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Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 5 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

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Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5



Dunsinane. Within the castle

Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and SOLDIERS, with drum and colors

Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and SOLDIERS, with drum and colors

MACBETH

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.

ague=fever

Were they not forced with those that should be ours,

were they not forced=were the enemy not reinforced

We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,

And beat them backward home.

 

MACBETH

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 within of women

A cry within of women

What is that noise?

What is that noise?

SEYTON

It is the cry of women, my good lord.

 

SEYTON

It is the cry of women, my good lord.

 

Exit

Exit

MACBETH

I have almost forgot the taste of fears.

The time has been my senses would have cooled

cooled=been chilled

To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair

fell of hair=skin with hair

Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir

dismal treatise=tale of horror

As [if] life were in ’t. I have supped full with horrors.

Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,

Cannot once start me.

start=startle

 

MACBETH

I have almost forgot the taste of fears.

The time has been my senses would have cooled

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 supped full with horrors.

Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts

Cannot once start me.

 

Enter SEYTON

Enter SEYTON

Wherefore was that cry?

Wherefore was that cry?

SEYTON

The queen, my lord, is dead.

 

SEYTON

The queen, my lord, is dead.

 

MACBETH

     She should have died hereafter.

should have died hereafter=would have died later anyway

There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

(the future is empty, the past was foolish)

(days creep slowly along until the end of time)

To the last syllable of recorded time,

recorded time=the record of time

And all our yesterdays have lighted [for] fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

dusty – dust returns to dust (ashes to ashes, dust to dust)

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

(walking shadow – impermanent, fleeting)

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Job 8:9 – “For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow.”

Psalm 90:9 -  For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

 

MACBETH

     She should have died hereafter.

There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

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

Enter a MESSENGER

Thou comest to use

Thy tongue; thy story quickly.

 

Thou comest to use

Thy tongue; thy story quickly.

 

MESSENGER

     Gracious my lord,

I should report that which I say I saw,

say=insist

But know not how to do ’t.

 

MESSENGER

     Gracious my lord,

I should report that which I say I saw,

But know not how to do ’t.

 

MACBETH

     Well, say, sir.

 

MACBETH

     Well, say, sir.

 

MESSENGER

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,

I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought

The wood began to move.

 

MESSENGER

As I did stand my watch upon the hill,

I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought

The wood began to move.

 

MACBETH

     Liar and slave!

 

MACBETH

     Liar and slave!

 

MESSENGER

Let me endure your wrath, if ’t be not so.

Within this three mile may you see it coming;

I say, a moving grove.

 

MESSENGER

Let me endure your wrath, if ’t be not so.

Within this three mile may you see it coming;

I say, a moving grove.

 

MACBETH

     If thou speak’st false,

Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive

Till famine cling thee. If thy speech be sooth,

sooth=truthful

I care not if thou dost for me as much.

(to himself) I pull in resolution and begin

pull in=restrain (his courage begins to fail)

To doubt th' equivocation of the fiend

equivocation=double talk

fiend=Satan

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,

avouches=affirms

There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.

I 'gin to be aweary of the sun

And wish th' estate o' th' world were now undone.—

estate=orderliness

Ring the alarum-bell!—Blow, wind! Come, wrack!

wrack=ruin

At least we’ll die with harness on our back.

harness=armor

 

MACBETH

     If thou speak’st false,

Upon the next tree shall thou hang alive

Till famine cling thee. If thy speech be sooth,

I care not if thou dost for me as much.

I pull in resolution and begin

To doubt th' 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 th' estate o' th' world were now undone.—

Ring the alarum-bell!—Blow, wind! Come, wrack!

At least we’ll die with harness on our back.

 

Exeunt

Exeunt

 

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