm already appeared 
in the i)lay? In what respects has he changed since his first 
aj^pearance, in Act I. ? 

3. In order that the audience may fully sympathize with 
Malcolm, they must be satisfied that ho will prove to i)e a 
good king. What means does the dramatist nse to satisfy 
them on this point? 

4. "Tlie picture of the good King Edward stands out in 
strong contrast to that of JNIacbeth as jjortrayed in this scene." 
Quote the expressions that are used to describe Macbeth and 
King Edward respectively. 

5. "WTiat purpose is served in this scene by the arrival of 
Ross and the announcement to Macduff of the nnirdcr of his 
wife and childien ? 

6. " lie has no children ! " What does this mean as applied 
to Macbeth and to Malcolm respectively ? 



134 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT V, 

Summary of Act IV. 

The three scenes of Act IV. do not in themselves form a 
distinct division of tlie story. They are rather intended as 
a preparation for the dramatic movement of Act V. The 
prophecies of the weird sisters have the effect of making 
Macbeth over-confident. If he had not trusted these prophe- 
cies he might not have gone so far as to murder the family of 
Macduff ; and if it had not been for this murder Macduff 
would not have had the same motive for pursuing Macbeth, 
or the saine strength in fighting against him. 

Act V. — Scene I. 

Since the close of the banquet scene Macbeth has added to 
his hst of crimes tlie most terrible of all, the murder of tlie 
wife and family of Macduff ; and as a result of his crimes he 
has been forced to prepare to pvit down a revolt among his 
subjects. During this interval we have seen nothing of Lady 
Macbeth, but we are told by tlie waiting gentlewoman that 
from the time that Macbeth "went into the field" she had 
walked in her sleep and had shown both by words and actions 
that she was suffering intensely in mind. 

In the midst of the talk between the doctor and the gentle- 
woman, she enters, and in the scene that follows there is 
gathered up the greater part of the real tragedy of the play. 
It is evident that in her sleep-walking she is living over the 
horrors of the past — the murder of Duncan, the banquet-scene, 
the death of Macduff's wife ; and in the exclamation "Hell is 
murky " there is a flash of her own terror of mind when she 
thinks of her own punishment for the deed. The under- 
current running through all her speeches is the horror of 
blood, — the outward and visible sign of the crimes that she 
and her husband have committed. T\Tien Lady Macbeth 
passes out we feel that her crime has brought with it a jvist, 
though terrible, punishment. 

4. went into the field. Took command of his army. 

5. nightgown. Dressing-gown. 

10. do the effects of watching. Perform the same actions as 
when awake. 



SCENE II. J NOTES ON MACBETH 135 

12. actual. Acts as opposed to words. 

45. Go to. An expression commonly used in reproof. 

61-2. sorely charged. Heavily burdened. 

61. on's. Of his. 

73. the means of all annoyance. Every thing by which she 
might harm herself. 

74. still. Constantly. 

75. mated. Bewildered. In the game of chess when a player 
is unable to move his king he is said to be checkmated, and 
this means that he loses the game. The word mated as here 
used is derived from the word clteckmate. 

Questions. 

1. "WTiat does the conversation between the doctor and the 
gentlewoman contribute to this scene ? 

2. (a) "UTiat is Lady Macbeth's object in taking out the 
paper and writing upon it? 

(6) Why does she keep a light by her continually ? 

3. Point out the expressions in Lady Macbeth's speeches 
that refer to (a) the murder of Duncan, (6) the murder of 
Banquo, and (r) the murder of Lady Macduff. Which of these 
crimes seems to be uppermost in her mind ? 

4. (a) ""UTiat, will these hands ne'er be clean?" (6) "What's 
done cannot be undone." 

What speech of Lady Macbeth in the earlier part of the 
play does each of these expressions call up ? 

5. WTiat, in your opinion, wore Shakespeare's reasons for 
introducing this sleep-walking scene into the play, instead of 
a scene in which Lady Macbeth should appear as her natural 
self in her waking moments? 

Scene IL 

In previous scenes we were told that the Scottish nobles 
had revolted against Macbeth. In this scene we meet for the 
first time with the army of Menteith, Angus, Lennox and the 
other nobles, and incidentally we learn something fmther 
regai-ding the relations that exist between Macbeth and his 
ffubjecta. 



136 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT V. 

3. their dear causes. Tlie causes which they have at heart. 

4. the bleeding and the grim alarm. Bloody and fierce warfare, 
alarm. Literally, a call to arms. 

5. the mortified man. This may mean, "even a dead man;'' 
or mortified may mean simply one Avho is dead to the Avorld 
and takes no interest in worldly affairs. 

8. file. List. 

