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Act 2, Scene 1


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Enter BANQUO, and FLEANCE, with a torch before him

BANQUO enters with FLEANCE, who carries a torch.

BANQUO
How goes the night, boy?

BANQUO
What time is it, boy?

FLEANCE
The moon is down. I have not heard the clock.

FLEANCE
The moon has set. I haven't heard a clock strike, though.

BANQUO
And she goes down at twelve.

BANQUO
The moon sets at twelve.

FLEANCE
I take 't 'tis later, sir.

FLEANCE
I think it's later than that, sir.

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5


BANQUO
Hold, take my sword. There's husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,
Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose.

BANQUO
Wait, take my sword. The heavens are being thrifty, keeping its stars dark. Take this, too. (gives FLEANCE his belt and dagger) Sleepiness weighs on me like lead, but I don't want to sleep. Angels of mercy, help me to control the evil thoughts that fill my mind whenever I lay down to rest.

Enter MACBETH and a SERVANT with a torch

MACBETH enters with a SERVANT, who carries a torch.

Give me my sword. Who's there?

Give me my sword. Who's there?

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10

MACBETH
A friend.

MACBETH
A friend.

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15

BANQUO
What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's a-bed.
He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
Sent forth great largess to your offices.
This diamond he greets your wife withal,
By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up
In measureless content.

BANQUO
What, you're not asleep yet? The king's in bed. He's been unusually pleased, and has given gift after gift to your servants. This diamond he wants to give to your wife for being such an attentive hostess and ensuring his total comfort.



MACBETH
Being unprepared,
Our will became the servant to defect,
Which else should free have wrought.

MACBETH
Unprepared as we were for his visit, we could only be imperfect hosts. Had we been prepared everything would have been much better.

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20

BANQUO
All's well.
I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
To you they have showed some truth.

BANQUO
All is well. I had a dream last night about the three witches. Some of their predictions about you have proven true.




MACBETH
I think not of them.
Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
We would spend it in some words upon that business,
If you would grant the time.

MACBETH
I don't think about them. But when we have an hour to spare I'd like to talk about it a bit more, if you'd be willing.

BANQUO
At your kind'st leisure.

BANQUO
Whenever you like.

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25

MACBETH
If you shall cleave to my consent, when 'tis,
It shall make honor for you.

MACBETH
If you will agree to follow me when the time comes, it will result in more honor for you.




BANQUO
So I lose none
In seeking to augment it, but still keep
My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
I shall be counselled.

BANQUO
As long as I don't lose any honor in trying to gain more, and keep a clear conscience, I will listen to you.

MACBETH
Good repose the while!

MACBETH
In the meantime, rest well.

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30

BANQUO
Thanks, sir: the like to you!

BANQUO
Thanks, sir. The same to you!

Exeunt BANQUO and FLEANCE

BANQUO and FLEANCE exit.


MACBETH
(to the SERVANT) Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.

MACBETH
(to the SERVANT) Go and tell Lady Macbeth that, when my drink is ready, she should strike the bell. Then get yourself to bed.

Exit SERVANT

The SERVANT exits.

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60

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' th' other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing.
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one half-world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and withered murder,
Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives.
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

Is this a dagger I see in front of me, with its handle aimed toward my hand? Come, let me grasp you. (he grabs at the dagger but his hand passes right through) I don't have you, and yet I can still see you. Fateful apparition, is it possible to see but not touch you? Or are you just a dagger created by the mind, an illusion of my fevered brain? Istill see you, and you look as real as this other dagger that I'm unsheathing now. (he draws a dagger) You're leading me the way I was going already, and I was going to use a weapon just like you. Either my eyesight is the only sense of mine that isn't working, or it's the only one that's working right. I still see you, and spots of blood on your blade and handle that weren't there before. (to himself) This dagger doesn't exist. It's the murder I'm planning that's affecting my eyes. Now half the world is asleep and being attached by nightmares. Witches offer sacrifices to their goddess Hecate, while old man murder, having been waked by the howls of his wolf, walks like a ghost, like that ancient Roman rapist Tarquin, to do the deed. (speaking to the ground) You firm, hard earth, don't listen to my steps or their direction. I fear the stones will echo and reveal where I am, breaking the awful silence that so well suits what I'm about to do. While I talk here of plan, Duncan lives. Speaking cools the heat of my willingness to act.

A bell rings

A bell rings.


I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

Now I go, and the deed is as good as done. The bell invites me to act. Don't hear it, Duncan, because it is the sound of your summon to heaven or to hell.

Exit

MACBETH exits.

 

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