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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workMacbeth
Act 1, scene 7
Macbeth contemplates the reasons why it is a terrible thing to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth mocks his fears and offers a plan for Duncan’s murder, which Macbeth accepts.Hautboys. Torches. Enter a Sewer and divers Servants
with dishes and service over the stage. Then enter
0457 If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
0458 It were done quickly. If th’ assassination
0459 Could trammel up the consequence and catch
0460 With his surcease success, that but this blow
0461 5 Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
0462 But here, upon this bank and ⌜shoal⌝ of time,
0463 We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases
0464 We still have judgment here, that we but teach
0465 Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
0466 10 To plague th’ inventor. This even-handed justice
0467 Commends th’ ingredience of our poisoned chalice
0468 To our own lips. He’s here in double trust:
0469 First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
0470 Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
0471 15 Who should against his murderer shut the door,
0472 Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
0473 Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
0474 So clear in his great office, that his virtues
0475 Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
0476 20 The deep damnation of his taking-off;
0477 And pity, like a naked newborn babe
0478 Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubin horsed
p. 410479 Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
0480 Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
0481 25 That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
0482 To prick the sides of my intent, but only
0483 Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
0484 And falls on th’ other—
Enter Lady ⌜Macbeth.⌝
0485 How now, what news?
0486 30 He has almost supped. Why have you left the
0488 Hath he asked for me?
LADY MACBETH 0489 Know you not he has?
0490 We will proceed no further in this business.
0491 35 He hath honored me of late, and I have bought
0492 Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
0493 Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
0494 Not cast aside so soon.
LADY MACBETH 0495 Was the hope drunk
0496 40 Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
0497 And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
0498 At what it did so freely? From this time
0499 Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
0500 To be the same in thine own act and valor
0501 45 As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
0502 Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life
0503 And live a coward in thine own esteem,
0504 Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would,”
0505 Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?
MACBETH 0506 50 Prithee, peace.
0507 I dare do all that may become a man.
0508 Who dares ⌜do⌝ more is none.
p. 43LADY MACBETH 0509 What beast was ’t,
0511 55 That made you break this enterprise to me?
0512 When you durst do it, then you were a man;
0513 And to be more than what you were, you would
0514 Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
0515 Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.
0516 60 They have made themselves, and that their fitness
0518 Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
0519 How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me.
0520 I would, while it was smiling in my face,
0521 65 Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
0522 And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
0523 Have done to this.
MACBETH 0524 If we should fail—
LADY MACBETH 0525 We fail?
0526 70 But screw your courage to the sticking place
0527 And we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep
0528 (Whereto the rather shall his day’s hard journey
0529 Soundly invite him), his two chamberlains
0530 Will I with wine and wassail so convince
0531 75 That memory, the warder of the brain,
0532 Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
0533 A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep
0534 Their drenchèd natures lies as in a death,
0535 What cannot you and I perform upon
0536 80 Th’ unguarded Duncan? What not put upon
0537 His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
0538 Of our great quell?
MACBETH 0539 Bring forth men-children only,
0540 For thy undaunted mettle should compose
0541 85 Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
0542 When we have marked with blood those sleepy two
0543 Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
0544 That they have done ’t?
p. 45LADY MACBETH 0545 Who dares receive it other,
0546 90 As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar
0547 Upon his death?
MACBETH 0548 I am settled and bend up
0549 Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
0550 Away, and mock the time with fairest show.
0551 95 False face must hide what the false heart doth