10. unrough. Unbearded. 

11. Protest. Give evidence of. 

15-6. The figure is that of a human body so swollen and 
diseased that the belt which is ordinarily worn cannot be 
buckled on. 

distempered cause. Disorganized, disordered affairs w^hich he 
cannot control (rule). 

18. minutely. Every minute. 

faith-breach. The way he has broken faith ■with his subjects. 

20. Nothing. Not at all. 

title. His title of king, to ^vhich he has not lived up. 

23. pestered. Troubled. 

24. all that is within him. Ilis thoughts and memories. 

27. the medicine of the sickly weal. The cure for our sick 
country ; referring to Malcolm. 

weal. Commonwealth. 

30. dew. Water, to make it grow. 

Questions. 

1. Why are the Scottish forces represented as marching 
towards Birnam ? 

2. Show what this scene contributes to the action of the play. 

Scene III. 

Scene III. shows us Macbeth's state of mind after he has 
shut himself up in Dunsinane Castle. He is evidently in a 
mood of extreme irritation and dejection ; but in the midst of 
this dejection he sbows flashes of his old courage ; and his 



SCENE III.J NOTES ON MACBETH ISI 

relijince on the prophecies of the weird sisters is such t h;it he 
decides to fight it out against all odds. 

I. Macheth has learned that his followers ai-e deserting him. 
3. taint. Be infected. 

5. All mortal consequences. All the events in luiinaii affairs, 
pronounced me. Announced to me. 

8. epicures. Enjoying the pleasures of editing and drinking. 
Epicurus was a Greek philosopher who taught that pleasure is 
the end of life ; but according to Epictunis the highest i)leasure 
is found in meditation and contemplation, rather than in the 
enjoyment of sensual pleasuies. 

9. I sway by. By which I am swayed or governed. 

10. sag. Droop. 

II. cream-faced. White with fear, 
loon. A stu{)id, clumsy fellow. 
15. lily-liver'd. Cowardly, 

patch. Fool, clown ; an allusion to the motley gai-ments that 
were wcn-n by professional jesters. 

17. counsellors to fear. "Will make others feel afraid. 

10. Seyton. Macbeth is calling for Seyton, his armour- 
bearer. 

2(j. push. The attack which the English are making. 

21. disease. Rob me of my ease, — the opposite of cheer. In 
some editions chair and disseat are substituted for cheer and 
discdsc. 

22. my way of life. The course of my life. 
Zi. sear. Withered. 

3.5. skirr. Scour. 

42. Raze out. Erase. 

43. oblivious. Causing forgetfulness. 

50. Come, sir, dispatch. Mi'cbeth is speaking to bir, servant, 
telling hiiu to hurry. Distinguish the meanings? of dispatch 
and denpalch. 

50-1. In the figure used here there is a T-efcrciuf! to tlie 
means conunonly used to dis(;()ver disease of the kidneys. 
Her refers to Scotland. 



138 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT V. 

52. pristine health. Health enjoyed in former times. 

54. Puirt off. Pull off my armour. 

55. Rhubarb and senna are used as purgative medicines. 
59. bane. Ruin. 

Questions. 

1. Red blood was looked upon as a sign of courage, and 
whiteness as a sign of cowardice. Point out the different 
expressions that Macbeth uses to suggest that his servant is 
cowardly. 

2. "In spite of his reliance upon the prophecies of the weird 
sisters, Macbeth is filled with doubt and anxiety as to the 
future." Explain this statement by reference to Macbeth's 
words and actions in this scene. 

3. "In spite of Macbeth's crimes, Shakespeare does not wish 
the audience to lose all sympathy with him." Point out 
any details in this scene that are intended to appeal to the 
sympathy of the audience. 

4. "What purpose is served by introducing the doctor into 
this scene? 

Scene IV. 

This short scene serves to reassure the audience as to the 
approach of the English ; and at the same time it prepares us 
for the scene following, in which the messenger announces to 
Macbeth that Birnam Wood does "come to Dunsinane." 

2. chambers -will be safe. From mvirderers and spies. 

6-7. make discovery err. Cause those who are sent out to 
discover our numbers to make a mistake. 

11. Wherever they get an advantage or opportunity to 
desert they do so. 

12. more and less. Great and small. 

13. constrained things. Creatures who are forced to serve him. 
14-5. We shall have to await the result of the battle before 

we can judge accurately ; in the meantime let us do our best 
as soldiers. 

just censures. Accurate judgments. 

Attend. Await. 



SCENE v.] NOTES ON MACBETH 139 

18. what we owe. '\\1iat we really own (owe) or possess. 

