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Act 3, Scene 4


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Banquet prepared. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and attendants.

A banquet. MACBETH enters with LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, LORDS, and their attendants.


MACBETH
You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
And last, the hearty welcome.

MACBETH
You know your own ranks, so you know where to sit. To both the highest and lowest of you, I bid you a hearty welcome.

The LORDS sit

The LORDS sit.

LORDS
Thanks to your majesty.

LORDS
Thanks to your majesty.

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5

MACBETH
Ourself will mingle with society
And play the humble host.
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
We will require her welcome.

MACBETH
I will mingle with all of you, playing the humble host. My wife the hostess will stay in her royal throne, but in good time I will ask her to welcome you all.


LADY MACBETH
Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
For my heart speaks they are welcome.

LADY MACBETH
Deliver my welcome to all of our friends for me, sir, for they are all welcome in my heart.

Enter FIRST MURDERER at the door

The lords cheer. The FIRST MURDERER appears and catches Macbeth's attention.

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10

MACBETH
See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
Both sides are even. Here I'll sit i' th' midst.
Be large in mirth. Anon we'll drink a measure
The table round.

MACBETH
See, they respond to you with their hearts as well. The table is full on both sides. I'll sit here in the middle. Be merry. Soon we'll have a toast to the full table.

(aside to FIRST MURDERER) There's blood upon thy face.

(approaching the door and speaking to the MURDERER) There's blood on your face.

FIRST MURDERER
'Tis Banquo's then.

FIRST MURDERER
It's Banquo's.

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15

MACBETH
'Tis better thee without than he within.
Is he dispatched?

MACBETH
It's better having his blood on you than inside him. Is he finished?

FIRST MURDERER
My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.

FIRST MURDERER
My lord, his throat is cut. I did that for him.

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20

MACBETH
Thou art the best o' th' cutthroats:
Yet he's good that did the like for Fleance.
If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.

MACBETH
You are the best of the cutthroats. But whoever did the same to Fleance is just as good. If you cut Fleance's throat, then you are a cutthroat without compare.

FIRST MURDERER
Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped.

FIRST MURDERER
Most royal sir, Fleance has escaped.

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25

MACBETH
Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo's safe?

MACBETH
Now my torment returns. Otherwise I'd have been perfect: solid as a piece of marble, as firm as a rock, as free as the air which surrounds everything. But now I'm all confined and bound in doubts and fears. But Banquo's been killed?



FIRST MURDERER
Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
The least a death to nature.

FIRST MURDERER
Yes, my good lord. He's lying in a ditch, with twenty deep gashes in his head, the least of which would have been enough to kill him.

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30

MACBETH
Thanks for that.
There the grown serpent lies. The worm that's fled
Hath nature that in time will venom breed;
No teeth for th' present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
We'll hear ourselves again.

MACBETH
Thanks for that. The adult serpent lies in the ditch. The young worm that escaped will in time become poisonous, but right now has no fangs. Be gone now. I'll talk to you again tomorrow.

Exit FIRST MURDERER

The FIRST MURDERER exits.

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35

LADY MACBETH
My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
That is not often vouched, while 'tis a-making,
'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.

LADY MACBETH
My royal lord, you're not entertaining the guests. If you do not regularly make clear that your guests are welcome, they'll start to feel as if they're paying for their meal. If you simply want to eat, it's best to do that at home. When you're eating out, you need some ceremony to act as an extra sauce for the meat. Without it, the party will be dull.

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40

MACBETH
Sweet remembrancer!
Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
And health on both!

MACBETH
Thank you for reminding me! (raising a glass) Good digestion requires a good appetite, and good health requires both those things. To good appetite, good digestion, and good health!

LENNOX
May 't please your highness sit.

LENNOX
Please sit as well, your highness.

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO, and sits in MACBETH's place

The GHOST OF BANQUO enters and sits in MACBETH's place.

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45

MACBETH
Here had we now our country's honor roofed,
Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
Than pity for mischance.

MACBETH
All the nobility of Scotland would be gathered under one roof, if only the noble Banquo were also here. I hope I can scold him for rudeness, and not have to grieve because something has happened to him.



