Macbeth - Act 3, scene 4
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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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 escape. Returning to the table, Macbeth is confronted by Banquo’s ghost, invisible to all but Macbeth. While Lady Macbeth is able to dismiss as a momentary fit Macbeth’s expressions of horror at the ghost’s first appearance, the reappearance of the ghost and Macbeth’s outcries in response to it force Lady Macbeth to send all the guests away. Alone with Lady Macbeth, Macbeth resolves to meet the witches again. He foresees a future marked by further violence.Banquet prepared. Enter Macbeth, Lady ⌜Macbeth,⌝
Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.
1211 You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
1212 And last, the hearty welcome.⌜They sit.⌝
LORDS 1213 Thanks to your Majesty.
1214 Ourself will mingle with society
1215 5 And play the humble host.
1216 Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
1217 We will require her welcome.
1218 Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
1219 For my heart speaks they are welcome.
Enter First Murderer ⌜to the door.⌝
1220 10 See, they encounter thee with their hearts’ thanks.
1221 Both sides are even. Here I’ll sit i’ th’ midst.
1222 Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink a measure
1223 The table round. ⌜He approaches the Murderer.⌝ There’s
1224 blood upon thy face.
MURDERER 1225 15’Tis Banquo’s then.
1226 ’Tis better thee without than he within.
1227 Is he dispatched?
1228 My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.
1229 Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats,
1230 20 Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance.
1231 If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil.
1232 Most royal sir, Fleance is ’scaped.
1233 Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
1235 25 As broad and general as the casing air.
1236 But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
1237 To saucy doubts and fears.—But Banquo’s safe?
1238 Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
1239 With twenty trenchèd gashes on his head,
1240 30 The least a death to nature.
MACBETH 1241 Thanks for that.
1242 There the grown serpent lies. The worm that’s fled
1243 Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
1244 No teeth for th’ present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
1245 35 We’ll hear ourselves again.Murderer exits.
LADY MACBETH 1246 My royal lord,
1247 You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
1248 That is not often vouched, while ’tis a-making,
1249 ’Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
1250 40 From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony;
1251 Meeting were bare without it.
Enter the Ghost of Banquo, and sits in Macbeth’s place.
MACBETH, ⌜to Lady Macbeth⌝ 1252 Sweet remembrancer!—
1253 Now, good digestion wait on appetite
1254 And health on both!
LENNOX 1255 45 May ’t please your Highness sit.
1256 Here had we now our country’s honor roofed,
1257 Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
1258 Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
1259 Than pity for mischance.
ROSS 1260 50 His absence, sir,
1261 Lays blame upon his promise. Please ’t your
1263 To grace us with your royal company?
1264 The table’s full.
MACBETH 1266 Where?
1267 Here, my good lord. What is ’t that moves your
1269 Which of you have done this?
LORDS 1270 60 What, my good lord?
MACBETH, ⌜to the Ghost⌝
1271 Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake
1272 Thy gory locks at me.
1273 Gentlemen, rise. His Highness is not well.
1274 Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus
1275 65 And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
1276 The fit is momentary; upon a thought
1277 He will again be well. If much you note him
1278 You shall offend him and extend his passion.
1279 Feed and regard him not.⌜Drawing Macbeth aside.⌝
1280 70 Are you a man?
1281 Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
1282 Which might appall the devil.
LADY MACBETH 1283 O, proper stuff!
1284 This is the very painting of your fear.
1285 75 This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
1286 Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
1287 Impostors to true fear, would well become
1288 A woman’s story at a winter’s fire,
1289 Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
1290 80 Why do you make such faces? When all’s done,
1291 You look but on a stool.
1292 Prithee, see there. Behold, look! ⌜To the Ghost.⌝ Lo,
1293 how say you?
1295 85 If charnel houses and our graves must send
1296 Those that we bury back, our monuments
1297 Shall be the maws of kites.⌜Ghost exits.⌝
LADY MACBETH 1298 What, quite unmanned in folly?
1299 If I stand here, I saw him.
LADY MACBETH 1300 90 Fie, for shame!
1301 Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ th’ olden time,
1302 Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
1303 Ay, and since too, murders have been performed
1304 Too terrible for the ear. The ⌜time⌝ has been
1305 95 That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
1306 And there an end. But now they rise again
1307 With twenty mortal murders on their crowns
1308 And push us from our stools. This is more strange
1309 Than such a murder is.
LADY MACBETH 1310 100 My worthy lord,
1311 Your noble friends do lack you.
MACBETH 1312 I do forget.—
1313 Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
1314 I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
1315 105 To those that know me. Come, love and health to
1317 Then I’ll sit down.—Give me some wine. Fill full.
1318 I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table
1319 And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
1320 110 Would he were here! To all, and him we thirst,
1321 And all to all.
LORDS 1322 Our duties, and the pledge.
⌜They raise their drinking cups.⌝
MACBETH, ⌜to the Ghost⌝
1323 Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.
1324 Thy bones are marrowless; thy blood is cold;
1326 Which thou dost glare with.
LADY MACBETH 1327 Think of this, good
1329 But as a thing of custom. ’Tis no other;
1330 120 Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.
MACBETH, ⌜to the Ghost⌝ 1331 What man dare, I dare.
1332 Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
1333 The armed rhinoceros, or th’ Hyrcan tiger;
1334 Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
1335 125 Shall never tremble. Or be alive again
1336 And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
1337 If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
1338 The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
1339 Unreal mock’ry, hence!⌜Ghost exits.⌝
1340 130 Why so, being gone,
1341 I am a man again.—Pray you sit still.
1342 You have displaced the mirth, broke the good
1344 With most admired disorder.
MACBETH 1345 135 Can such things be
1346 And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
1347 Without our special wonder? You make me strange
1348 Even to the disposition that I owe
1349 When now I think you can behold such sights
1350 140 And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
1351 When mine is blanched with fear.
ROSS 1352 What sights, my
1354 I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse.
1355 145 Question enrages him. At once, good night.
1356 Stand not upon the order of your going,
1357 But go at once.
LENNOX 1358 Good night, and better health
1359 Attend his Majesty.
Lords ⌜and all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth⌝ exit.
1361 It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.
1362 Stones have been known to move, and trees to
1364 Augurs and understood relations have
1365 155 By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought
1367 The secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?
1368 Almost at odds with morning, which is which.
1369 How say’st thou that Macduff denies his person
1370 160 At our great bidding?
LADY MACBETH 1371 Did you send to him, sir?
1372 I hear it by the way; but I will send.
1373 There’s not a one of them but in his house
1374 I keep a servant fee’d. I will tomorrow
1375 165 (And betimes I will) to the Weïrd Sisters.
1376 More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know
1377 By the worst means the worst. For mine own good,
1378 All causes shall give way. I am in blood
1379 Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
1380 170 Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
1381 Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
1382 Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.
1383 You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
1384 Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
1385 175 Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
1386 We are yet but young in deed.