19-20. '^^'^len we indulge in conjectures (thoughts specula- 
tive) we only state what we hope will take place. It is only 
by actual fighting that we can decide (arbitrate) the result for 
a certainty. 

Questions. 

1. Contrast the mood of Malcolm, Macduff, and Si ward, in 
this scene, with that of Macbeth in the previous scene. 

2. Point out the details in this scene that help to strengthen 
the belief of the audience that the downfall of Macbeth is 
certain. 

Scene V. 

At the opening of Scene V. Macbeth announces his resolve 
to stand siege in the castle. Then comes the news that Lady 
Macbeth is dead, and at the same time a messenger brings 
him word that Birnam "Wood is actually moving towards 
Dunsinane. To a man of Macbeth's temperament, his only 
safety appears to be in action, and he i-esolves to go forth to 
fight the enemy instead of remaining in the castle as a prey to 
his own gloomy thoughts. 

5. forced. Reinforced, strengthened. 

10. cool'd. It would have made my blood lun cold. 

11. fell. Skin, scalp. 

12. treatise. Story. 
14. Direness. Horror. 

17. Should is used in the sense of xvould. She would have 
died some time anyway. So Brutus says in Julius Ccesar : — • 

" With meditating that she must die once, 
I have the patience to endure it now." 

18. such a word. Such a word as "death." 

19-23. Oay by day, little by little, time passes, and men will 
continue to die in the future, just as others have died in the 
past. 

23. dusty death. " Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou 
return." (Gen. iii., 19.) 

candle. Life is compared to a caudle. 



140 NOTES ON MACBETH [aCT V. 

24. shadow. Having no real substance. 

28. Signifying nothing. Having no meaning. 

33. As I did stand my watch. "V\niile I was on duty as sentinel. 

34. anon. By and by. 

40. cling thee. Shrivel thee up. 

42. I pull in resolution. I begin to feel less resolute. 

50. estate. Settled order. 

51. wrack. Wreck, ruin. 

52. harness. Armour. 

Questions. 

1. To what different emotions does Macbeth give expression 
in this scene ? 

2. How does Macbeth receive the news of the Queen's death ? 
How do you account for the fact that he does not seem to feel 
any personal grief ? 

3. "At least we'll die with harness on our back." (a) Ex- 
plain at least. (6) What light does this line throw upon 
Macbeth's character ? 

Scene VI. 

Scene VI. is merely intended to announce the arrival of the 
English forces, and to prepare us for the following scenes. 

2. show. Appear. 

4. battle. Battalion, division. 

6. order. Arrangement. 

7. Do we but find. If only we find. 
10. harbingers. Heralds. 

Scene VII. 

Tlie Siward incident in this scene is introduced into the 
play apparently for the purpose of setting into greater relief 
the struggle with Macduff in the scene following. The death 
of young Siward gives Macbeth ci gleam of hope that the 
remaining prophecy of the Weird Sisters may still hold true ; 
but at the sarue time the surrender of the castle makes it 



SCENE VIII.] NOTES ON MACBETH 141 

quite clear to the audience that the struggle between MactlufE 
and ^lacbeth can have but one ending. 

1-2. Bear-baiting was a common spoit in Shakespeare's 
time. Only a ceitain ninnber of dogs weie allowed to attack 
the bear at one time. Each attack was called a course. 

7. Than any is. Than any (that) is. 

16. still. Ever. 

17. kerns. I.ight-armed soldiers. 

18. staves. Lances. 

20. undeeded. Unused. 

21. note. Importance. 

22. bruited. Announced, leported. 

24. gently rendered. Given u]> without resistance. 
27. professes. Declares. 

29. strike beside us. Fight on our side ; or jjerhaps, strike so 
as to miss us. 

QUESTIOXS. 

1. In this strug ;le we are interested chiefly in the fortunes 
of ^Macbeth, Macduff and Malcolm. '\\Tiat do we learn of each 
in this scene? 

2. " In these closing scenes of the play, although the audi- 
ence know that the punishment of Macbeth is just, the 
dramatist nevertheless contrives to awaken a feeling of pity 
for him." Point out any expressions in Scenes V. and VII. 
tliat aie intended either to remind the audience of Macbeth's 
crimes or to awaken sympathy for him. 

3. Point out the dramatic significance of Mjicbeth's struggle 
with young Siwtird and the death of the latter. 

Scene VIII. 

Tlie audience are iccidy to anticipate the outcome of Mac- 
beth's struggle with Macduff in the final scene of the play. But 
there are nevertheless a number of conditions which render 
the struggle interesting. Macbeth, on the one hand, is a man 
of great pliysical prowess ; and in his fight against Macduff 
fate seems to be on his side, for he has been told l)y the Wi>ird 
Sisters that 'none of woman bora shall harm Macbeth.' 