ROSS
His absence, sir,
Lays blame upon his promise. Please 't your highness
To grace us with your royal company?

ROSS
His absence means only that he's broken his promise to attend. If it pleases you, your highness, won't you sit and grace us with your royal company?

MACBETH
The table's full.

MACBETH
The table's full.

LENNOX
Here is a place reserved, sir.

LENNOX
Here's a place saved for you, sir.

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50

MACBETH
Where?

MACBETH
Where?

LENNOX
Here, my good lord. What is 't that moves your highness?

LENNOX
(pointing to where the GHOST sits) Here, my good lord. What's bothering you, your highness?

MACBETH
Which of you have done this?

MACBETH
(seeing the GHOST) Which one of you did this?

LORDS
What, my good lord?

LORDS
What, my good lord?


MACBETH
(to GHOST) Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake
Thy gory locks at me.

MACBETH
(to the GHOST) You can't say I did it. Don't shake your bloody head at me.

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55

ROSS
Gentlemen, rise. His highness is not well.

ROSS
Gentlemen, stand. His highness is not well.

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60

LADY MACBETH
Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus
And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
The fit is momentary; upon a thought
He will again be well. If much you note him,
You shall offend him and extend his passion.
Feed and regard him not. (aside to MACBETH) Are you a man?

LADY MACBETH
Sit, worthy friends. My husband is often like this, and has been since childhood. Please, stay seated. This is a momentary fit. He'll be well again in seconds. If you pay too much attention to him you'll offend him, which will prolong the fit. Eat, and pay no attention to him. (to MACBETH) Are you a man?


MACBETH
Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appall the devil.

MACBETH
Yes, and a brave one, who dares look at something that would frighten the devil.

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65
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70

LADY MACBETH
O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear.
This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
Led you to Duncan. Oh, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool.

LADY MACBETH
Utter nonsense! This is a hallucination brought on by fear. This is like the floating dagger that you said led you to Duncan. This panic attack can't even be compared to real fear. They're more like a performance put on by a woman telling a scary story by the fireside in front of her grandma. Shame on you! Why are you making such faces? When the hallucination passes, you'll see that you're looking at nothing but a stool.

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75

MACBETH
Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites.

MACBETH
Please, look there. See? Look! (to the GHOST) Hey! What do you have to say? And what do I care? If you can nod, then speak. If the dead are going to return from their graves, then we might as well not bury anyone and let the birds eat them.

Exit GHOST

The GHOST vanishes.

LADY MACBETH
What, quite unmanned in folly?

LADY MACBETH
What, has your foolishness destroyed your manhood?

MACBETH
If I stand here, I saw him.

MACBETH
As sure as I'm standing here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH
Fie, for shame!

LADY MACBETH
Nonsense! Shame on you!

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85

MACBETH
Blood hath been shed ere now, i' th' olden time,
Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murders have been performed
Too terrible for the ear. The time has been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end. But now they rise again
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns
And push us from our stools. This is more strange
Than such a murder is.

MACBETH
In ancient times, before humane laws cleansed the commonwealth and made it gentle, much blood was shed. Yes, and since then too, murders have been committed that are too terrible to mention. It used to be that when you knocked a man's brains out he would die, and that was the end of it. But now they rise again with twenty fatal wounds on their head and push us from our stools. This returning from the dead is more strange than the original murder.


LADY MACBETH
My worthy lord,
Your noble friends do lack you.

LADY MACBETH
My worthy lord, your noble friends miss your company.

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90

MACBETH
I do forget.
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me. Come, love and health to all.
Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine. Fill full.

MACBETH
I forgot. (to the lords) Don't be shocked at my behavior, my most worthy friends. I have a strange condition, which no longer bothers those who know me well. (raising his glass) Come: love and health to you all. Now I'll sit down. Give me some wine. Fill my cup.

Enter the GHOST OF BANQUO

The GHOST OF BANQUO enters.

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95

I drink to the general joy o' th' whole table,
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
Would he were here! To all and him we thirst,
And all to all.

