Macbeth - Act 2, scene 3
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workMacbeth - Act 2, scene 3
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. He admits Macduff and Lennox, who have come to wake Duncan. Macbeth appears and greets them. Macduff exits to wake Duncan, then returns to announce Duncan’s murder. Macbeth and Lennox go to see for themselves. When they return, Lennox announces that Duncan’s servants are the murderers. Macbeth reveals that he has slain the servants. When his motives are questioned, Lady Macbeth interrupts by calling for help for herself. Duncan’s sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, plan to flee for their lives—Malcolm to England, Donalbain to Ireland.Knocking within. Enter a Porter.
PORTER 0725 Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were
0726 porter of hell gate, he should have old turning the
0727 key. (Knock.) Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i’
0728 th’ name of Beelzebub? Here’s a farmer that hanged
0729 5 himself on th’ expectation of plenty. Come in time!
0730 Have napkins enough about you; here you’ll sweat
0731 for ’t. (Knock.) Knock, knock! Who’s there, in th’
0732 other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator
0733 that could swear in both the scales against either
0734 10 scale, who committed treason enough for God’s
0735 sake yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in,
0736 equivocator. (Knock.) Knock, knock, knock! Who’s
0737 there? Faith, here’s an English tailor come hither for
0738 stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor. Here
0739 15 you may roast your goose. (Knock.) Knock, knock!
0740 Never at quiet.—What are you?—But this place is
0741 too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further. I had
0742 thought to have let in some of all professions that go
0743 the primrose way to th’ everlasting bonfire. (Knock.)
0744 20 Anon, anon!
⌜The Porter opens the door to⌝ Macduff and Lennox.
0745 I pray you, remember the porter.
0746 Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed
0747 That you do lie so late?
PORTER 0748 Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second
0749 25 cock, and drink, sir, is a great provoker of three
MACDUFF 0751 What three things does drink especially
PORTER 0753 Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.
0754 30 Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes
0755 the desire, but it takes away the performance.
0756 Therefore much drink may be said to be an
0757 equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it
0758 mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it
0759 35 persuades him and disheartens him; makes him
0760 stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates
0761 him in a sleep and, giving him the lie, leaves
MACDUFF 0763 I believe drink gave thee the lie last night.
PORTER 0764 40That it did, sir, i’ th’ very throat on me; but I
0765 requited him for his lie, and, I think, being too
0766 strong for him, though he took up my legs sometime,
0767 yet I made a shift to cast him.
MACDUFF 0768 Is thy master stirring?
0769 45 Our knocking has awaked him. Here he comes.
0770 Good morrow, noble sir.
MACBETH 0771 Good morrow, both.
0772 Is the King stirring, worthy thane?
MACBETH 0773 Not yet.
0774 50 He did command me to call timely on him.
0775 I have almost slipped the hour.
0777 I know this is a joyful trouble to you,
0778 But yet ’tis one.
0779 55 The labor we delight in physics pain.
0780 This is the door.
MACDUFF 0781 I’ll make so bold to call,
0782 For ’tis my limited service.Macduff exits.
LENNOX 0783 Goes the King hence today?
MACBETH 0784 60He does. He did appoint so.
0785 The night has been unruly. Where we lay,
0786 Our chimneys were blown down and, as they say,
0787 Lamentings heard i’ th’ air, strange screams of
0789 65 And prophesying, with accents terrible,
0790 Of dire combustion and confused events
0791 New hatched to th’ woeful time. The obscure bird
0792 Clamored the livelong night. Some say the Earth
0793 Was feverous and did shake.
MACBETH 0794 70 ’Twas a rough night.
0795 My young remembrance cannot parallel
0796 A fellow to it.
MACDUFF 0797 O horror, horror, horror!
0798 Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!
MACBETH AND LENNOX 0799 75What’s the matter?
0800 Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.
0801 Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
0802 The Lord’s anointed temple and stole thence
0803 The life o’ th’ building.
LENNOX 0805 Mean you his Majesty?
