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Macbeth
Act 3, scene 2

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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 2
Enter Macbeth’s Lady and a Servant.

LADY MACBETH Is Banquo gone from court?
SERVANT 
 Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.
LADY MACBETH 
 Say to the King I would attend his leisure
 For a few words.
SERVANT 5Madam, I will.He exits.
LADY MACBETH Naught’s had, all’s spent,
 Where our desire is got without content.
 ’Tis safer to be that which we destroy
 Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

93
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 2

Enter Macbeth.

10 How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
 Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
 Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
 With them they think on? Things without all remedy
 Should be without regard. What’s done is done.
MACBETH 
15 We have scorched the snake, not killed it.
 She’ll close and be herself whilst our poor malice
 Remains in danger of her former tooth.
 But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds
 suffer,
20 Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
 In the affliction of these terrible dreams
 That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
 Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
 Than on the torture of the mind to lie
25 In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave.
 After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.
 Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
 Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
 Can touch him further.
LADY MACBETH 30 Come on, gentle my lord,
 Sleek o’er your rugged looks. Be bright and jovial
 Among your guests tonight.
MACBETH  So shall I, love,
 And so I pray be you. Let your remembrance
35 Apply to Banquo; present him eminence
 Both with eye and tongue: unsafe the while that we
 Must lave our honors in these flattering streams
 And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
 Disguising what they are.
LADY MACBETH 40 You must leave this.
MACBETH 
 O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
 Thou know’st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.

95
Macbeth
ACT 3. SC. 3

LADY MACBETH 
 But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.
MACBETH 
 There’s comfort yet; they are assailable.
45 Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown
 His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
 The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hums
 Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
 A deed of dreadful note.
LADY MACBETH 50 What’s to be done?
MACBETH 
 Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
 Till thou applaud the deed.—Come, seeling night,
 Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day
 And with thy bloody and invisible hand
55 Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
 Which keeps me pale. Light thickens, and the crow
 Makes wing to th’ rooky wood.
 Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
 Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do
60 rouse.—
 Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still.
 Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
 So prithee go with me.
They exit.