142 NOTES ON MACBETH [ACT V. 

Macduff, on the other hand, is impelled by the desire for 
revenge, and under these conditions the struggle bids fair to 
be equal. But before the fight is well begun, Macbeth learns 
that the witches' prophecy is once more false and that Macduff 
is not ' a man of woman born ' ; and though he still fights with 
something of his old courage there is no longer any doubt as 
to how the struggle must end. 

1. The Roman fool. Among the great Romans who took 
their own lives were Cato, Brutus, Cassius, and Antony. 

2. lives. Living men. 

3. Do better upon them. Are better upon them than upon me. 

4. else. There is a confusion of construction here. 

5. charged. Bm-dened. 

8. Than terms can give thee out. Than words can describe 
thee. 

9. intrenchant. That cannot be cut, or divided. 
14. angel. Guardian spirit, demon. 

still. Ever. 

18. my better part of man. The better part of my spirit. 

20. palter. Equivocate. 

26. Painted upon a pole. Painted upon a cloth attached to a 
pole, as at a circus. 

29. baited. Tormented, as in bear-baiting. 

34. him. He would be the correct form here. 

36. gooff. Die. 

40. but. Repeats the sense of only. 

41-3. He held his post without shrinking from danger, and 
as soon as he had proved by his covu'ageous deeds that he had 
reached his full manhood, he died. 

41. The which. The was formerly used to give greater 
definiteness to the pronoim which, 

52. he parted well, etc. He took his leave of life in a becoming 
way ; he did his duty and owed nothing to life. 



summary] notes on MACBETH 143 

55. the time is free. Shakespeai-e constantly speaks i)f the 
time to signify the people living at the time. 

56. pearl. All that is best in your kingdom ; the flower of 
the nobility. 

61. reckon with. Repay. 

65. TMaich should be iindei-tiiken at the beginning of this 
new period. 

68. Producing forth. Bringing to justice. 

72. That calls upon us. That we should do. 

Questions. 

1. *' In the closing scenes of the play the dramatist contrives 
to relieve the blackness of Macbeth's character by a series of 
skilful touches, which helps to some extent to reconcile the 
audience towards him." 

Justify this statement by reference to particular passages in 
this scene. 

2. Why does the dramatist not represent the triumph of 
Macduff and the death of Macbeth as taking place on the 
stage? 

3. Why does Shakespeare think it necessary to introduce 
the conversation regarding the death of young Siward in this 
scene ? 

4. (a) T\Tiat dramatic purpo.^e is served by the concluding 
speech of Malcolm in the plav? 

(h) We are told in 11. 70-71 that Lady Macbeth was thought 
bo have taken her own life. Why is this detail necessary ? 

5. Which, in your opinion, received the greater punishment, 
Macbeth or Lady Macbeth ? Discuss in some detail. 

SuMMAKY OF Act V. 

With the conclusion of Act IV. Macbeth's career of crime, as 
far as the play is concerned, is practically complete. Act V. 
deals almost wholly with the punishment which falls upon 
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as a result of their crimes. In 



144 NOTES OX MACBETH [aCT V. 

the case of Lady Macbeth this punishment takes the form of 
mental suffering ; and although she does not appear again 
directly in the play, except in the sleep-walking scene, we 
learn from the doctor that "she is troubled with thick-coming 
fancies that keep her from her rest ; " and at the close of the 
play we are given to understand that in a fit of madness she 
had taken her own life. In the case of Macbeth the punish- 
ment for his crimes takes a diffeient form. He had risked 
all for the sake of place and power, and now he feels that 
the things that are really worth having "as honour, love, 
obedience, troops of friends" he "must not look to have.'' 
And in the end even the physical strength and coiu-age upon 
which he staked everything proved insufficient to save him 
from the vengeance of Macduff. 



QUESTIONS ON "MACBETH' 

FROM EXAMINATION PAPERS 



Pass Matriculation 

1. "Wliat are the three great crimes of Macbeth ? Point out 
carefully how they differ in character. Show by definite refer- 
ences to the play how far the Weird Sisters influenced Macbeth to 
commit each of the crimes. 

2. (a) Point out carefully the effect produced by the prophecy of 
the Weird Sisters on Banquo and on Macbeth. 

(6) To what extent did Lady Macbeth influence her husband to 
murder Duncan? What part did she take in the actual murder? 
What do you think was her motive in the crime ? Give reasons for 
your answer. 

3. The time has been, my senses would have cool'd 
To hear a night-shriek ; and my fell of hair 
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir 

As life were in 't : I have supp'd full with horrors ; 
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, 
Cannot once start me. 

