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Act 2, Scene 3


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Enter a PORTER. Knocking within

A knock sounds offstage. A gatekeeper enters.

PORTER
Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key.

PORTER
(Drunk) What a lot of knocking! If a man were gatekeeper for the gates of hell, he'd sure have to turn the key to open that gate often.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage..

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5

Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here you'll sweat for 't.

Knock, knock, knock! (as if he's that gatekeeper in hell) Who's there, in the name of the devil? Perhaps a farmer who hanged himself because he'd hoarded grain in hopes of charging high prices during a famine that never came. (speaking to the farmer) You've come at a good time. Make sure you have a lot of handkerchiefs, because you're going to sweat a lot here in Hell.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

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10

Knock, knock! Who's there, in th' other devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.

Knock, knock! Who's there, in the other devil's name? Ah, it's some slick schemer who vowed his support to two opposing sides, who committed treason in the name of God, but found in the end that you can't lie to God about your actions. Come in, schemer.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

Knock, knock, knock! Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor. Here you may roast your goose.

Knock, knock, knock! Who's there? Perhaps it's an English tailor who stinted on the amount of fabric needed to make pants in the French baggy style. Come in, tailor. You can heat your pressing iron up in the fires of hell, since you're done for.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

15

Knock, knock! Never at quiet. What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire.

Knock, knock! Never stopping. Who are you? Well, this place is too cold to be hell. I'll stop playing at being the devil's gatekeeper. I'd wanted to let into hell someone who'd given in to temptation from each of the professions.

Knock within

A knock sounds offstage.

20

Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter.

Coming! Coming! And please don't forget to tip.

Opens the gate

The PORTER opens the gate.

Enter MACDUFF and LENNOX

MACDUFF and LENNOX enter.


MACDUFF
Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
That you do lie so late?

MACDUFF
Did you go to bed so late, friend, that you've gotten up so late in the morning?

PORTER
'Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock. And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

PORTER
That's the truth, sir. We drank and sang until 3 A.M. And drink, sir, results in three things.

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25

MACDUFF
What three things does drink especially provoke?

MACDUFF
What three things does drink result in?

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30

PORTER
Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.

PORTER
Well, sir, A red nose, sleep, and urine. Desire it arouses but also deflates: it arouses desire, but deflates performance. Therefore, drink is like a traitor in relation to sex. It makes you feel good, but it blocks your abilities. It gets you up but then lets you down. It eggs you on but leaves you dismayed. It gives you an erection but soon takes it away again. And, finally, it gives you erotic dreams and a midnight erection, but only because it makes you have to pee.

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35

MACDUFF
I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.

MACDUFF
I believe drink did all that to you last night.

PORTER
That it did, sir, i' th' very throat on me; but I requited him for his lie, and, I think, being too strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime, yet I made a shift to cast him.

PORTER
Yes it did, sir. It gave me the lie right in my throat. But I go my revenge on drink. I was too strong for it. It may have weakened my legs a bit and knocked me off balance, but I found a way to give it the slip: I threw it up.

MACDUFF
Is thy master stirring?

MACDUFF
Is your master getting up?

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH enters.

40

Our knocking has awaked him. Here he comes.

Our knocking woke him. Here he comes.

LENNOX
Good morrow, noble sir.

LENNOX
Good morning, noble sir.

MACBETH
Good morrow, both.

MACBETH
Good morning to you both.

MACDUFF
Is the king stirring, worthy thane?

MACDUFF
Is the king waking, worthy thane?

MACBETH
Not yet.

MACBETH
Not yet.

MACDUFF
He did command me to call timely on him.
I have almost slipped the hour.

MACDUFF
He commanded me to call on him early this morning. I'm almost late.

MACBETH
I'll bring you to him.

MACBETH
I'll bring you to him.

*
45

MACDUFF
I know this is a joyful trouble to you,
But yet 'tis one.

MACDUFF
I know that hosting the king is a labor of love, but that doesn't make it any less work.


MACBETH
The labor we delight in physics pain.
This is the door.

MACBETH
Work we enjoy removes the pain of the effort. This is the door.

MACDUFF
I'll make so bold to call,
For 'tis my limited service.

MACDUFF
I'll wake him, because it is my duty.

Exit MACDUFF

MACDUFF exits.

LENNOX
Goes the king hence today?