0806 Approach the chamber and destroy your sight
0807 With a new Gorgon. Do not bid me speak.
0808 See and then speak yourselves.
Macbeth and Lennox exit.
0809 85 Awake, awake!
0810 Ring the alarum bell.—Murder and treason!
0811 Banquo and Donalbain, Malcolm, awake!
0812 Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit,
0813 And look on death itself. Up, up, and see
0814 90 The great doom’s image. Malcolm, Banquo,
0815 As from your graves rise up and walk like sprites
0816 To countenance this horror.—Ring the bell.
Enter Lady ⌜Macbeth.⌝
LADY MACBETH 0817 What’s the business,
0818 That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
0819 95 The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!
MACDUFF 0820 O gentle lady,
0821 ’Tis not for you to hear what I can speak.
0822 The repetition in a woman’s ear
0823 Would murder as it fell.
0824 100 O Banquo, Banquo,
0825 Our royal master’s murdered.
LADY MACBETH 0826 Woe, alas!
0827 What, in our house?
BANQUO 0828 Too cruel anywhere.—
0829 105 Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself
0830 And say it is not so.
0831 Had I but died an hour before this chance,
0832 I had lived a blessèd time; for from this instant
0833 There’s nothing serious in mortality.
0834 110 All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead.
0835 The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
0836 Is left this vault to brag of.
Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.
DONALBAIN 0837 What is amiss?
MACBETH 0838 You are, and do not know ’t.
0839 115 The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
0840 Is stopped; the very source of it is stopped.
0841 Your royal father’s murdered.
MALCOLM 0842 O, by whom?
0843 Those of his chamber, as it seemed, had done ’t.
0844 120 Their hands and faces were all badged with blood.
0845 So were their daggers, which unwiped we found
0846 Upon their pillows. They stared and were distracted.
0847 No man’s life was to be trusted with them.
0848 O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
0849 125 That I did kill them.
MACDUFF 0850 Wherefore did you so?
0851 Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious,
0852 Loyal, and neutral, in a moment? No man.
0853 Th’ expedition of my violent love
0854 130 Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
0855 His silver skin laced with his golden blood,
0856 And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature
0857 For ruin’s wasteful entrance; there the murderers,
0859 135 Unmannerly breeched with gore. Who could refrain
0860 That had a heart to love, and in that heart
0861 Courage to make ’s love known?
LADY MACBETH 0862 Help me hence, ho!
0863 Look to the lady.
MALCOLM, ⌜aside to Donalbain⌝ 0864 140 Why do we hold our
0866 That most may claim this argument for ours?
DONALBAIN, ⌜aside to Malcolm⌝
0867 What should be spoken here, where our fate,
0868 Hid in an auger hole, may rush and seize us?
0869 145 Let’s away. Our tears are not yet brewed.
MALCOLM, ⌜aside to Donalbain⌝
0870 Nor our strong sorrow upon the foot of motion.
BANQUO 0871 Look to the lady.
⌜Lady Macbeth is assisted to leave.⌝
0872 And when we have our naked frailties hid,
0873 That suffer in exposure, let us meet
0874 150 And question this most bloody piece of work
0875 To know it further. Fears and scruples shake us.
0876 In the great hand of God I stand, and thence
0877 Against the undivulged pretense I fight
0878 Of treasonous malice.
MACDUFF 0879 155 And so do I.
ALL 0880 So all.
0881 Let’s briefly put on manly readiness
0882 And meet i’ th’ hall together.
ALL 0883 Well contented.
⌜All but Malcolm and Donalbain⌝ exit.
0884 160 What will you do? Let’s not consort with them.
0885 To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
0886 Which the false man does easy. I’ll to England.
0887 To Ireland I. Our separated fortune
0888 Shall keep us both the safer. Where we are,
0889 165 There’s daggers in men’s smiles. The near in blood,
0890 The nearer bloody.
MALCOLM 0891 This murderous shaft that’s shot
0892 Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
0893 Is to avoid the aim. Therefore to horse,
0894 170 And let us not be dainty of leave-taking
0895 But shift away. There’s warrant in that theft
0896 Which steals itself when there’s no mercy left.