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Act 3, Scene 5


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Original Play

Modern Translation

Thunder. Enter the three WITCHES meeting HECATE

Thunder. The three WITCHES enter, meeting HECATE.

FIRST WITCH
Why, how now, Hecate! You look angerly.

FIRST WITCH
What's going on, Hecate? You look angry.

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HECATE
Have I not reason, beldams as you are?
Saucy and overbold, how did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death,
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never called to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?
And, which is worse, all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son,
Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you.
But make amends now. Get you gone,
And at the pit of Acheron
Meet me i' th' morning. Thither he
Will come to know his destiny.
Your vessels and your spells provide,
Your charms and everything beside.
I am for the air. This night I'll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end.
Great business must be wrought ere noon.
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vap'rous drop profound.
I'll catch it ere it come to ground.
And that distilled by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion.
He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear.
And you all know, security
Is mortals' chiefest enemy.

HECATE
Don't I have a reason to be, you hags? How dare you trick Macbeth with riddles and prophecies without including me, the source of your powers, the creator of all evil things, and the greatest practitioner of our magic? And, even worse, you've done all this for an unreliable brat, angry and spiteful. Like all brats, he cares only about what he wants and not about you. But you can make this better. Get out of here and meet me at the pit of Acheron, where Macbeth will go to learn his destiny. Bring your cauldrons, your spells, your charms, and everything else. Now I must fly. I'll spend the night working to make for him a terrible and deadly outcome. I must accomplish much before noon. On the corner of the moon hangs a droplet, ready to fall. I'll catch it before it hits the ground. When I charm the droplet with magic spells it will raise up fantastic spirits that will trick Macbeth with illusions to walk right into his own destruction. He'll think himself immune to fate, will mock death, and will think he has no need for wisdom, grace, or fear. As you all know, overconfidence is mortal man's worst enemy.

Music and a song within: 'Come away, come away,' &c

A song plays offstage with the lyrics: "Come away, come away."

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Hark! I am called. My little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me.

Listen! I'm being called. Look, there's my little spirit sitting in a foggy cloud, waiting for me.

Exit

HECATE exits.

FIRST WITCH
Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.

FIRST WITCH
Come, let's hurry. She'll soon return.

Exeunt

They all exit.

 

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