LENNOX
Will the king move on from here today?

MACBETH
He does. He did appoint so.

MACBETH
Yes. He told us to have everything ready for his departure.

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50
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55

LENNOX
The night has been unruly. Where we lay,
Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,
Lamentings heard i' th' air, strange screams of death,
And prophesying with accents terrible
Of dire combustion and confused events
New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird
Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth
Was feverous and did shake.

LENNOX
The night was wild. Where we were sleeping, the wind blew down the chimneys. People are saying they heard cries of grief in the air, strange screams of death, and terrifying voices prophesying fire and chaos that will result in the beginning of a new and awful time. The owl, that omen of destruction, hooted all night long. Some people are saying that the earth shook with fever.

MACBETH
'Twas a rough night.

MACBETH
It was a rough night.


LENNOX
My young remembrance cannot parallel
A fellow to it.

LENNOX
I'm young and can't remember anything similar to it.

Enter MACDUFF

MACDUFF rushes in.

*
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60

MACDUFF
O horror, horror, horror!
Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!

MACDUFF
Oh, horror, horror, horror! I don't have the words to describe this or the hear to believe it!

MACBETH and LENNOX
What's the matter?

MACBETH and LENNOX
What's the matter?

MACDUFF
Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence
The life o' th' building!

MACDUFF
Chaos has taken over. A blasphemous murder has broken open God's temple and stolen the life from it.

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65

MACBETH
What is 't you say? "The life"?

MACBETH
What are you saying? "The life"?

LENNOX
Mean you his majesty?

LENNOX
You mean the king?



MACDUFF
Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak.
See, and then speak yourselves.

MACDUFF
Go look into the bedroom and you will be appalled and frozen as if you'd seen a Gorgon (editor's note: a mythological monster whose looks could turn a man to stone). Don't ask me to describe it. Go, see, and then describe it yourselves.

Exeunt MACBETH and LENNOX

MACBETH and LENNOX exit.

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70
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75

Awake, awake!
Ring the alarum bell. Murder and treason!
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! Awake!
Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
And look on death itself! Up, up, and see
The great doom's image! Malcolm! Banquo!
As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites,
To countenance this horror! Ring the bell.

Get up, get up! Ring the alarm bell. Murder and treason! Banquo and Donalbain, Malcolm! Wake up! Shake off your sleep, that fake death, and look on death itself! Get up, get up, and see the exact image of doomsday! Malcolm! Banquo! Get up as if from your graves, and like ghosts come here to see face this horror. Ring the bell.

Bell rings. Enter LADY MACBETH

A bell rings. LADY MACBETH enters.



LADY MACBETH
What's the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!

LADY MACBETH
What's happened that there's need for that awful trumpet to call everyone who's sleeping in the house to come together? Tell me! Tell me!

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80

MACDUFF
O gentle lady,
'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
The repetition, in a woman's ear,
Would murder as it fell.

MACDUFF
Oh gentle lady, the news I could tell you is not something you should hear. Telling it to a woman would kill you instantly.

Enter BANQUO

BANQUO enters.

O Banquo, Banquo,
Our royal master's murdered!

Oh Banquo, Banquo, our royal king has been murdered!


LADY MACBETH
Woe, alas!
What, in our house?

LADY MACBETH
Oh no! What, in our own house?

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85

BANQUO
Too cruel any where.
Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
And say it is not so.

BANQUO
It is too awful no matter where it happened. Dear Macduff, I beg you, change your story and say it isn't true.

Enter MACBETH, LENNOX, and ROSS

MACBETH and LENNOX reenter, with ROSS.

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90

MACBETH
Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessèd time, for from this instant
There's nothing serious in mortality.
All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead.
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.

MACBETH
If I had died an hour before this happened I'd have lived a blessed life. Because starting from this moment, there's no reason to keep living. Everything is meaningless. All grace and distinction are dead. The wine of life has been poured away. In all the world, only the dregs remain.

Enter MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

MALCOLM and DONALBAIN enter.

DONALBAIN
What is amiss?

DONALBAIN
What's wrong?

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95

MACBETH
You are, and do not know 't.
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.

MACBETH
You are, but don't know it. The spring, the source, the very origin of you're your blood has been stopped.

MACDUFF
Your royal father's murdered.

MACDUFF
Your royal father has been murdered.

MALCOLM
Oh, by whom?

