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Macbeth
Act 2, scene 1

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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 1
Enter Banquo, and Fleance with a torch before him.

BANQUO How goes the night, boy?
FLEANCE 
 The moon is down. I have not heard the clock.
BANQUO And she goes down at twelve.
FLEANCE I take ’t ’tis later, sir.
BANQUO 
5 Hold, take my sword.He gives his sword to Fleance.
 There’s husbandry in heaven;
 Their candles are all out. Take thee that too.
 A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,
 And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers,
10 Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature
 Gives way to in repose.

Enter Macbeth, and a Servant with a torch.

 Give me my sword.—Who’s
 there?
MACBETH A friend.
BANQUO 
15 What, sir, not yet at rest? The King’s abed.
 He hath been in unusual pleasure, and
 Sent forth great largess to your offices.
 This diamond he greets your wife withal,
49

51
Macbeth
ACT 2. SC. 1

 By the name of most kind hostess, and shut up
20 In measureless content.
He gives Macbeth a jewel.
MACBETH  Being unprepared,
 Our will became the servant to defect,
 Which else should free have wrought.
BANQUO All’s well.
25 I dreamt last night of the three Weïrd Sisters.
 To you they have showed some truth.
MACBETH  I think not of
 them.
 Yet, when we can entreat an hour to serve,
30 We would spend it in some words upon that
 business,
 If you would grant the time.
BANQUO  At your kind’st leisure.
MACBETH 
 If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis,
35 It shall make honor for you.
BANQUO  So I lose none
 In seeking to augment it, but still keep
 My bosom franchised and allegiance clear,
 I shall be counseled.
MACBETH 40 Good repose the while.
BANQUO Thanks, sir. The like to you.
Banquo and Fleance exit.
MACBETH 
 Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
 She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.
Servant exits.
 Is this a dagger which I see before me,
45 The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch
 thee.
 I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
 Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
 To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but

53
Macbeth
ACT 2. SC. 1

50 A dagger of the mind, a false creation
 Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?
 I see thee yet, in form as palpable
 As this which now I draw.He draws his dagger.
 Thou marshal’st me the way that I was going,
55 And such an instrument I was to use.
 Mine eyes are made the fools o’ th’ other senses
 Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
 And, on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood,
 Which was not so before. There’s no such thing.
60 It is the bloody business which informs
 Thus to mine eyes. Now o’er the one-half world
 Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
 The curtained sleep. Witchcraft celebrates
 Pale Hecate’s off’rings, and withered murder,
65 Alarumed by his sentinel, the wolf,
 Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace,
 With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his
 design
 Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
70 Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
 Thy very stones prate of my whereabouts
 And take the present horror from the time,
 Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives.
 Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.
A bell rings.
75 I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.
 Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
 That summons thee to heaven or to hell.
He exits.