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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 2 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 2, Scene 2



Court of Macbeth's castle

Enter LADY MACBETH

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.

What hath quenched them hath given me fire.

Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal

bellman,

owl – screech owls were thought to forecast death

fatal bellman – at midnight a bellman would sound a bell outside the cells of those scheduled for death in the morning

Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it.

stern’st good-night=good night to condemned criminals

The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms

grooms=chamberlains

Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their possets,

mock their charge=make a mockery of their duties

possets=drinks made with wine and hot milk

That death and nature do contend about them,

that=so that

Whether they live or die.

 

LADY MACBETH

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.

What hath quenched them hath given me fire.

Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,

Which 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 drugged their possets,

That death and nature do contend about them,

Whether they live or die.

 

MACBETH

(within)     Who’s there? What, ho!

 

MACBETH

(within)     Who’s there? What, ho!

 

LADY MACBETH

Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,

And ’tis not done. Th' attempt and not the deed

deed=deed unsuccessfully attempted

Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;

confounds us=ruins us

He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled

My father as he slept, I had done ’t.

 

LADY MACBETH

Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,

And ’tis not done. Th' 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, with bloody daggers

Enter MACBETH, with bloody daggers

My husband!

My husband!

MACBETH

I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

 

MACBETH

I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

 

LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.

Did not you speak?

 

LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.

Did not you speak?

 

MACBETH

When?

 

MACBETH

When?

 

LADY MACBETH

     Now.

 

LADY MACBETH

     Now.

 

MACBETH

     As I descended?

 

MACBETH

     As I descended?

 

LADY MACBETH

Ay.

 

LADY MACBETH

Ay.

 

MACBETH

     Hark! Who lies i' th' second chamber?

 

MACBETH

     Hark! Who lies i' th' second chamber?

 

LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

 

LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

 

MACBETH

(looking at his hands) This is a sorry sight.

 

MACBETH

(looking at his hands) This is a sorry sight.

 

LADY MACBETH

A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

 

LADY MACBETH

A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

 

MACBETH

There’s one did laugh in ’s sleep, and one cried. 

“Murder!”

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

that=so that

But they did say their prayers and addressed them

them=themselves

Again to sleep.

 

MACBETH

There’s one did laugh 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 addressed them

Again to sleep.

 

LADY MACBETH

     There are two lodged together.

 

LADY MACBETH

     There are two lodged together.

 

MACBETH

One cried, “God bless us!” and “Amen” the other,

As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.

as=as if

List'ning their fear I could not say “Amen,”

When they did say “God bless us!”

 

MACBETH

One cried, “God bless us!” and “Amen” the other,

As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.

List'ning their fear I could not say “Amen,”

When they did say “God bless us!”

 

LADY MACBETH

Consider it not so deeply.

 

LADY MACBETH

Consider it not so deeply.

 

MACBETH

But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”?

I had most need of blessing, and “Amen”

Stuck in my throat.

 

MACBETH

But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”?

I had most need of blessing, and “Amen”

Stuck in my throat.

 

LADY MACBETH

     These deeds must not be thought

After these ways. So, it will make us mad.

after these ways=in such a way

 

LADY MACBETH

     These deeds must not be thought

After these ways. So, it will make us mad.

 

MACBETH

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

raveled=tangled

sleave=skein of silk filaments

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

(the second course of a feast was the more nourishing)

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

 

MACBETH

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

 

LADY MACBETH

     What do you mean?

 

LADY MACBETH

     What do you mean?

 

MACBETH

Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house.

Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor

Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”

 

MACBETH

Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house.

Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor

Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”

 

LADY MACBETH

Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,

You do unbend your noble strength to think

unbend=slacken, as slackening a bow string

So brainsickly of things. Go get some water

And wash this filthy witness from your hand.

Why did you bring these daggers from the place?

They must lie there. Go carry them and smear

The sleepy grooms with blood.

 

LADY MACBETH

Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,

You do unbend your noble strength to think

So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,

And wash this filthy witness from your hand.

Why did you bring these daggers from the place?

They must lie there. Go carry them and smear

The sleepy grooms with blood.

 

MACBETH

     I’ll go no more:

I am afraid to think what I have done;

Look on ’t again I dare not.

 

MACBETH

     I’ll go no more:

I am afraid to think what I have done;

Look on ’t again I dare not.

 

LADY MACBETH

     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,

grooms=chamberlains

For it must seem their guilt.

 

LADY MACBETH

     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

Exit

Knock within

Knock within

MACBETH

     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

Neptune=god of the sea

Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

incarnadine=make blood-red

Making the green one red.

 

MACBETH

     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

Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

Making the green one red.

 

Enter LADY MACBETH

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH

My hands are of your color, but I shame

To wear a heart so white.

white=bloodless

 

LADY MACBETH

My hands are of your color, but I shame

To wear a heart so white.

 

Knock within

Knock 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

constancy=composure

Hath left you, unattended.

left you, unattended=deserted you

 

     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.

 

Knock within

Knock within

Hark! More knocking.

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us

lest occasion call us=lest people have occasion to call us

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost

watchers=witnesses

So poorly in your thoughts.

 

Hark! More knocking.

Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us

And show us to be watchers. Be not lost

So poorly in your thoughts.

 

MACBETH

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

 

MACBETH

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

 

Knock within

Knock within

Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.

Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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