List iconMacbeth:
Act 3, scene 4
List icon

Act 3, scene 4



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…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 4
Banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth,
Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.

 You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
 And last, the hearty welcome.They sit.
LORDS Thanks to your Majesty.
 Ourself will mingle with society
5 And play the humble host.
 Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
 We will require her welcome.
 Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
 For my heart speaks they are welcome.

Enter First Murderer to the door.

10 See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks.
 Both sides are even. Here I’ll sit i’ th’ midst.
 Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink a measure
 The table round. He approaches the Murderer. There’s
 blood upon thy face.
MURDERER 15’Tis Banquo’s then.
 ’Tis better thee without than he within.
 Is he dispatched?
 My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.
 Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats,
20 Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.
 If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.
 Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.
MACBETH, aside 
 Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,

ACT 3. SC. 4

 Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
25 As broad and general as the casing air.
 But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
 To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?
 Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
 With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
30 The least a death to nature.
MACBETH  Thanks for that.
 There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled
 Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
 No teeth for th’ present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
35 We’ll hear ourselves again.Murderer exits.
LADY MACBETH  My royal lord,
 You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
 That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making,
 ’Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
40 From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
 Meeting were bare without it.

Enter the Ghost of Banquo, and sits in Macbeth’s place.

MACBETH, to Lady Macbeth Sweet remembrancer!—
 Now, good digestion wait on appetite
 And health on both!
LENNOX 45 May ’t please your Highness sit.
 Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,
 Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
 Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
 Than pity for mischance.
ROSS 50 His absence, sir,
 Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your
 To grace us with your royal company?
 The table’s full.

ACT 3. SC. 4

LENNOX 55 Here is a place reserved, sir.
 Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your
 Which of you have done this?
LORDS 60 What, my good lord?
MACBETH, to the Ghost 
 Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake
 Thy gory locks at me.
 Gentlemen, rise. His Highness is not well.
 Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus
65 And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
 The fit is momentary; upon a thought
 He will again be well. If much you note him
 You shall offend him and extend his passion.
 Feed and regard him not.Drawing Macbeth aside.
70 Are you a man?
 Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
 Which might appall the devil.
LADY MACBETH  O, proper stuff!
 This is the very painting of your fear.
75 This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
 Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
 Impostors to true fear, would well become
 A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,
 Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
80 Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,
 You look but on a stool.
 Prithee, see there. Behold, look! To the Ghost. Lo,
 how say you?

ACT 3. SC. 4

 Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.—
85 If charnel houses and our graves must send
 Those that we bury back, our monuments
 Shall be the maws of kites.Ghost exits.
LADY MACBETH What, quite unmanned in folly?
 If I stand here, I saw him.
LADY MACBETH 90 Fie, for shame!
 Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time,
 Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
 Ay, and since too, murders have been performed
 Too terrible for the ear. The time has been
95 That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
 And there an end. But now they rise again
 With twenty mortal murders on their crowns
 And push us from our stools. This is more strange
 Than such a murder is.
LADY MACBETH 100 My worthy lord,
 Your noble friends do lack you.
MACBETH  I do forget.—
 Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
 I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
105 To those that know me. Come, love and health to
 Then I’ll sit down.—Give me some wine. Fill full.

Enter Ghost.

 I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table
 And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
110 Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst,
 And all to all.
LORDS  Our duties, and the pledge.
They raise their drinking cups.
MACBETH, to the Ghost 
 Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.
 Thy bones are marrowless; thy blood is cold;

ACT 3. SC. 4

115 Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
 Which thou dost glare with.
LADY MACBETH  Think of this, good
 But as a thing of custom. ’Tis no other;
120 Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
MACBETH, to the Ghost What man dare, I dare.
 Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
 The armed rhinoceros, or th’ Hyrcan tiger;
 Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
125 Shall never tremble. Or be alive again
 And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
 If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
 The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
 Unreal mock’ry, hence!Ghost exits.
130 Why so, being gone,
 I am a man again.—Pray you sit still.
 You have displaced the mirth, broke the good
 With most admired disorder.
MACBETH 135 Can such things be
 And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
 Without our special wonder? You make me strange
 Even to the disposition that I owe
 When now I think you can behold such sights
140 And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
 When mine is blanched with fear.
ROSS  What sights, my
 I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse.
145 Question enrages him. At once, good night.
 Stand not upon the order of your going,
 But go at once.
LENNOX  Good night, and better health
 Attend his Majesty.

ACT 3. SC. 4

LADY MACBETH 150A kind good night to all.
Lords and all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exit.
 It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.
 Stones have been known to move, and trees to
 Augurs and understood relations have
155 By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought
 The secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?
 Almost at odds with morning, which is which.
 How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person
160 At our great bidding?
LADY MACBETH  Did you send to him, sir?
 I hear it by the way; but I will send.
 There’s not a one of them but in his house
 I keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow
165 (And betimes I will) to the Weïrd Sisters.
 More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know
 By the worst means the worst. For mine own good,
 All causes shall give way. I am in blood
 Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
170 Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
 Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
 Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.
 You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
 Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
175 Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
 We are yet but young in deed.
They exit.