MALCOLM
Who did it?

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100

LENNOX
Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done 't.
Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.
So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
Upon their pillows. They stared, and were distracted.
No man's life was to be trusted with them.

LENNOX
Apparently, the servants who were watching his bedroom did it. Their hands and faces were covered in blood. So were their daggers, which we found on their pillows, unwiped. They stared at us, confused. They shouldn't have been trusted with any man's life.

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105

MACBETH
Oh, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.

MACBETH
Even so, I regret my fury, which pushed me to kill them.

MACDUFF
Wherefore did you so?

MACDUFF
Why did you do that?

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110
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115

MACBETH
Who can be wise, amazed, temp'rate, and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
Th' expedition of my violent love
Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature
For ruin's wasteful entrance; there, the murderers,
Steeped in the colors of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make 's love known?

MACBETH
Can someone be wise, shocked, calm, furious, loyal, and neutral all at the same time? No man can. My love for Duncan resulted in a violent rage that made me before I could pause to think. There was Duncan, his white skin all splattered with his precious blood, covered in gashes that looked like wounds to nature that let the rot in. And there next to him were the murderers, dripping with blood, their daggers covered in gore. Who could have stopped himself, who loved Duncan and had the courage to act on it?

LADY MACBETH
Help me hence, ho!

LADY MACBETH
Get me away from here, now! (she faints)

MACDUFF
Look to the lady.

MACDUFF
See to the lady's health.

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120

MALCOLM
(aside to DONALBAIN ) Why do we hold our tongues,
That most may claim this argument for ours?

MALCOLM
(speaking only to DONALBAIN) Why aren't we saying anything? The two of us have the greatest reason to express our horror and grief.



DONALBAIN
(aside to MALCOLM) What should be spoken here, where our fate,
Hid in an auger-hole, may rush and seize us?
Let's away. Our tears are not yet brewed.

DONALBAIN
(speaking only to MALCOLM) What should we say when we ourselves may be in immediate danger from some hidden place? We should run. We're not yet ready to show our tears.

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125

MALCOLM
(aside to DONALBAIN) Nor our strong sorrow
Upon the foot of motion.

MALCOLM
(speaking only to DONALBAIN) Nor is it yet time for us to take our grief and turn it into action.

BANQUO
Look to the lady.

BANQUO
See to the lady.

Exit LADY MACBETH, attended

LADY MACBETH is carried out.

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130

And when we have our naked frailties hid,
That suffer in exposure, let us meet
And question this most bloody piece of work,
To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us.
In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
Against the undivulged pretense I fight
Of treasonous malice.

When we're properly dressed to be out of our rooms, let's meet and discuss this bloody crime to see if we can figure out what happened. At the moment, fears and doubts shake us. I'm putting myself in the hands of God, and from there I'll fight the treasonous plot behind this murder.

MACDUFF
And so do I.

MACDUFF
I do too.

ALL
So all.

ALL
We all will.

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135

MACBETH
Let's briefly put on manly readiness,
And meet i' th' hall together.

MACBETH
Let's get quickly dressed and regain our manly strength, and then meet together in the hall.

ALL
Well contented.

ALL
Agreed.

Exeunt all but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN

Everyone exits but MALCOLM and DONALBAIN.



MALCOLM
What will you do? Let's not consort with them.
To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
Which the false man does easy. I'll to England.

MALCOLM
What will you do? Let's not meet with them. A liar has no trouble pretending to show sorrow he does not actually feel. I'm going to England.

*
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140

DONALBAIN
To Ireland, I. Our separated fortune
Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,
There's daggers in men's smiles. The near in blood,
The nearer bloody.

DONALBAIN
I'll go to Ireland. We'll be safer if we separate. No matter where we are, every smile might have a dagger hiding behind it. And those who are most closely related to us (and therefore closest in line to the throne) are the ones most likely to try to kill us.

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145

MALCOLM
This murderous shaft that's shot
Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
Is to avoid the aim. Therefore, to horse,
And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
But shift away. There's warrant in that theft
Which steals itself when there's no mercy left.

MALCOLM
This murderous plot has only just begun, and we'll be safest if we can avoid the scheme. Therefore, let's get on our horses and not worry about being polite and saying goodbye. We should just disappear. We're justified in sneaking off when there's no mercy left for us to count on.

Exeunt

They exit.

 

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