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Macbeth
Act 1, scene 3

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Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Macbeth, set primarily in Scotland, mixes witchcraft, prophecy, and murder. Three “Weïrd Sisters” appear to Macbeth and his comrade Banquo…

Act 1, scene 1

Three witches plan to meet Macbeth.

Act 1, scene 2

Duncan, king of Scotland, hears an account of the success in battle of his noblemen Macbeth and Banquo. Duncan orders…

Act 1, scene 3

The three witches greet Macbeth as “Thane of Glamis” (as he is), “Thane of Cawdor,” and “king hereafter.” They then…

Act 1, scene 4

Duncan demands and receives assurances that the former thane of Cawdor has been executed. When Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus…

Act 1, scene 5

Lady Macbeth reads her husband’s letter about his meeting the witches. She fears that Macbeth lacks the ruthlessness he needs…

Act 1, scene 6

Duncan and his attendants arrive at Inverness. Lady Macbeth welcomes them.

Act 1, scene 7

Macbeth contemplates the reasons why it is a terrible thing to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth mocks his fears and offers…

Act 2, scene 1

Banquo, who has accompanied Duncan to Inverness, is uneasy because he too is tempted by the witches’ prophecies, although only…

Act 2, scene 2

Lady Macbeth waits anxiously for Macbeth to return from killing Duncan. When Macbeth enters, he is horrified by what he…

Act 2, scene 3

A drunken porter, answering the knocking at the gate, plays the role of a devil-porter at the gates of hell….

Act 2, scene 4

An old man and Ross exchange accounts of recent unnatural happenings. Macduff joins them to report that Malcolm and Donalbain…

Act 3, scene 1

Banquo suspects that Macbeth killed Duncan in order to become king. Macbeth invites Banquo to a feast that night. Banquo…

Act 3, scene 2

Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth express their unhappiness. Macbeth speaks of his fear of Banquo especially. He refers to a…

Act 3, scene 3

A third man joins the two whom Macbeth has already sent to kill Banquo and Fleance. The three assassins manage…

Act 3, scene 4

As Macbeth’s banquet begins, one of Banquo’s murderers appears at the door to tell Macbeth of Banquo’s death and Fleance’s…

Act 3, scene 5

The presentation of the witches in this scene (as in 4.1.38 SD–43 and 141–48) differs from their presentation in the…

Act 3, scene 6

Lennox and an unnamed lord discuss politics in Scotland. Lennox comments sarcastically upon Macbeth’s “official” versions of the many recent…

Act 4, scene 1

Macbeth approaches the witches to learn how to make his kingship secure. In response they summon for him three apparitions:…

Act 4, scene 2

Ross visits Lady Macduff and tries to justify to her Macduff’s flight to England, a flight that leaves his family…

Act 4, scene 3

Macduff finds Malcolm at the English court and urges him to attack Macbeth at once. Malcolm suspects that Macduff is…

Act 5, scene 1

A gentlewoman who waits on Lady Macbeth has seen her walking in her sleep and has asked a doctor’s advice….

Act 5, scene 2

A Scottish force, in rebellion against Macbeth, marches toward Birnam Wood to join Malcolm and his English army.

Act 5, scene 3

Reports are brought to Macbeth of the Scottish and English forces massed against him. He seeks assurance in the apparitions’…

Act 5, scene 4

The rebel Scottish forces have joined Malcolm’s army at Birnam Wood. Malcolm orders each soldier to cut down and carry…

Act 5, scene 5

Macbeth is confident that he can withstand any siege from Malcolm’s forces. He is then told of Lady Macbeth’s death…

Act 5, scene 6

Malcolm arrives with his troops before Dunsinane Castle.

Act 5, scene 7

On the battlefield Macbeth kills young Siward, the son of the English commander. After Macbeth exits, Macduff arrives in search…

Act 5, scene 8

Macduff finds Macbeth, who is reluctant to fight with him because Macbeth has already killed Macduff’s whole family and is…

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Scene 3
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.

FIRST WITCH Where hast thou been, sister?
SECOND WITCH Killing swine.
THIRD WITCH Sister, where thou?
FIRST WITCH 
 A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap
5 And munched and munched and munched. “Give
 me,” quoth I.
 “Aroint thee, witch,” the rump-fed runnion cries.

15
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ th’ Tiger;
 But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
10 And, like a rat without a tail,
 I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.
SECOND WITCH 
 I’ll give thee a wind.
FIRST WITCH 
 Th’ art kind.
THIRD WITCH 
 And I another.
FIRST WITCH 
15 I myself have all the other,
 And the very ports they blow;
 All the quarters that they know
 I’ th’ shipman’s card.
 I’ll drain him dry as hay.
20 Sleep shall neither night nor day
 Hang upon his penthouse lid.
 He shall live a man forbid.
 Weary sev’nnights, nine times nine,
 Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.
25 Though his bark cannot be lost,
 Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.
 Look what I have.
SECOND WITCH Show me, show me.
FIRST WITCH 
 Here I have a pilot’s thumb,
30 Wracked as homeward he did come.Drum within.
THIRD WITCH 
 A drum, a drum!
 Macbeth doth come.
ALL, dancing in a circle 
 The Weïrd Sisters, hand in hand,
 Posters of the sea and land,
35 Thus do go about, about,
 Thrice to thine and thrice to mine

17
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And thrice again, to make up nine.
 Peace, the charm’s wound up.

