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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 4 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 2, Scene 4



Outside Macbeth's castle

Enter ROSS with an OLD MAN

Enter ROSS with an OLD MAN

OLD MAN

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.

trifled former knowings=made earlier experiences seem trifling

 

OLD MAN

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.

 

ROSS

     Ha, good father,

Thou seest the heavens, as [if] troubled with manís act,

manís act=the murder of Duncan

Threaten his bloody stage. By th' clock ítis day,

And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.

traveling lamp=sun

Is ít nightís predominance or the dayís shame

That darkness does the face of Earth entomb

When living light should kiss it?

 

ROSS

     Ha, good father,

Thou seest the heavens, as troubled with manís act,

Threatens his bloody stage. By th' clock ítis day,

And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.

Is ít nightís predominance or the dayís shame

That darkness does the face of Earth entomb

When living light should kiss it?

 

OLD MAN

     'Tis unnatural,

Even like the deed thatís done. On Tuesday last,

A falcon, tow'ring in her pride of place,

Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.

mousing=looking for mice

hawked at=caught on the wing

OLD MAN

     'Tis unnatural,

Even like the deed thatís done. On Tuesday last,

A falcon, tow'ring in her pride of place,

Was by a mousing owl hawked at and killed.

 

ROSS

And Duncanís horsesóa thing most strange and certainó

Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,

minions=finest specimens

Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,

Contending 'gainst obedience, as [if] they would

Make war with mankind.

 

ROSS

And Duncanís horsesóa thing most strange and certainó

Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,

Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out,

Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would

Make war with mankind.

 

OLD MAN

     'Tis said they eat each other.

eat (pronounced ďetĒ)=ate

 

OLD MAN

     'Tis said they eat each other.

 

ROSS

They did so, to th' amazement of mine eyes

That looked upon ít. Here comes the good Macduff.

 

ROSS

They did so, to th' amazement of mine eyes

That looked upon ít. Here comes the good Macduff.

 

Enter MACDUFF

Enter MACDUFF

How goes the world, sir, now?

How goes the world, sir, now?

MACDUFF

     Why, see you not?

 

MACDUFF

     Why, see you not?

 

ROSS

Is ít known who did this more than bloody deed?

 

ROSS

Is ít known who did this more than bloody deed?

 

MACDUFF

Those that Macbeth hath slain.

 

MACDUFF

Those that Macbeth hath slain.

 

ROSS

     Alas, the day!

What good could they intend?

 

ROSS

     Alas, the day!

What good could they pretend?

 

MACDUFF

     They were suborned (bribed).

Malcolm and Donalbain, the kingís two sons,

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

Suspicion of the deed.

 

MACDUFF

     They were suborned.

Malcolm and Donalbain, the kingís two sons,

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

Suspicion of the deed.

 

ROSS

'Gainst nature still!

Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up

thriftless=unprofitable

ravin up=devour

Thine own lives' means! Then ítis most like

thine own livesí means=living provided by Duncan

The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.

 

ROSS

'Gainst nature still!

Thriftless ambition, that will ravin up

Thine own lives' means! Then ítis most like

The sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.

 

MACDUFF

He is already named and gone to Scone

Scone=the traditional site of crowning of Scottish kings

To be invested [crowned].

 

MACDUFF

He is already named and gone to Scone

To be invested.

 

ROSS

Where is Duncanís body?

 

ROSS

Where is Duncanís body?

 

MACDUFF

Carried to Colmekill,

Colmekill=Iona, where Scottish kings were then buried

The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,

And guardian of their bones.

 

MACDUFF

Carried to Colmekill,

The sacred storehouse of his predecessors,

And guardian of their bones.

 

ROSS

     Will you to Scone?

 

ROSS

     Will you to Scone?

 

MACDUFF

No, cousin, Iíll to Fife.

(Macduff is Thane of Fife)

 

MACDUFF

No, cousin, Iíll to Fife.

 

ROSS

Well, I will thither [to Scone].

 

ROSS

Well, I will thither.

 

MACDUFF

Well, may you see things well done there. Adieu,

Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!

 

MACDUFF

Well, may you see things well done there. Adieu,

Lest our old robes sit easier than our new!

 

ROSS

Farewell, father.

 

ROSS

Farewell, father.

 

OLD MAN

Godís benison go with you and with those

That would make good of bad and friends of foes.

 

OLD MAN

Godís benison go with you and with those

That would make good of bad and friends of foes.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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