(a) Explain the change in Macbeth's character which he himself 
points out in these words. 

(6) Explain the following words and phrases: — "My senses 
would have cool'd," "to hear a night-shriek," "fell of hair," "a 
dismal treatise," "supp'd full with horrors," "Direness," "start." 

4. After the scene in which Lady Macbeth faints, on what 
occasions does she apjjear in the play, or do other characters refer 
to ht'r ? Discuss each of these appearances or references in 
relation to Lady Macbeth's character. 

5. ('«) Outline briefly the events in the play of Machfih which 
take j)lace between the reading by Lady Macbetli of her husband's 
letter in which he announces his meeting with the witches (Act L, 

145 



146 QUESTIONS ON "MACBETH'* 

Sc. 5) and MacdufFs discovery that Duncan has been murdered 
(Act II., Sc. 3). 

(b) Is it fitting and effective that the scene of Duncan's murder 
should be followed by the porter scene ? Discuss. 

Entrance into the Normal Schools 

1. Lady M. Noiighfs had, all's apentj 

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, 

Using those thoughts which should indeed have died 

With them they think on ? Things without all remedy 

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

Macb. We have scotch'd the snake ; not kill'd it : 
She'll 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 suffer^ 
Ere we will eat our m,eal 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 
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave ; 
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well ; 
Treason has dcme 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 briglit and jovial among your guests to-night. 

(a) State the circumstances under which these speeches an. 
uttered. 

(b) Compare Lady Macbeth's attitude of mind before Macbeth'a 
entrance with that afterwards. Account for the "bange. 



QUESTIONS ON "MACBETH" 147 

(c) What does this extract show regarding Macbeth's state of 
miiid ? 

(d) What contrast in the characters of the two is revealed ? 

(e) Select from the extract a passage spoken by each, showing 
that in reality they share the same opinion. 

(/) Explain the meaning of the italicized parts. 

2. (a) Trace carefully the changes in the mental attitude of 
Macbeth from the opening of the plaj'^ till the murder of Duncan. 

(6) What purposes do the following incidents serve in the de- 
velopment of tlie plot : — 

(i) Tlie porter's soliloquy (II., 3). 

(ii) The murder of Lady Macduff and her children (IV., 2). 
(iii) The sleep-walking scene (V., 1). 

3. ((t) What were Lady Macbeth's motives in the murder of the 
king? 

(b) How far was she responsible fur tliis murder ? 

(c) What was the nature of her influence over her husband after 
the murder ? 

(d) Wliat punishments did Macbeth suffer for his crimes ? 

4. Wliat are the motives and the circumstances influencing 
Macbetli in (a) the murder of Duncan ; {b) the murder of Banquo ; 
(c) the attempt to nuirder Macduff? 

Honour Matriculation and Entrance into the Faculties 
of Education 

1. (a) Show h(jw tlie prophecies of the witches influenced the 
actions of Macbeth. 

(6) What dramatic purpose is served by introducing tlie murder 
of Lady Macduff and her cliild ? 

(c) On what occasions does Lady Macbeth appear in the play t 
Give the dramatic purpose of each appearance. 

2. (a) State the features of Macbeth's character that fit him to 
be the hero of a Shakesperean tragedy. Illustrate. 



''148 QUESTIONS ON "MACBETH" 

(6) Cite all the things said and done by Lady Macbeth in the 
sleep-walking scene in Macbeth that are manifest echoes of sayings 
and incidents in the earlier parts of the play, referring to the 
li^tter in each case. 

3. Act I. — Scene I. 

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

First Witch. When shall we three meet again 
In thunder, lightning, or in rain ? 

Sec. Witch. When the hnrlybui-ly's done, 
When the battle's lost and won. 

Third Witch. That W'ill be ere the set of sun. 

First Witch. Where the place 'i 

Sec. Witch. Upon the heath. 

Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth. 

First Witch. I come, Graymalkin ! 

Sec. Witch. Paddock calls. 

Third Witch. Anon. 

All. Fair is foul, and foul is fair ; 
Hover through the fog and filthy air. [Exeunt. 

(a) What feelings did Shakespeare probably intend to awaken in 
his audience by this scene ? 

(b) What details of the scene contribute directly to the de- 
velopment of these feelings ? 

(c) Comment on the dramatic significance of the line, 

' ' Fair is foul, and foul is fair. " 

4. Write notes on the following topics : — 

(a) The supposed indications that Macbeth himself was the 
third murderer in the attack on Banquo. 

(6) The character of Ross contrasted with that of Macduff as 
shown in the events immediately following the murder of Duncan. 

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 kindyiess 

To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great. 



