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Macbeth - Act 1, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workMacbeth - Act 1, scene 4
Act 1, scene 4
Duncan demands and receives assurances that the former thane of Cawdor has been executed. When Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus join Duncan, he offers thanks to Macbeth and Banquo. He then announces his intention to have his son Malcolm succeed him as king and his plan to visit Macbeth at Inverness. Macbeth sets out ahead of him to prepare for the royal visit. Now that Malcolm has been named Duncan’s successor, Macbeth is convinced that he can become king only by killing Duncan.Flourish. Enter King ⌜Duncan,⌝ Lennox, Malcolm,
Donalbain, and Attendants.
0267 Is execution done on Cawdor? ⌜Are⌝ not
0268 Those in commission yet returned?
MALCOLM 0269 My liege,
0270 They are not yet come back. But I have spoke
0271 5 With one that saw him die, who did report
p. 270272 That very frankly he confessed his treasons,
0273 Implored your Highness’ pardon, and set forth
0274 A deep repentance. Nothing in his life
0275 Became him like the leaving it. He died
0276 10 As one that had been studied in his death
0277 To throw away the dearest thing he owed
0278 As ’twere a careless trifle.
DUNCAN 0279 There’s no art
0280 To find the mind’s construction in the face.
0281 15 He was a gentleman on whom I built
0282 An absolute trust.
Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus.
0283 O worthiest cousin,
0284 The sin of my ingratitude even now
0285 Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before
0286 20 That swiftest wing of recompense is slow
0287 To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved,
0288 That the proportion both of thanks and payment
0289 Might have been mine! Only I have left to say,
0290 More is thy due than more than all can pay.
0291 25 The service and the loyalty I owe
0292 In doing it pays itself. Your Highness’ part
0293 Is to receive our duties, and our duties
0294 Are to your throne and state children and servants,
0295 Which do but what they should by doing everything
0296 30 Safe toward your love and honor.
DUNCAN 0297 Welcome hither.
0298 I have begun to plant thee and will labor
0299 To make thee full of growing.—Noble Banquo,
0300 That hast no less deserved nor must be known
0301 35 No less to have done so, let me enfold thee
0302 And hold thee to my heart.
BANQUO 0303 There, if I grow,
0304 The harvest is your own.
p. 29DUNCAN 0305 My plenteous joys,
0306 40 Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves
0307 In drops of sorrow.—Sons, kinsmen, thanes,
0308 And you whose places are the nearest, know
0309 We will establish our estate upon
0310 Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
0311 45 The Prince of Cumberland; which honor must
0312 Not unaccompanied invest him only,
0313 But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
0314 On all deservers.—From hence to Inverness
0315 And bind us further to you.
0316 50 The rest is labor which is not used for you.
0317 I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
0318 The hearing of my wife with your approach.
0319 So humbly take my leave.
DUNCAN 0320 My worthy Cawdor.
0321 55 The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
0322 On which I must fall down or else o’erleap,
0323 For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
0324 Let not light see my black and deep desires.
0325 The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be
0326 60 Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
0327 True, worthy Banquo. He is full so valiant,
0328 And in his commendations I am fed:
0329 It is a banquet to me.—Let’s after him,
0330 Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome.
0331 65 It is a peerless kinsman.
Flourish. They exit.