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Act 1, Scene 2


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Alarum within. Enter KING DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX, with attendants, meeting a bleeding CAPTAIN

A trumpet and the sounds of fighting offstage. KING DUNCAN enters with his sons MALCOLM and DONALBAIN, along with the Duke of LENNOX and a number of attendants. They meet a wounded CAPTAIN.



DUNCAN
What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.

DUNCAN
Who's this bloody man? From the looks of him, it seems likely he can give us the latest news about the revolt.

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MALCOLM
This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
Say to the king the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

MALCOLM
This is the good and tough sergeant who fought to stop me from getting captured. Hello, brave friend! Tell the king your latest knowledge of the battle.

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CAPTAIN
Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villanies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied,
And fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel's whore. But all's too weak,
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave;
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
And fixed his head upon our battlements.

CAPTAIN
The outcome was in doubt, the two armies like two tired swimmers clinging to each other and making it impossible for either to swim. The armies of the merciless Macdonwald—who has so many villainous qualities that he's a natural rebel—was reinforced by foot soldiers and axe warriors from Ireland and the Hebrides. Luck was smiling on his damned rebellion as if she were his whore. But that wasn't enough because brave Macbeth—he deserves that description—defied Lady Luck with his sword, which smoked with blood, and carved through Macdonwald's army until he faced the rogue. Not pausing to shake hands or say farewell, Macbeth split Macdonwald from belly to jaw and stuck his head on the walls of our castle.

DUNCAN
O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!

DUNCAN
Oh heroic cousin! A worthy gentleman!

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CAPTAIN
As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Shipwracking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seemed to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark:
No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels,
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.

CAPTAIN
But just as terrible storms and dreadful thunder come just as the sun rises, so did new trouble arise from what had seemed to be our triumph. Listen, my King of Scotland, listen. As soon as we defeated those Irish soldiers and sent them running, the Norwegian king spied an advantage and began a new assault with fresh soldiers and sharpened weapons.

DUNCAN
Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

DUNCAN
Didn't this trouble our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

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CAPTAIN
Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorize another Golgotha,
I cannot tell—
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help.

CAPTAIN
About as much as sparrows trouble eagles, or rabbits scare a lion. To be honest, they were like cannons loaded with double charges of gunpowder. They fought this new opponent with double their earlier ferocity. Perhaps they wanted to bathe in the blood of their enemies' wounds, or make that battlefield as infamous as Golgoth (editor's note: where Christ was crucified)—But I feel weak. My wounds need cry out for a doctor.


DUNCAN
So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.

DUNCAN
Your words speak to your honor, as do your wounds. Get him to a doctor.

Exit CAPTAIN with attendants

Attendants help the CAPTAIN to exit.

Enter ROSS and ANGUS

ROSS and ANGUS enter.

45

Who comes here?

Who's just arrived?

MALCOLM
The worthy thane of Ross.

MALCOLM
The worthy Thane of Ross.


LENNOX
What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look
That seems to speak things strange.

LENNOX
His eyes are wild! He looks like a man with an incredible story to tell.

ROSS
God save the king.

ROSS
God save the king.

DUNCAN
Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?

DUNCAN
From where have you come, worthy thane?

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ROSS
From Fife, great king,
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold.
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,
The thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm,
Curbing his lavish spirit; and to conclude,
The victory fell on us.

ROSS
From Fife, great king, where the Norwegian flag flies, mocking our land and terrifying our people. The King of Norway—with a huge army and the support of that disloyal traitor, the thane of Cawdor—began a battle that our forces looked likely to lose. That is, until Macbeth, covered in armor and seeming like the husband of the goddess of war, met the rebellious Thane sword to sword and arm to arm, and in the end defeated him. To conclude, we were victorious.

DUNCAN
Great happiness!

DUNCAN
Great happiness!

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ROSS
That now
Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition.
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

ROSS
Now Sweno, the Norwegian king, begs for a peace treaty. We refused to let him bury his men until he retreated to Saint Colme's Inch and gave us ten thousand dollars.

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DUNCAN
No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest: go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.

DUNCAN
The Thane of Cawdor will never again deceive me. Go proclaim that he will be executed, and tell Macbeth that he shall receive Cawdor's title.

ROSS
I'll see it done.

ROSS
I'll do that.

DUNCAN
What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.

DUNCAN
What the thane of Cawdor has lost, noble Macbeth has won.

Exeunt

They all exit.

 

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