QUESTIONS ON " MACBETH " 1-19 

Art not without ambition, but without 

27ie illness sho\tld attend it : what thou wouldst highly, 

That icouldst thou holilij ; wouldst not play false, 

And yet wouldst wrongly win : thou 'Idst have, great Glamia, 

That which cries " Thus thou must do, if thou have it ; " 

And tliat which rather thou dost fear to do 

Than wishest should be inidone. Hie thee hither, 

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, 

And chastise with the valour of my toiujue 

All that impedes thee from the golden round. 

Which fate and metaphiisical aid doth seem 

To have thee crown'd withal. 

5. (a) Who is speaking ? In what circumstances are the lines 
spoken ? 

(5) Explain the italicized parts, 

(c) Show by definite references to Macbeth's later conduct how 
far this analysis of his character is correct. 

6. What were the influences, motives and circumstances that 
broucjht about each of tlie three great crimes of Macbeth ? How 
do these three crimes differ in character from one another ? 

7. Trace the changes in the spiritual life of Lady Macbeth from 
the receipt of the letter announcing Duncan's visit, to the sleep- 
walking scene, — noting her state of mind (i) before, during and 
after the murder of Duncan ; (ii) before, during and after the 
banquet scene. 

8. " The witches whose contribution to the atmosphere of Macbeth 
can hardly be exaggerated are credited with far too great an 
iuHuence on the action. Sometimes they are descril)ed as god- 
desses, or even as fates, whom Macbeth is powerless to resist. 
This is perversion ! " 

Using the foregoing quotation as a basis, give an estimate A the 
part that the witches play in Macbeth. 

9. Mach. Both of you 
Know Banquo was your enemy. 

Both Mnr. True, my lord. 

Macb. So is he mine ; and in such bloody distance, 



{50 QUESTIONS ON "MACBETH" 

That every minute of his being thrusts 
Against my nearest life : and though I could 
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight 
And hid my will avouch it, yet I must not. 
For certain friends that are both his and mine. 
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall 
Who I myself struch 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. 

Perform what you command us. 

First Mnr. 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 rpy o' the time. 
The moment on 't ; for 't must be done to-night, 
And something from the palace ; always thought 
That I require a clearness : and with him — 
To leave no rubs nor botches in the work — ■ 
Fleance his son, that keeps him company. 
Whose absence is no less material to me 
Than is his father's, must embrace the fate 
Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart : 
I'll come to you anon. 

Both Mur. We are resolved, my lord. 

Macb. I'll call upon you straight : abide within. 

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

(a) Explain the figure of speech miplied in the expression "in 
such bloody distance that every minute of his being thrusts against 
my near'st of life. " 

Q>) Explain the meaning of the italicized expressions, 
(c) Comment on the use of rhyme in the last two lines. 



QUESTIONS ON " MACBETH " 151 

10. Come, seeling night, 
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day ; 

And with thy bloody and invisible hand 

Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond 

Which keeps me pale ! Light thickens ; and the crow 

Makes wing to the rooky wood : 

Good things of d.iy begin to droop and drowse ; 

Wliiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse. 

(a) Under what circumstances were these words uttered ? 

(6) " That great bond." What was the " great bond " ? 

(c) What side of Macbeth's character appears in the language? 
of this passage ? Give two details that illustrate your answer. 

(d) In this passage point out any variations from the normal 
iambic pentameter line. 

11. (a) Indicate the evil eflFects of the murder of Duncan on the 
character and fortunes of Macbeth. 

(6) In the sleep-walking scene, select five details that show the 
strong impression made upon Lady Macbeth's mind by her earlier 
experiences. Refer in each case to the passages in the earlier part 
of the play which are recalled to the reader by the details selected. 



SUBJECTS FOR COMPOSITION 



1. The Temptation of Macbeth (a study of Act I.). 

2. The Weird Sisters. 

3. " The gracious Duncan." 

4. The Visit of Duncan to Macbeth's Castle. 

P Macbeth (as he appeared immediately before tlie murder of 
Duncan, immediately after the murder, and upon tlie discovery of 
the murder). 

C. " 'Twas a rough night." 

7. Macbeth and Banquo (a contrast). 

8. The scene following upon the discovery of the murder (aa 
viewed by the audience). 

9. Lady Macbeth: 

(a) Her ambition. 

(6) Her strength of will. 

(c) Her influence on Macbeth. 

(d) The feminine side of her character. 

(e) Her physical appearance. 

