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Act 2, Scene 2


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH enters.

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5

LADY MACBETH
That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold.
What hath quenched them hath given me fire.
Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it.
The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their possets,
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live or die.

LADY MACBETH
The wine that made the servants drunk has made me bold. The liquor that put them to sleep has filled me with fire. Listen! Quiet! That was the shriek of an owl, an omen of death like the bell struck at midnight by the night watchman before the cell of a man condemned to death. Macbeth is doing the job right now. The doors to Duncan's chamber are open, and the snores of the drunk servants make a mockery of their job of guarding his sleep. I drugged their drinks, so now they sleep so soundly they seem dead.

MACBETH
(within) Who's there? What, ho!

MACBETH
(from offstage) Who's there? What's that!

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10

LADY MACBETH
Alack, I am afraid they have awaked,
And 'tis not done. Th' attempt and not the deed
Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready;
He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done 't.

LADY MACBETH
Oh no, I'm afraid the servants woke, and the job is not done. To try to murder the king but fail would ruin us completely. (A noise.) Listen! I placed the servants' daggers where Macbeth could not miss seeing them. Had Duncan as he slept not looked so much like my own father, I'd have done the job.

Enter MACBETH, with bloody daggers

MACBETH enters, holding bloody daggers.

My husband!

My husband!

MACBETH
I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

MACBETH
I have done the deed. Didn't you hear a noise?

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15

LADY MACBETH
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.
Did not you speak?

LADY MACBETH
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did you say something?

MACBETH
When?

MACBETH
When?

LADY MACBETH
Now.

LADY MACBETH
A second ago.

MACBETH
As I descended?

MACBETH
As I came down?

LADY MACBETH
Ay.

LADY MACBETH
Yes.

MACBETH
Hark! Who lies i' th' second chamber?

MACBETH
Listen! Who's sleeping in the second bedroom?

LADY MACBETH
Donalbain.

LADY MACBETH
Donalbain.

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20

MACBETH
(looking at his hands) This is a sorry sight.

MACBETH
(looking at the blood on his hands) This is a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH
That's a foolish thing to say, that it's a "sorry" sight.

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25

MACBETH
There's one did laugh in 's sleep, and one cried. "Murder!"
That they did wake each other. I stood and heard them.
But they did say their prayers, and addressed them
Again to sleep.

MACBETH
One servant laughed in his sleep, and one cried, "Murder!" so that they woke each other up. I stood and listened, but they just said their prayers and settled back to sleep.

LADY MACBETH
There are two lodged together.

LADY MACBETH
Malcolm and Donalbain are asleep in the same room.




MACBETH
One cried, "God bless us!" and "Amen" the other,
As they had seen me with these hangman's hands.
List'ning their fear I could not say "Amen,"
When they did say "God bless us!"

MACBETH
One servant cried, "God bless us!" and the other said, "Amen," as if they'd seen me with my blood-stained hands. Though I hear the fear in their voices, I couldn't respond "Amen" when they said "God bless us!"

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30

LADY MACBETH
Consider it not so deeply.

LADY MACBETH
Try not to think about it so much.



MACBETH
But wherefore could not I pronounce "Amen"?
I had most need of blessing, and "Amen"
Stuck in my throat.

MACBETH
But why couldn't I say "Amen"? I needed God's blessing most profoundly, but "Amen" stuck in my throat.


LADY MACBETH
These deeds must not be thought
After these ways. So, it will make us mad.

LADY MACBETH
We must not think in that way about what we've done. Thinking that way will drive us mad.

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40

MACBETH
Methought I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep"—the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

MACBETH
I thought I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more! Macbeth murders sleep." Innocent sleep. Sleep that smooths away all our fears and worries, that puts an end to each day's life, that eases the aches of the day's work, and soothes hurt minds. Sleep, the main and most nourishing course in the feast of life.

LADY MACBETH
What do you mean?

LADY MACBETH
What's your meaning?



MACBETH
Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house.
"Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more."

MACBETH
The voice cried and cried, "Sleep no more!" to the entire house. "Glamis has murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor will sleep no more. Macbeth will sleep no more."

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50

LADY MACBETH
Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there. Go carry them and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.

LADY MACBETH
Who was it that cried out these words? Oh, my worthy thane, you make yourself weak and unable to act when you think so obsessively about things. Go get some water and wash this filthy evidence from your hands. Why did you bring these daggers from the room? They must remain there. Go return them and smear the sleeping servants with the blood.



MACBETH
I'll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on 't again I dare not.

MACBETH
I won't go back. I'm afraid just to think about what I've done. I don't dare to look at it again.

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55

LADY MACBETH
Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal,
For it must seem their guilt.

LADY MACBETH
You wimp! Give me the daggers. Dead and sleeping people are as harmless as pictures: it's childish to fear a scary painting. If he is still bleeding, I'll cover the faces of the servants with the blood. They must appear to be guilty.

Exit

LADY MACBETH exits.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

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60

MACBETH
Whence is that knocking?
How is 't with me when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

MACBETH
Where is that knocking coming from? What's with me, that every noise terrifies me? (looking at his hands) Whose hands are these? Ha! They're plucking out my eyes. Could even all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, my hands would instead stain the seas crimson, turning the green entirely to red.

Enter LADY MACBETH

LADY MACBETH enters.

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65

LADY MACBETH
My hands are of your color, but I shame
To wear a heart so white.

LADY MACBETH
My hands are red like yours, but I'd be ashamed if my heart were as bloodless and cowardly as yours.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.




I hear a knocking
At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber.
A little water clears us of this deed.
How easy is it, then! Your constancy
Hath left you unattended.

I hear knocking at the south gate. We must return to our bedroom. A little water will wash away all evidence of what we've done. It is so easy! Your determination has deserted you.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

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Hark! More knocking.
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us
And show us to be watchers. Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts.

Listen! More knocking. Put on your sleeping robe, so that when we have to appear it does not seem as if we've been awake and watching all this while. Break free of these sad thoughts that hold you.

MACBETH
To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.

MACBETH
The only way I can acknowledge what I've done is to forget who I am.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

75

Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.

Wake Duncan with your knocking. I wish you could.

Exeunt

They exit.

 

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