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Macbeth
Act 3, 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.

BANQUO 
 Thou hast it now—king, Cawdor, Glamis, all
 As the Weïrd Women promised, and I fear
 Thou played’st most foully for ’t. Yet it was said
 It should not stand in thy posterity,
5 But that myself should be the root and father
 Of many kings. If there come truth from them
 (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine)
 Why, by the verities on thee made good,
 May they not be my oracles as well,
10 And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.

Sennet sounded. Enter Macbeth as King, Lady
Macbeth, Lennox, Ross, Lords, and Attendants.


MACBETH 
 Here’s our chief guest.
LADY MACBETH  If he had been forgotten,
 It had been as a gap in our great feast
 And all-thing unbecoming.
MACBETH 
15 Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,
 And I’ll request your presence.
BANQUO  Let your Highness
81

83
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Command upon me, to the which my duties
 Are with a most indissoluble tie
20 Forever knit.
MACBETH Ride you this afternoon?
BANQUO Ay, my good lord.
MACBETH 
 We should have else desired your good advice
 (Which still hath been both grave and prosperous)
25 In this day’s council, but we’ll take tomorrow.
 Is ’t far you ride?
BANQUO 
 As far, my lord, as will fill up the time
 ’Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better,
 I must become a borrower of the night
30 For a dark hour or twain.
MACBETH  Fail not our feast.
BANQUO My lord, I will not.
MACBETH 
 We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed
 In England and in Ireland, not confessing
35 Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers
 With strange invention. But of that tomorrow,
 When therewithal we shall have cause of state
 Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse. Adieu,
 Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?
BANQUO 
40 Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon ’s.
MACBETH 
 I wish your horses swift and sure of foot,
 And so I do commend you to their backs.
 Farewell.Banquo exits.
 Let every man be master of his time
45 Till seven at night. To make society
 The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself
 Till suppertime alone. While then, God be with you.
Lords and all but Macbeth and a Servant exit.

85
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men
 Our pleasure?
SERVANT 
50 They are, my lord, without the palace gate.
MACBETH 
 Bring them before us.Servant exits.
 To be thus is nothing,
 But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo
 Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
55 Reigns that which would be feared. ’Tis much he
 dares,
 And to that dauntless temper of his mind
 He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor
 To act in safety. There is none but he
60 Whose being I do fear; and under him
 My genius is rebuked, as it is said
 Mark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
 When first they put the name of king upon me
 And bade them speak to him. Then, prophet-like,
65 They hailed him father to a line of kings.
 Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
 And put a barren scepter in my grip,
 Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
 No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,
70 For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
 For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,
 Put rancors in the vessel of my peace
 Only for them, and mine eternal jewel
 Given to the common enemy of man
75 To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo kings.
 Rather than so, come fate into the list,
 And champion me to th’ utterance.—Who’s there?

Enter Servant and two Murderers.

 To the Servant. Now go to the door, and stay there
 till we call.Servant exits.

87
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 1

80 Was it not yesterday we spoke together?
MURDERERS 
 It was, so please your Highness.
MACBETH  Well then, now
 Have you considered of my speeches? Know
 That it was he, in the times past, which held you
85 So under fortune, which you thought had been
 Our innocent self. This I made good to you
 In our last conference, passed in probation with you
 How you were borne in hand, how crossed, the
 instruments,
90 Who wrought with them, and all things else that
 might
 To half a soul and to a notion crazed
 Say “Thus did Banquo.”
FIRST MURDERER  You made it known to us.
MACBETH 
95 I did so, and went further, which is now
 Our point of second meeting. Do you find
 Your patience so predominant in your nature
 That you can let this go? Are you so gospeled
 To pray for this good man and for his issue,
100 Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave
 And beggared yours forever?
FIRST MURDERER  We are men, my liege.
MACBETH 
 Ay, in the catalogue you go for men,
 As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels,
105 curs,
 Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept
 All by the name of dogs. The valued file
 Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
 The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
110 According to the gift which bounteous nature
 Hath in him closed; whereby he does receive

89
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Particular addition, from the bill
 That writes them all alike. And so of men.
 Now, if you have a station in the file,
115 Not i’ th’ worst rank of manhood, say ’t,
 And I will put that business in your bosoms
 Whose execution takes your enemy off,
 Grapples you to the heart and love of us,
 Who wear our health but sickly in his life,
120 Which in his death were perfect.
SECOND MURDERER  I am one, my liege,
 Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
 Hath so incensed that I am reckless what
 I do to spite the world.
FIRST MURDERER 125 And I another
 So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune,
 That I would set my life on any chance,
 To mend it or be rid on ’t.
MACBETH  Both of you
130 Know Banquo was your enemy.
MURDERERS  True, my lord.
MACBETH 
 So is he mine, and in such bloody distance
 That every minute of his being thrusts
 Against my near’st of life. And though I could
135 With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
 And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
 For certain friends that are both his and mine,
 Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
 Who I myself struck down. And thence it is
140 That I to your assistance do make love,
 Masking the business from the common eye
 For sundry weighty reasons.
SECOND MURDERER  We shall, my lord,
 Perform what you command us.
FIRST MURDERER 145 Though our lives—

91
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 2

MACBETH 
 Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at
 most
 I will advise you where to plant yourselves,
 Acquaint you with the perfect spy o’ th’ time,
150 The moment on ’t, for ’t must be done tonight
 And something from the palace; always thought
 That I require a clearness. And with him
 (To leave no rubs nor botches in the work)
 Fleance, his son, that keeps him company,
155 Whose absence is no less material to me
 Than is his father’s, must embrace the fate
 Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart.
 I’ll come to you anon.
MURDERERS We are resolved, my lord.
MACBETH 
160 I’ll call upon you straight. Abide within.
Murderers exit.
 It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight,
 If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.
He exits.