10. Macbeth's Interview with the Murderers (as described by 
one of the audience). 

11. The Murder of Banquo (the causes which led up to it, the 
actual murder, and the results). 

12. The Banquet Scene (as it appears to the audience when the 
ghost enters for the first time). 

13. The Murders of Duncan and Banquo (a comparison). 

14. "Nought's had, all's spent, 

Where our desire is got without content. " (Illustrate by 
reference to the play. ) 

152 



SUBJECTS FOR COMPOSITION 153 

15. Fleance tells his story. 

16. Lennox and Ross (as they appear throughout the play). 

17. The Apparitions in tlie ^Vitches' Cavern. 

18. " Security is mortals' chiefest enemy." (Illustrate by refer- 
ence to Duncan, Banquo, MucJuft'and Macbeth.) 

19. The Murder of Lady Macduff (the events which led to it, 
and its results). 

20. " Things bad begun make strong themselveu by ill." 

21. The Soliloquies of Macbeth. 

22. The Conversation between Malcolm and ]Macduff at the 
Engli.sh Court (as described by some one "who saw the meeting, 
the gestures, expressions, etc., but who could not hear what 
was said). 

23. Macduff. (Trace his actions throughout the play.) 

24. " Tliere's no art to find the mind's construction in tlie face." 
Illustrate by reference to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.) 

25. Macduff and Banquo (a comparison). 

26. Macbeth's Physical Courage (as shown throughout the play). 

27. The Supernatural in Macbeth, 

28. Malcolm. 

29. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (a contrast). 

30. The Prophecies and their Fulfilment. 



STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 

The plaj's of Shakespeare were written to be acted, 
and they are much more effective when put upon the 
stage than when merely read in class. In some schools, 
where there is a large staff and a large number of students 
and a good auditorium, it is possible to stage a complete 
play; and even in the smaller schools individual scenes 
may be put on with very little outlay for costume or 
scenery. 

The simplest form of dramatic production consists 
merely in reading or reciting single scenes from a play 
of Shakespeare before the class, without special costumes 
or scenery, during the lesson period; and an occasional 
period spent in this way is a pleasing variation from the 
routine of class work. But needless to say, before any 
attempt is made tc act scenes from the play in this way, 
they must be studied in class. The teacher, in this case, 
assigns the parts beforehand; the pupils learn the 
speeches and study how they should be spoken, and 
one or two practices are held after school hours to make 
the acting run smoothly. Sometimes two casts are chosen 
for the same scene, and it is a matter of rivalry to see 
which group of actors can produce the scene more 
effectively. 



Z STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 

In schools where the teacher and pupils decide to 
stage a play in whole or in part for public performance, 
some sort of dramatic organization is required. If 
there is a dramatic club in the school it will naturally 
take full charge of the production; but, if not, the 
teacher and class must take the first steps to arrange for 
the play. 

The first thing to be done is to select the play, and if 
possible it should be one that has been studied in class. 
The dramatic production should be the outgrowth of 
class work, and the w'ould-be actor must make a study 
of the characters, the development of the plot, the 
structure of the play and the purpose of each scene. 
He must have studied the play so thoroughly that he 
knows the exact meaning of every expression, and is 
able to interpret the feelings of the various speakers in 
the play. 

In any dramatic organization, the most important 
person is the director or stage-manager of the play, who 
is usually also the "coach," w'ho gives instruction to 
the actors. The director has full charge of the production 
of the play, the rehearsals, the scenery and stage effects, 
the costumes, etc., etc. He must, of course, be assisted 
by various committees, but he directs their w^ork and 
his decisions are in all cases final. He should not only 
have some knowledge of how to stage a play, but should 
have certain indispensable personal qualities such as 
tact, good humour, executive ability and decision. It 
is desirable, for obvious reasons, that some member 
of the staff should be the director of the school play: 
but experience and knowledge of stage production is the 
first consideration. The director, of course, does not 
himself take part in the play. 



STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 3 

Next to the director, or stage-manager, the most 
important member of the organization is the "prompter", 
who is usually assistant stage-manager. He must be 
thoroughly familiar with the play, and in addition to 
his general services, it is his duty to prompt the actors 
at rehearsals and on the night of the performance. 

The manager is assisted by a committee of students, 
each with specific duties. Different students, or com- 
mittees of students, are given charge of: — 

(a) The scenery, including the carpenter work 

and the curtain. 
(6) The lighting, and electrical devices. 

(c) The stage properties, — i.e. the furnishings and 
small articles — everything, in fact, except the 
costumes and scenery. 

(d) The costumes. 

(e) The music, including the orchestra. 
(/) The make-up. 

(g) The business details, advertising, printing, sale 
of tickets, ushers, etc. 

It is necessary to guard against over-organization 
and over-lapping; and the director must use his discretion 
as to how many assistants are required. 

