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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 1 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 3, Scene 1



Forres - the palace

Enter BANQUO

Enter BANQUO

BANQUO

Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou played’st most foully for ’t. Yet it was said

It should not stand in thy posterity,

(descendants would not be kings)

But that myself should be the root and father

Of many kings. If there come truth from them—

As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—

Why, by the verities on thee made good,

May they not be my oracles as well,

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

 

BANQUO

Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all,

As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou played’st most foully for ’t. Yet it was said

It should not stand in thy posterity,

But that myself should be the root and father

Of many kings. If there come truth from them—

As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine—

Why, by the verities on thee made good,

May they not be my oracles as well,

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

 

Sennet [trumpet] sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king, LADY MACBETH, as queen, LENNOX, ROSS,LORDS, LADIES, and attendants

Sennet sounded. Enter MACBETH, as king,LADY MACBETH, as queen, LENNOX, ROSS,LORDS, LADIES, and attendants

MACBETH

Here’s our chief guest [indicating Banquo].

 

MACBETH

Here’s our chief guest.

 

LADY MACBETH

If he had been forgotten,

It had been as a gap in our great feast,

And all-thing [wholly] unbecoming.

 

LADY MACBETH

If he had been forgotten,

It had been as a gap in our great feast,

And all-thing unbecoming.

 

MACBETH

Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,

solemn=formal

And I’ll request your presence.

 

MACBETH

Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,

And I’ll request your presence.

 

BANQUO

     Let your highness

Command upon me, to the which my duties

Are with a most indissoluble tie

Forever knit.

 

BANQUO

     Let your highness

Command upon me, to the which my duties

Are with a most indissoluble tie

Forever knit.

 

MACBETH

Ride you this afternoon?

 

MACBETH

Ride you this afternoon?

 

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord.

 

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord.

 

MACBETH

We should have else desired your good advice—

Which still hath been both grave and prosperous—

still=always

grave and prosperous=weighty and profitable

In this day’s council, but we’ll take tomorrow.

Is ’t far you ride?

 

MACBETH

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 tomorrow.

Is ’t far you ride?

 

BANQUO

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

'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,

this=now

go not my horse the better=if my horse doesn’t go faster than I expect

I must become a borrower of the night

become a borrower of the night=ride after sunset

For a dark hour or twain.

twain=two

 

BANQUO

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

'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,

I must become a borrower of the night

For a dark hour or twain.

 

MACBETH

     Fail not our feast.

 

MACBETH

     Fail not our feast.

 

BANQUO

My lord, I will not.

 

BANQUO

My lord, I will not.

 

MACBETH

We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed

In England and in Ireland, not confessing

Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers

parricide=killing of a parent

With strange invention. But of that tomorrow,

When therewithal we shall have cause of state

therewithal=besides that

Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse. Adieu,

craving us jointly=requiring the attention of us both

Till your return at night. Goes Fleance with you?

 

MACBETH

We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed

In England and in Ireland, not confessing

Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers

With strange invention. But of that tomorrow,

When therewithal we shall have cause of state

Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse. Adieu,

Till your return at night. Goes Fleance with you?

 

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord. Our time [to depart] does call upon ’s.

 

BANQUO

Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon ’s.

 

MACBETH

I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,

And so I do commend you to their backs.

Farewell.

 

MACBETH

I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,

And so I do commend you to their backs.

Farewell.

 

Exit BANQUO

Exit BANQUO

Let every man be master of his time

Till seven at night. To make society

The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself

Till suppertime alone. While then, God be with you!

while then=until then

 

Let every man be master of his time

Till seven at night. To make society

The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself

Till suppertime alone. While then, God be with you!

 

Exeunt all except MACBETH and a SERVANT

Exeunt all except MACBETH and a SERVANT

Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men

Our pleasure?

 

Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men

Our pleasure?

 

SERVANT

They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

 

SERVANT

They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

 

MACBETH

Bring them before us.

 

MACBETH

Bring them before us.

 

Exit SERVANT

Exit SERVANT

To be thus [the king] is nothing,

But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo

Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature

Reigns that which would be feared. 'Tis much he dares,

And to that dauntless temper of his mind

to that=in addition to that

He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor

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

genius=guiding spirit

Mark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sisters

Caesar=Octavius Caesar

When first they put the name of king upon me

And bade them speak to him. Then, prophetlike,

They hailed him father to a line of kings.

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown

And put a barren scepter in my grip,

Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,

thence=from thence

with an unlineal hand=by an unlineal hand

unlineal=from another family line

No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,

For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;

filed=defiled

For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered;

Put rancors in the vessel of my peace

rancors=bitterness

Only for them; and mine eternal jewel

eternal jewel=soul

Given to the common enemy of man

common enemy of man=Devil

To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!

Rather than so, come fate into the list

list=arena of combat

And champion me to th' utterance. Who’s there?

champion me=contend with me as an opposing champion

to th’ utterance (actually, outrance (French)=the extreme)=to the end (until I perish or fate is thwarted)

 

To be thus is nothing,

But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo

Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature

Reigns that which would be feared. 'Tis much he dares,

And to that dauntless temper of his mind

He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor

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, prophetlike,

They hailed him father to a line of kings.

Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown

And put a barren scepter in my grip,

Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,

No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,

For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;

For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered;

Put rancors 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!

