FIRST WITCH A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap, And munched, and munched, and munched. "Give me," quoth I. "Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed runnion cries. Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' th' Tiger; But in a sieve I'll thither sail, And like a rat without a tail, I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
FIRST WITCH A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap and munched, and munched, and munched them. "Give me one," I said. "Begone, witch!" the fat-assed, scabby woman cried. Her husband has gone to Aleppo as captain of the sailing ship Tiger. I'm going to sail there in a strainer, and them, like a rat without a tail, I'll do him, and do him, and do him again.
SECOND WITCH I'll give thee a wind.
SECOND WITCH I'll make a wind for you to sail there.
FIRST WITCH Thou 'rt kind.
FIRST WITCH That's very kind.
THIRD WITCH And I another.
THIRD WITCH And I'll give you another wind.
* * 15 * * * * 20 * * * * 25
FIRST WITCH I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow, All the quarters that they know I' th' shipman's card. I'll drain him dry as hay. Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid. He shall live a man forbid. Weary sev'nnights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak and pine. Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tossed. Look what I have.
FIRST WITCH I'm already master of all the other winds, the locations from which they originate, and every direction on the compass that they can blow. (editor's note: in other words, the witch can keep the sailor from ever reaching shore) I'll drain him until he's dry as hay, and won't let him sleep during night or day. He'll live as a cursed man. For eighty-one wearying weeks he'll slowly become sickly, and waste away from grief. Although I can't destroy his ship, I can still buffet it with storms. Look what I've got.
SECOND WITCH Show me, show me.
SECOND WITCH Show me, show me.
FIRST WITCH Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wrecked as homeward he did come.
FIRST WITCH Here I hold the thumb of a pilot who was shipwrecked while returning home.
A drum sounds offstage.
THIRD WITCH A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come.
THIRD WITCH A drum, a drum! Macbeth comes.
* * * * * 35
ALL (dancing together in a circle) The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go about, about, Thrice to thine and thrice to mine And thrice again, to make up nine. Peace! The charm's wound up.
ALL (dancing together in a circle) The weird sisters, hand in hand, swift travelers over the sea and land, dance around and around, three times your way, then three times mine, and three times again, to add up to nine. Quiet! The spell is ready.
Enter MACBETH and BANQUO
MACBETH and BANQUO enter.
MACBETH So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
MACBETH I've never seen a day that was so good, because of our great victory, and yet with such bad weather.
* * 40 * * * * 45
BANQUO How far is 't called to Forres?—What are these So withered and so wild in their attire, That look not like th' inhabitants o' th' Earth, And yet are on 't?—Live you? Or are you aught That man may question? You seem to understand me, By each at once her choppy finger laying Upon her skinny lips. You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so.
BANQUO How far is it to Forres, King Duncan's palace? (he sees the WITCHES) What are these—they're so wrinkled and wildly dressed. They don't look like residents of the Earth, and yet here they are on it. (to the WITCHES) Are you alive? Are you something that a man can question? You seem to understand me, since each of you has placed a chapped finger to her skinny lips. You look like women, but your beards won't let me believe that you actually are.
MACBETH Speak, if you can: what are you?
MACBETH Speak, if you can. What are you?
FIRST WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
FIRST WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, Thane of Glamis!
SECOND WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
SECOND WITCH All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, Thane of Cawdor!
THIRD WITCH All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!
THIRD WITCH All hail, Macbeth, who will be king in the future!
* * * * 55 * * * * 60
BANQUO Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair? (to the WITCHES) I' th' name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate.
BANQUO My good man, why do you flinch and seem afraid of these words that predict such good things for you? (to the WITCHES) Be truthful, are you some kind of illusion, or are you in fact what you appear to be? You've greeted my noble friend by his current title and predict a future of additional noble titles and the promise of becoming king, all of which has left him astonished. Yet you don't speak at all to me. If you can look into the future and say what will happen, then speak to me. I neither want your favors nor fear your hatred.
FIRST WITCH Hail!
FIRST WITCH Hail!
SECOND WITCH Hail!
SECOND WITCH Hail!
THIRD WITCH Hail!
THIRD WITCH Hail!
FIRST WITCH Lesser than Macbeth and greater.
FIRST WITCH You are lesser than Macbeth but also greater.
SECOND WITCH Not so happy, yet much happier.
SECOND WITCH You will not be so fortunate as Macbeth, and yet much more fortunate.
THIRD WITCH Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
THIRD WITCH Your descendants will be kings, though you will not. So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
FIRST WITCH Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
FIRST WITCH Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
* * * * * 75
MACBETH Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman, and to be king Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence, or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you.
MACBETH Wait! You have not told me everything. Tell me more. I know I am the thane of Glamis because the title became mine when Sinel, my father, died. But how can I be the Thane of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor is alive, and a rich, strong man. And for me to become king is beyond belief, just as it's crazy for me to be Thane of Cawdor. Tell me from where you got this unnatural information, and why you came to us on this bleak and empty field with such a prophecy? Speak, I order you.
The WITCHES vanish.
BANQUO The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?
BANQUO The earth has bubbles, just like as water does. These beings must come from such a bubble Where did they vanish?
MACBETH Into the air, and what seemed corporal Melted, as breath into the wind. Would they had stayed.
MACBETH Into the air. They seemed solid but then just melted like breath into the wind. I wish they'd stayed!
* * 85
BANQUO Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner?
