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Macbeth
Act 4, 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 Macduff’s Wife, her Son, and Ross.

LADY MACDUFF 
 What had he done to make him fly the land?
ROSS 
 You must have patience, madam.
LADY MACDUFF  He had none.
 His flight was madness. When our actions do not,
5 Our fears do make us traitors.
ROSS  You know not
 Whether it was his wisdom or his fear.
LADY MACDUFF 
 Wisdom? To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
 His mansion and his titles in a place
10 From whence himself does fly? He loves us not;
 He wants the natural touch; for the poor wren,
 The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
 Her young ones in her nest, against the owl.
 All is the fear, and nothing is the love,
15 As little is the wisdom, where the flight
 So runs against all reason.
ROSS  My dearest coz,
 I pray you school yourself. But for your husband,
 He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
20 The fits o’ th’ season. I dare not speak much
 further;
 But cruel are the times when we are traitors
 And do not know ourselves; when we hold rumor
 From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
25 But float upon a wild and violent sea
 Each way and move—I take my leave of you.
 Shall not be long but I’ll be here again.
 Things at the worst will cease or else climb upward
 To what they were before.—My pretty cousin,
30 Blessing upon you.

135
Macbeth
ACT 4. SC. 2

LADY MACDUFF 
 Fathered he is, and yet he’s fatherless.
ROSS 
 I am so much a fool, should I stay longer
 It would be my disgrace and your discomfort.
 I take my leave at once.Ross exits.
LADY MACDUFF 35Sirrah, your father’s dead.
 And what will you do now? How will you live?
SON 
 As birds do, mother.
LADY MACDUFF  What, with worms and flies?
SON 
 With what I get, I mean; and so do they.
LADY MACDUFF 
40 Poor bird, thou ’dst never fear the net nor lime,
 The pitfall nor the gin.
SON 
 Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not set
 for.
 My father is not dead, for all your saying.
LADY MACDUFF 
45 Yes, he is dead. How wilt thou do for a father?
SON Nay, how will you do for a husband?
LADY MACDUFF 
 Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
SON Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.
LADY MACDUFF Thou speak’st with all thy wit,
50 And yet, i’ faith, with wit enough for thee.
SON Was my father a traitor, mother?
LADY MACDUFF Ay, that he was.
SON What is a traitor?
LADY MACDUFF Why, one that swears and lies.
SON 55And be all traitors that do so?
LADY MACDUFF Every one that does so is a traitor
 and must be hanged.
SON And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

137
Macbeth
ACT 4. SC. 2

LADY MACDUFF Every one.
SON 60Who must hang them?
LADY MACDUFF Why, the honest men.
SON Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there
 are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest
 men and hang up them.
LADY MACDUFF 65Now God help thee, poor monkey! But
 how wilt thou do for a father?
SON If he were dead, you’d weep for him. If you would
 not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a
 new father.
LADY MACDUFF 70Poor prattler, how thou talk’st!

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER 
 Bless you, fair dame. I am not to you known,
 Though in your state of honor I am perfect.
 I doubt some danger does approach you nearly.
 If you will take a homely man’s advice,
75 Be not found here. Hence with your little ones!
 To fright you thus methinks I am too savage;
 To do worse to you were fell cruelty,
 Which is too nigh your person. Heaven preserve
 you!
80 I dare abide no longer.Messenger exits.
LADY MACDUFF  Whither should I fly?
 I have done no harm. But I remember now
 I am in this earthly world, where to do harm
 Is often laudable, to do good sometime
85 Accounted dangerous folly. Why then, alas,
 Do I put up that womanly defense
 To say I have done no harm?

Enter Murderers.

 What are these faces?
MURDERER Where is your husband?

139
Macbeth
ACT 4. SC. 3

LADY MACDUFF 
90 I hope in no place so unsanctified
 Where such as thou mayst find him.
MURDERER  He’s a traitor.
SON 
 Thou liest, thou shag-eared villain!
MURDERER  What, you egg?
95 Stabbing him. Young fry of treachery!
SON  He has killed
 me, mother.
 Run away, I pray you.
Lady Macduff exits, crying “Murder!” followed by the
Murderers bearing the Son’s body.