Rather than so, come fate into the list,

And champion me to th' utterance. Who’s there?

 

Enter SERVANT and two MURDERERS

Enter SERVANT and two MURDERERS

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

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

Exit SERVANT

Exit SERVANT

Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

FIRST MURDERER

It was, so please your highness.

 

FIRST MURDERER

It was, so please your highness.

 

MACBETH

     Well then, now,

Have you considered of my speeches? Know

know=know you

That it was he, in the times past, which held you

So under fortune, which you thought had been

under fortune=without luck

Our innocent self. This I made good to you

In our last conference, passed in probation with you,

passed in probation=reviewed and proved true

How you were borne in hand, how crossed, the instruments,

borne in hand=were held in the palm of Banquo’s hand

crossed=thwarted

instruments=agents

Who wrought with them, and all things else that might

who wrought with them=who worked with the agents

To half a soul and to a notion crazed

half a soul=half-wit

notion=intellect

Say, “Thus did Banquo.”

 

MACBETH

     Well then, now

Have you considered 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, passed in probation with you,

How you were borne in hand, how crossed, the instruments,

Who wrought with them, and all things else that might

To half a soul and to a notion crazed

Say, “Thus did Banquo.”

 

FIRST MURDERER

     You made it known to us.

 

FIRST MURDERER

     You made it known to us.

 

MACBETH

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 gospeled

gospeled=taught from the Gospels

To pray for this good man and for his issue,

issue=descendants

Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave

And beggared yours forever?

beggared yours=impoverished your family

 

MACBETH

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 gospeled

To pray for this good man and for his issue,

Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave

And beggared yours forever?

 

FIRST MURDERER

     We are men, my liege.

 

FIRST MURDERER

     We are men, my liege.

 

MACBETH

Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,

catalogue=a list including men and dogs and . . .

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,

Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept

shough=shaggy-haired Icelandic dog

water-rug=water-dog

clept=called

All by the name of dogs. The valued file

valued file=list which specifies values

Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,

The housekeeper, the hunter, every one

housekeeper=watch dog

According to the gift which bounteous nature

Hath in him closed, whereby he does receive

Particular addition from the bill

addition=distinction

bill=list

That writes them all alike. And so of men.

Now, if you have a station in the file,

station in the file=place in a military row, as in “rank and file”

Not i' th' worst rank of manhood, say ’t,

not I’ th’ worst rank=still capable of action

And I will put that business in your bosoms

Whose execution takes your enemy off,

takes your enemy off=removes your enemy and

Grapples you to the heart and love of us,

Who wear our health but sickly in his life,

(I who wear my health but sickly while Banquo lives)

Which in his death were perfect.

were=would be

 

MACBETH

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

That writes them all alike. And so of men.

Now, if you have a station in the file,

Not i' th' 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.

 

SECOND MURDERER

     I am one, my liege,

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world

Have so incensed that I am reckless what

I do to spite the world.

 

SECOND MURDERER

     I am one, my liege,

Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world

Have so incensed that I am reckless what

I do to spite the world.

 

FIRST MURDERER

And I another

So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune,

That I would set my life on any chance,

set my life=stake my life

To mend it or be rid on ’t.

on ‘t=of it

 

FIRST MURDERER

And I another

So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune,

That I would set my life on any chance,

To mend it or be rid on ’t.

 

MACBETH

     Both of you

Know Banquo was your enemy.

 

MACBETH

     Both of you

Know Banquo was your enemy.

 

BOTH MURDERERS

     True, my lord.

 

BOTH MURDERERS

     True, my lord.

 

MACBETH

So is he mine; and in such bloody distance

bloody distance=enmity (in fencing, the space maintained between combatants)

That every minute of his being thrusts

thrusts against=threatens

Against my near’st of life. And though I could

near’st of life=the heart

With barefaced power sweep him from my sight

And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,

bid my will avouch it=justify it as my all-powerful will

For certain friends that are both his and mine,

for=on account of

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.

 

MACBETH

So is he mine; and in such bloody distance

That every minute of his being thrusts

Against my near’st of life. And though I could

With barefaced power sweep him from my sight

And bid my 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 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.

 

SECOND MURDERER

We shall, my lord,

Perform what you command us.

 

SECOND MURDERER

We shall, my lord,

Perform what you command us.

 

FIRST MURDERER

     Though our lives—

 

FIRST MURDERER

     Though our lives—

 

MACBETH

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' th' time,

spy=precise information

The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done tonight

And something from the palace; always thought

something from=some distance away from

always thought=always borne in my mind

That I require a clearness. And with him—

require clearness=must remain free of suspicion

with him=along with Banquo

To leave no rubs nor botches in the work—

rubs=rough spots

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.

resolve yourselves apart=go off and settle your minds

I’ll come to you anon.

anon=shortly

 

MACBETH

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' th' time,

The moment on ’t; for ’t must be done tonight,

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 MURDERERS

We are resolved, my lord.

 

BOTH MURDERERS

We are resolved, my lord.

 

MACBETH

I’ll call upon you straight. Abide within.

 

MACBETH

I’ll call upon you straight. Abide within.

 

Exeunt MURDERERS

Exeunt MURDERERS

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

If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.

 

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

If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.

 

Exit

Exit

 

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