Macbeth - Act 5, scene 1
Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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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. Together they observe Lady Macbeth make the gestures of repeatedly washing her hands as she relives the horrors that she and Macbeth have carried out and experienced. The doctor concludes that she needs spiritual rather than medical aid.Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman.
DOCTOR 2036 I have two nights watched with you but can
2037 perceive no truth in your report. When was it she
2038 last walked?
GENTLEWOMAN 2039 Since his Majesty went into the field, I
2040 5 have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown
2041 upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper,
2042 fold it, write upon ’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and
2043 again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast
DOCTOR 2045 10A great perturbation in nature, to receive at
2046 once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of
2047 watching. In this slumb’ry agitation, besides her
2048 walking and other actual performances, what at any
2049 time have you heard her say?
GENTLEWOMAN 2050 15That, sir, which I will not report after
DOCTOR 2052 You may to me, and ’tis most meet you
GENTLEWOMAN 2054 Neither to you nor anyone, having no
2055 20 witness to confirm my speech.
Enter Lady ⌜Macbeth⌝ with a taper.
2056 Lo you, here she comes. This is her very guise and,
2057 upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.
GENTLEWOMAN 2059 Why, it stood by her. She has light by
2060 25 her continually. ’Tis her command.
DOCTOR 2061 You see her eyes are open.
GENTLEWOMAN 2062 Ay, but their sense are shut.
DOCTOR 2063 What is it she does now? Look how she rubs
2064 her hands.
GENTLEWOMAN 2065 30It is an accustomed action with her to
2066 seem thus washing her hands. I have known her
2067 continue in this a quarter of an hour.
LADY MACBETH 2068 Yet here’s a spot.
DOCTOR 2069 Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes
2070 35 from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
LADY MACBETH 2072 Out, damned spot, out, I say! One. Two.
2073 Why then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my
2074 lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear
2075 40 who knows it, when none can call our power to
2076 account? Yet who would have thought the old man
2077 to have had so much blood in him?
DOCTOR 2078 Do you mark that?
LADY MACBETH 2079 The Thane of Fife had a wife. Where is
2080 45 she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean? No
2081 more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all
2082 with this starting.
DOCTOR 2083 Go to, go to. You have known what you should
GENTLEWOMAN 2085 50She has spoke what she should not,
2086 I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has
LADY MACBETH 2088 Here’s the smell of the blood still. All
2089 the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
2090 55 hand. O, O, O!
DOCTOR 2091 What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely
GENTLEWOMAN 2093 I would not have such a heart in my
2094 bosom for the dignity of the whole body.
GENTLEWOMAN 2096 Pray God it be, sir.
DOCTOR 2097 This disease is beyond my practice. Yet I have
2098 known those which have walked in their sleep,
2099 who have died holily in their beds.
LADY MACBETH 2100 65Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown.
2101 Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s
2102 buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.
DOCTOR 2103 Even so?
LADY MACBETH 2104 To bed, to bed. There’s knocking at the
2105 70 gate. Come, come, come, come. Give me your
2106 hand. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to
2107 bed, to bed.Lady ⌜Macbeth⌝ exits.
DOCTOR 2108 Will she go now to bed?
GENTLEWOMAN 2109 Directly.
2110 75 Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
2111 Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds
2112 To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
2113 More needs she the divine than the physician.
2114 God, God forgive us all. Look after her.
2115 80 Remove from her the means of all annoyance
2116 And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night.
2117 My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
2118 I think but dare not speak.
GENTLEWOMAN 2119 Good night, good doctor.