In general, a play of Shakespeare is much too long 
for presentation on a modern stage, and even in single 
scenes certain parts may be cut out to advantage. The 
play must be studied carefully by the director, either 
with or without the class, in order to decide what scenes 
may be omitted and how the speeches may be shortened. 
As a result of this revision, an acting edition of the play 
is produced. It is better if possible, to give to each actor 



A STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 

a typewritten copy of his own part in the play, rather 
than have him rely on the text as a whole. 

One of the first duties of the director is to choose a 
cast for the play, and in making the selection he may be 
assisted by a committee of two or three judges. At 
the "try-out," those who wish to take part in the play 
are required to read a scene, or part of a scene, which 
they have prepared. In assigning parts to different 
students, the judges must take into account (a) the 
voice, — its carrying power, tone, flexibility, etc. |(6) 
ability of the actor to enter into the spirit of the play, to 
feel the part he acts, and (c) his physical suitability for the 
part. No student should accept a part in the play 
unless he can give an assurance that he will attend the 
rehearsals faithfully and punctually. There should be 
a definite understanding on this point before the cast 
is completed. 

Usually at least twelve or fifteen rehearsals are re- 
quired, that is about three a week for five or six weeks. 
The first two or three rehearsals are given over to 
blocking out the action. The actors read their parts, 
and the director gives instructions as to entrances, exits, 
movements, acting, and stage "business." At these 
rehearsals no attention is paid to the speaker's voice 
or expression, but the actors must become familiar with 
their positions and movements on the stage, and the same 
routine must be followed at subsequent rehearsals. 
After this preliminary work has been done, the play 
must be studied scene by scene and line by line for the 
purpose of securing the proper interpretation and 
expression. The first Act is rehearsed repeatedly before 
proceeding with the second. When the acting and the 
reading go hand in hand, the actors learn their lines with 



STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 3 

little effort, and at the end of the first week, Act I 
should be letter-perfect. It is not always necessary to 
have the full cast present at the rehearsals, for single 
speeches and single scenes may sometimes be rehearsed 
to better advantage when only those immediately con- 
cerned are present. During the w'eek immediately pre- 
ceding thv3 final performance, rehearsals arc held every 
evening, and the "dress" rehearsals on the last two or 
three evenings should be held in the hall or theatre where 
the play is to be acted. 

It is impossible within the limits of a few pages, to 
give detailed instructions regarding staging and acting; 
but there are one or two general directions which it is 
well for the actors to keep in mind: 

For those who are taking part in the play the all- 
important thing is that they should feel the parts that 
they are acting. The actor who loses himself in his part 
is scarcely conscious of his audience, and he has no 
temptation to declaim. He speaks naturally, usually in 
a conversational tone, and he gives free expression to 
his emotions, "Did you see Kean in Othello?" some one 
asked Kemble. "No," replied Kemble, "I did not see 
Mr. Kean. I saw Othello." The student who enters so 
completely into the play that he forgets himself in the 
part that he is acting is Ukely, on the whole, to prove a 
better actor than the student who merely recites his 
lines. His speech is less hurried; his acting is more 
natural ; he does not make unnecessary movements, and 
he does not let his eyes wander from the stage to the 
audience. He must, however, always bear in mind that 
his speech must be heard by the audience. This necessi- 
tates clear enunciation and proper voice-control; and 



S STAGING A PLAY OF SHAKESPEARE 

the actor must always occupy a position on the stage 
that will enable the audience to hear him. 

On the mechanical side, in staging a play it is safer 
for the amateur to err on the side of simphcity rather 
than make his production too elaborate. The scenery 
and the stage-furnishings should be of the simplest. 
Most of the text-books on dramatics give directions for 
making stage settings of plain and cheap materials. In 
modern play-production, footlights and spotlights are 
sparingly used, and the stage is lighted from the wings 
and from above. Most amateur producers are troubled 
as to "make-up"; but for most plays very little make-up 
is required, — only enough to prevent the face from 
appearing too pale. But for these and all other details 
relating to the staging of the play, the stage-manager 
may be relied upon, and there are many books on 
dramatics which may be consulted by the amateur. 

The following are a few of the well-known books on 
the subject: 

Shakespeare for Community Players by Roj' Mitchell. 

J. M. Dent and Sons, Toronto. 
Practical Stage-Directing for Amateurs, by Emerson 

Taylor. E. P. Button & Co., New York. 
Hovj to Produce Amateur Plays, by Barrett H. Clark. 

Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 
Producing in Little Theatres, by Clarence Stratton. 

Henry Holt & Co., New York. 
Book for Shakespeare Plays and Pageants, by O. L. 

Hatcher. E. P. Button & Co., New York. 

Play Production for Amateurs, by F. H. Koch. Uni- 
versity of North Carolina Extension Bulletin. 



I 
h 






6y