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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 5 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 1, Scene 5



Inverness: Macbeth's castle

Enter LADY MACBETH, alone, with a letter

Enter LADY MACBETH, alone, with a letter

(reading) “They met me in the day of success, and I have learned by the perfectest report they have more in them

perfectest report=most reliable information

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

missives=messengers

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 might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.”

(reading) “They met me in the day of success, and I have learned by the perfectest report they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives from the king, who all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor,' by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time with 'Hail, king that shalt be!' This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.”

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be

What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness

To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great,

Are not without ambition, but without

The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly,

illness=ruthlessness

That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,

And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'ld’st have, great Glamis,

wrongly win=win by doing wrong

thou’ld’st have=thou should have

That which cries, “Thus thou must do,” if thou have it,

have=are to have

And that which rather thou dost fear to do

that=the death of Duncan

Than wishest should be undone. Hie thee hither,

than wishest should be undone – rather fear to commit murder than not to commit it at all

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear

And chastise with the valor of my tongue

All that impedes thee from the golden round,

golden round=crown of Scotland

Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem

To have thee crowned withal.

withal=thereby (?)

 

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be

What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o' th' 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'ld’st 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. Hie thee hither,

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear

And chastise with the valor of my tongue

All that impedes thee from the golden round,

Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem

To have thee crowned withal.

 

Enter SERVANT

Enter SERVANT

What is your tidings?

What is your tidings?

SERVANT

The king comes here tonight.

 

SERVANT

The king comes here tonight.

 

LADY MACBETH

     Thou 'rt mad to say it.

Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,

Would have informed for preparation?

 

LADY MACBETH

     Thou 'rt mad to say it.

Is not thy master with him, who, were ’t so,

Would have informed for preparation?

 

SERVANT

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

more=more breath

Than would make up his message.

 

SERVANT

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 MACBETH

Give him tending.

He brings great news.

 

LADY MACBETH

Give him tending.

He brings great news.

 

Exit SERVANT

Exit SERVANT

The raven himself is hoarse

(ravens croak over corpses)

That croaks the fatal en-t-rance of Duncan

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

tend on mortal thoughts=furnish murderous thoughts

And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full

crown=crown of my head

Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.

Stop up the access and passage to remorse,

That no compunctious visitings of nature

Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between

keep peace=let compunction interpose

The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,

the effect and it=the accomplishment and the purpose

And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,

murd’ring ministers=spirits that tend on mortal thoughts

Wherever in your sightless substances

sightless=invisible

You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

pall thee=wrap yourself

dunnest=darkest

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark

To cry “Hold, hold!”

 

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.

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 murd'ring ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances

You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,

Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark

To cry “Hold, hold!”

 

Enter MACBETH

Enter MACBETH

Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor,

[soon to be] 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.

 

Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor,

Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter,

Thy letters have transported me beyond

This ignorant present, and I feel now

The future in the instant.

 

MACBETH

     My dearest love,

Duncan comes here tonight.

 

MACBETH

     My dearest love,

Duncan comes here tonight.

 

LADY MACBETH

     And when goes hence?

 

LADY MACBETH

     And when goes hence?

 

MACBETH

Tomorrow, as he purposes.

 

MACBETH

Tomorrow, as he purposes.

 

LADY MACBETH

     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,

to beguile the time=to deceive the men of the time

Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,

Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent flower,

But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming

serpent=snake

Must be provided for; and you shall put

This night’s great business into my dispatch,

dispatch=management

Which shall to all our nights and days to come

Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

(her management of the great business will rule their future lives)

 

LADY MACBETH

     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,

Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,

Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent flower,

But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming

Must be provided for; and you shall put

This night’s great business into my dispatch,

Which shall to all our nights and days to come

Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

 

MACBETH

We will speak further.

 

MACBETH

We will speak further.

 

LADY MACBETH

Only look up clear.

look up clear=appear innocent

To alter favor ever is to fear.

favor=countenance

Leave all the rest to me.

 

LADY MACBETH

Only look up clear.

To alter favor ever is to fear.

Leave all the rest to me.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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