I drink to the joy of all of you at the table, and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss. I wish he were here! To everyone here and to Banquo. Everyone drink to everyone else.

LORDS
Our duties, and the pledge.

LORDS
We drink to our allegiance to you, and to your toast.

They drink

They drink.

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100

MACBETH
(seeing the GHOST) Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!

MACBETH
(seeing the GHOST) Go! Get out of my sight! Hide in your grave. Your bones have no marrow, and your blood is cold. The eyes with which you're glaring at me have no power of sight!



LADY MACBETH
Think of this, good peers,
But as a thing of custom. 'Tis no other;
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

LADY MACBETH
Think of this, good friends, as just a strange habit. It's nothing else. Too bad it's spoiling our evening?

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105
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110

MACBETH
What man dare, I dare.
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The armed rhinoceros, or th' Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!

MACBETH
I dare as much as any man. Approach me in the form of a rugged Russian bear, an armor-plated rhinoceros, or a Hyrcan tiger. Take any shape but the one you have and I won't tremble. Or return to life and challenge me to a duel in some deserted place. If I tremble then, mock me as a doll of a little girl. Be gone, horrible ghost! You hallucination. Be gone!

Exit GHOST

The GHOST vanishes.

Why so, being gone,
I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

See, with it gone, I'm a man again. Please, remain seated.


LADY MACBETH
You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
With most admired disorder.

LADY MACBETH
You have disrupted our dinner and destroyed everyone's good cheer with your astonishing behavior.

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115
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120

MACBETH
Can such things be,
And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
Without our special wonder? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe,
When now I think you can behold such sights,
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
When mine is blanched with fear.

MACBETH
Can such things exist, and overcome a person as suddenly as a summer storm, without making everyone astonished? You make me feel like I don't know my own character and courage, when I see you looking at these terrible things without going pale with fear, while my own face has gone white.

ROSS
What sights, my lord?

ROSS
What sights, my lord?




LADY MACBETH
I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse.
Question enrages him. At once, good night.
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.

LADY MACBETH
Please, don't speak with him. He's growing worse and worse. Talking only exacerbates it. Right now, good night. Don't worry about leaving in the order of your rank. Just leave right away.

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125

LENNOX
Good night, and better health
Attend his majesty!

LENNOX
Good night. I hope better health returns to his majesty!

LADY MACBETH
A kind good night to all!

LADY MACBETH
A kind good night to all!

Exeunt all but MACBETH and LADY MACBETH

Everyone leaves except MACBETH and LADY MACBETH.

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130

MACBETH
It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.
Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak.
Augurs and understood relations have
By magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
The secret'st man of blood.—What is the night?

MACBETH
Blood will lead to blood, as the saying goes. Gravestones have been known to move, trees to speak, and the jackdaws, crows, and rooks to cackle out the names of even the most secret murderers. How late is it?

LADY MACBETH
Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

LADY MACBETH
Almost morning. You can't tell whether it's one or the other.

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135

MACBETH
How say'st thou that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?

MACBETH
What do you think about the fact that Macduff does refuses to come even should I command him to?

LADY MACBETH
Did you send to him, sir?

LADY MACBETH
Did you officially send for him, sir?

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140
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145

MACBETH
I hear it by the way; but I will send.
There's not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant fee'd. I will tomorrow—
And betimes I will—to the weird sisters.
More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know,
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way. I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
Strange things I have in head, that will to hand,
Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.

MACBETH
I heard about it indirectly, but I will send for him. I have a servant paid to spy for me in every one of my lords' households. Tomorrow, early, I will go see the witches. They will tell me more, because I'm now determined to know the worst of what is to come. My own interests are more important than anything else. I have waded so far into this river of blood that even if I stopped now, it would be as unpleasant to go back as to continue forward. I have some plans in my head that I must act upon before I have a chance to think carefully about them.

LADY MACBETH
You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

LADY MACBETH
You lack the rest and ease that sleep provides.

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150

MACBETH
Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
We are yet but young in deed.

MACBETH
Yes, let's go to sleep. My strange self-delusions just come from inexperience. We're still just beginners when it comes to bad deeds.

Exeunt

They exit.

 

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