Enter Macbeth and Banquo.

MACBETH 
 So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
BANQUO 
40 How far is ’t called to Forres?—What are these,
 So withered, and so wild in their attire,
 That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ Earth
 And yet are on ’t?—Live you? Or are you aught
 That man may question? You seem to understand
45 me
 By each at once her choppy finger laying
 Upon her skinny lips. You should be women,
 And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
 That you are so.
MACBETH 50 Speak if you can. What are you?
FIRST WITCH 
 All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
SECOND WITCH 
 All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
THIRD WITCH 
 All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!
BANQUO 
 Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear
55 Things that do sound so fair?—I’ th’ name of truth,
 Are you fantastical, or that indeed
 Which outwardly you show? My noble partner
 You greet with present grace and great prediction
 Of noble having and of royal hope,
60 That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.
 If you can look into the seeds of time
 And say which grain will grow and which will not,
 Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear
 Your favors nor your hate.

19
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

FIRST WITCH 65Hail!
SECOND WITCH Hail!
THIRD WITCH Hail!
FIRST WITCH 
 Lesser than Macbeth and greater.
SECOND WITCH 
 Not so happy, yet much happier.
THIRD WITCH 
70 Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.
 So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!
FIRST WITCH 
 Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!
MACBETH 
 Stay, you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.
 By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of Glamis.
75 But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives
 A prosperous gentleman, and to be king
 Stands not within the prospect of belief,
 No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
 You owe this strange intelligence or why
80 Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
 With such prophetic greeting. Speak, I charge you.
Witches vanish.
BANQUO 
 The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
 And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?
MACBETH 
 Into the air, and what seemed corporal melted,
85 As breath into the wind. Would they had stayed!
BANQUO 
 Were such things here as we do speak about?
 Or have we eaten on the insane root
 That takes the reason prisoner?
MACBETH 
 Your children shall be kings.
BANQUO 90 You shall be king.

21
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

MACBETH 
 And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?
BANQUO 
 To th’ selfsame tune and words.—Who’s here?

Enter Ross and Angus.

ROSS 
 The King hath happily received, Macbeth,
 The news of thy success, and, when he reads
95 Thy personal venture in the rebels’ fight,
 His wonders and his praises do contend
 Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that,
 In viewing o’er the rest o’ th’ selfsame day
 He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
100 Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
 Strange images of death. As thick as tale
 Came post with post, and every one did bear
 Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defense,
 And poured them down before him.
ANGUS 105 We are sent
 To give thee from our royal master thanks,
 Only to herald thee into his sight,
 Not pay thee.
ROSS 
 And for an earnest of a greater honor,
110 He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor,
 In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,
 For it is thine.
BANQUO  What, can the devil speak true?
MACBETH 
 The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me
115 In borrowed robes?
ANGUS  Who was the Thane lives yet,
 But under heavy judgment bears that life
 Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was
 combined

23
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 3

120 With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
 With hidden help and vantage, or that with both
 He labored in his country’s wrack, I know not;
 But treasons capital, confessed and proved,
 Have overthrown him.
MACBETH, aside 125 Glamis and Thane of Cawdor!
 The greatest is behind. To Ross and Angus. Thanks
 for your pains.
 Aside to Banquo. Do you not hope your children
 shall be kings,
130 When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me
 Promised no less to them?
BANQUO  That, trusted home,
 Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
 Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ’tis strange.
135 And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
 The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
 Win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s
 In deepest consequence.—
 Cousins, a word, I pray you.They step aside.
MACBETH, aside 140 Two truths are told
 As happy prologues to the swelling act
 Of the imperial theme.—I thank you, gentlemen.
 Aside. This supernatural soliciting
 Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,
145 Why hath it given me earnest of success
 Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
 If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
 Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
 And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
150 Against the use of nature? Present fears
 Are less than horrible imaginings.
 My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
 Shakes so my single state of man
 That function is smothered in surmise,
155 And nothing is but what is not.

25
Macbeth
ACT 1. SC. 4

BANQUO Look how our partner’s rapt.
MACBETH, aside 
 If chance will have me king, why, chance may
 crown me
 Without my stir.
BANQUO 160 New honors come upon him,
 Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold
 But with the aid of use.
MACBETH, aside  Come what come may,
 Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
BANQUO 
165 Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
MACBETH 
 Give me your favor. My dull brain was wrought
 With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains
 Are registered where every day I turn
 The leaf to read them. Let us toward the King.
170 Aside to Banquo. Think upon what hath chanced,
 and at more time,
 The interim having weighed it, let us speak
 Our free hearts each to other.
BANQUO Very gladly.
MACBETH 175Till then, enough.—Come, friends.
They exit.