BANQUO Were these things were speaking of ever even here? Or have we both eaten something that makes you delusional and irrational?
MACBETH Your children shall be kings.
MACBETH Your children will be kings.
BANQUO You shall be king.
BANQUO You will be king.
MACBETH And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?
MACBETH And thane of Cawdor too. Is that what they said?
BANQUO To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?
BANQUO Those were their words exactly. Who's arrived?
Enter ROSS and ANGUS
ROSS and ANGUS enter.
* 90 * * * * 95 * * * * 100
ROSS The king hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success, and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, His wonders and his praises do contend Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that, In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as tale Can post with post, and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom's great defense, And poured them down before him.
ROSS The king was happy to learn of your success, Macbeth, and when he hears the story of your personal heroics in the battle against the rebels, he can't decide whether to praise you or just be silently amazed. He was also at a loss for words to find out that on the same day you fought the rebels you also fought against the army of Norway, and that you weren't at all afraid of death, even as you dealt it out around you. A stream of messengers gushed with praise for how you defended his country.
ANGUS We are sent To give thee from our royal master thanks, Only to herald thee into his sight, Not pay thee.
ANGUS We've been sent to give you the king's thanks and to escort you to him, but we don't have your reward.
ROSS And, for an earnest of a greater honor, He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor: In which addition, hail, most worthy thane, For it is thine.
ROSS But, to give you a hint of the honors coming your way, the king told me to call you the Thane of Cawdor. Hail, most worthy thane, for that title is now yours.
BANQUO What, can the devil speak true?
BANQUO What? Can the devil speak the truth?
* * 110
MACBETH The thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me In borrowed robes?
MACBETH The thane of Cawdor is still alive. How can you pretend that his title is now mine?
* * * * * * 115
ANGUS Who was the thane lives yet, But under heavy judgment bears that life Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labored in his country's wrack, I know not; But treasons capital, confessed and proved, Have overthrown him.
ANGUS The former thane of Cawdor is still alive, but he's held under a death sentence, and he deserves to die. I don't know whether he fought alongside the Norwegians or if he secretly helped the rebels, or if he worked with both of our enemies to destroy or country. But his capital treason has been proven, and he has confessed to it, so he has lost his former title.
* * * 120
MACBETH (aside) Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Thanks for your pains. (aside to BANQUO) Do you not hope your children shall be kings, When those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me Promised no less to them?
MACBETH (to himself) Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! With the biggest part of their prophecy yet to come. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Thanks for your efforts to bring this news. (speaking so that only BANQUO can hear) Are you starting to believe your children might be kings, since the witches who said I would be thane of Cawdor promised they would be?
* * * * 125
BANQUO That, trusted home, Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, Besides the thane of Cawdor. But 'tis strange. And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray 's In deepest consequence. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Cousins, a word, I pray you.
BANQUO If you trust them, then it seems you might be eventually become king, not just thane of Cawdor. But all of this is strange. Often, to lead us to harm, the agents of darkness will first tell us some bit of truth. They win us over by telling us the truth about unimportant things, only to betray us when the consequences will be most terrible. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Gentlemen, speak with me a moment, please.
BANQUO, ROSS, and ANGUS move to one side
ROSS, ANGUS, and BANQUO move off to one side.
* 130 * * * * 135 * * * * 140 * * * * 145
MACBETH (aside) Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act Of the imperial theme. (to ROSS and ANGUS) I thank you, gentlemen. (aside) This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smothered in surmise, And nothing is but what is not.
MACBETH (to himself) Two of the prophecies have come true, making it seem like this will end with my rise to the throne. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Thank you, gentlemen. (to himself) This supernatural temptation doesn't seem like it's a bad thing, but it can't be good either. If it's bad, why did it promise me a success that turned out to be true? I am the thane of Cawdor. But if this is a good thing, why do I find myself thinking about something that is so horrid that it makes my hair stand on end and my heart pound unnaturally within my chest? The things I should fear are less frightening to me than the horrible things I'm imagining. Though my thoughts of murder are just a fantasy, they shake my very sense of self. My ability to act is blocked by my swirling thoughts, and all that matters to me are things that don't exist.
BANQUO Look how our partner's rapt.
BANQUO Look how our friend is daydreaming.
MACBETH (aside) If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir.
MACBETH (to himself) If fate wants me to be king, well, maybe fate will give me the throne without me having to do anything at all.
* * 150
BANQUO New honors come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold But with the aid of use.
BANQUO Macbeth's new titles, like new clothes, don't fit well until they've been worn for a while.
MACBETH (aside) Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
MACBETH (to himself) No matter what happens, time continues on.
BANQUO Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
BANQUO Good Macbeth, we're waiting for whenever you're ready.
* 155 * * * * 160
MACBETH Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains Are registered where every day I turn The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king. (aside to BANQUO) Think upon what hath chanced, and, at more time, The interim having weighed it, let us speak Our free hearts each to other.
MACBETH Pardon me. I was occupied by forgotten thoughts. Kind gentlemen, I won't forget the efforts you've gone to for me, and will remember them every day. Let's go to the king. (speaking just to BANQUO) Think about what just happened, and, when we've both had more time to consider its implications, let's discuss it freely with one another.
BANQUO Very gladly.
MACBETH Till then, enough. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Come, friends.
MACBETH Until then. (to ROSS and ANGUS) Let's go, my friends.