Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?
Macbeth (c.1605) is a play by William Shakespeare. It is often seen as an archetypal tale of the desire for power and the betrayal of loyalty.
- First Witch: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch: When the hurly-burly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.
Third Witch: That will be ere the set of sun.
First Witch: Where's the place?
Second Witch: Upon the heath
Third Witch:There to meet with Macbeth.
First Witch: I come, Graymalkin!
Second Witch: Paddock calls.
Third Witch: Anon.
- Fair is foul, and foul is fair;
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
- The merciless Macdonwald
(Worthy to be a rebel, — for, to that,
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him) from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel's whore: but all's too weak:
For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour's minion,
Carv'd out his passage.
- A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munched, and munched, and munched:
Give me, quoth I:
Aroint thee, witch! the rump-fed ronyon cries.
- Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid.
- So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
- First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
Second Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
Third Witch: All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.
- If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow, and which will not,
- The earth hath bubbles, as water has,
And these are of them.
- Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?
- But 'tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence.
- If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me
without my stir.
- Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
- Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death,
To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd,
As 'twere a careless trifle.
- There's no art
To find the mind's construction in the face:
He was a gentleman on whom I built
An absolute trust.
- Stars, hide your fires!
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
- Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition; but without
The illness should attend it.
- The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief!
- Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it.
- If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly; if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come.
- I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.
- I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more, is none.
- I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.
- Macbeth: If we should fail —
Lady Macbeth: We fail!
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail.
- Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
- What a haste looks through his eyes!
- The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.
- There's [husbandry]] in heaven;
Their candles are all out.
- Merciful powers!
Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature
Gives way to in repose.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?
- Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee;
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
- Now o'er the one-half world
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings.
- Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
The very stones prate of my where-about.
- I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.
- Methought I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep, — the innocent sleep;
Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.
- Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil.
- What hands are here, ha? They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.
- Porter: Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.
Macduff: What three things does drink especially provoke?
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.
- Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence
The life o' the building!
- Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!
Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! awake!
Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
And look on death itself! up, up, and see
The great doom's image!
- Had I but died an hour before this chance
I had liv'd a blessed time; for, from this instant,
There's nothing serious in mortality:
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead;
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.
- Who can be wise, amaz'd, temperate and furious,
Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man:
The expedition of my violent love
Outrun the pauser, reason. Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood,
And his gash'd stabs looked like a breach in nature,
for Ruin's wasteful entrance. There, the murderers;
Steeped in the colors of their trade, their very daggers
unmannerly breached with gore. Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart,
Courage to make's love known?
- In the great hand of God I stand; and thence
Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight
Of treasonous malice!
- To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
Which the false man does easy.
- A falcon, touring in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.
- Here comes the good Macduff. —
How goes the world, sir, now?
- God's benison go with you; and with those
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!
- I must become a borrower of the night
For a dark hour or twain.
- To be thus is nothing,
But to be safely thus.
- Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my grip,
Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine proceeding.
- First Murderer: We are men, my liege.
Macbeth: Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men.
- Second Murderer: I am one, my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incens'd, that I am reckless what I do
To spite the world.
First Murderer: And I another,
So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
That I would set my life on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on't.
- Naught's had, all's spent
Where our desire is got without content.
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than, by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy.
- Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what's done is done.
- We have scotch'd the snake, not killed it.
- Macbeth, Scene II
- Variant: We have scorch'd the snake, not killed it.
- Duncan is in his grave;
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well;
Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.
- Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
His cloister'd flight; ere, to black Hecate's summons
The shard-borne beetle, with his drowsy hums,
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.
- Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;
And with thy bloody and invisible hand,
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale! — Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood.
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
- Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.
- Banquo: It will be rain to-night.
First Murderer: Let it come down.
Banquo: O, treachery! — Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly!
Thou mayst revenge. — O, slave!
- Now spurs the lated traveller apace
To gain the timely inn; and near approaches
The subject of our watch.
- First Murderer, Scene III
- But now, I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears.
- Now, good digestion wait on appetite,
And health on both!
- Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
Thy gory locks at me.
- Lady Macbeth: Are you a man?
Macbeth: Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appall the devil.
- I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss;
Would he were here! to all, and him, we thirst,
And all to all.
- What man dare, I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble: or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!
- Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.
- It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood:
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak.
- I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
- Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
- By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes: —
- Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.
- First Apparition, Scene I
- Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
- Second Apparition, Scene I
- Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.
Macbeth: That will never be.
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree,
Unfix his earthbound root?
- Third Apparition, Scene I
- When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.
- Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before.
- First Murderer: Where is your husband?
Lady Macduff: I hope, in no place so unsanctified,
Where such as thou mayst find him.
First Murderer: He's a traitor.
Son: Thou liest, thou shag-hair'd villain!
First Murderer: What, you egg!
- Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.
- Fare thee well, lord:
I would not be the villian that thou think'st
For the whole space that's in the tyrant's grasp,
And the rich East to boot.
- Nay, had I power, I should
Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
Uproar the universal peace, confound
All unity on earth.
- Where sighs, and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
Are made, not markt; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy: the dead man's knell
Is there scarce askt for who; and good men's lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or e'er they sicken.
- Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
- All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? — O, hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?
- Malcolm: Dispute it like a man.
Macduff: I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man:
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.
- Out, damned spot! out, I say!
- Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
- Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!
- What's done cannot be undone.
- Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
- The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where gott'st thou that goose look?
- Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver'd boy.
- I have liv'd long enough: my way of life
Is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath,
Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.
- Macbeth: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd;
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;
Raze out the written troubles of the brain;
And with some sweet oblivious antidote,
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Doctor: Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Macbeth: Throw physic to the dogs; — I'll none of it.
- I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.
- Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
The cry is still, They come. Our castle's strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
Till famine and the ague eat them up.
Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
And beat them backward home.
- I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.
- She should have died hereafter;
There would have been time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- I 'gin to be a-weary of the sun,
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
- Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back.
- Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath,
Those clamorous harbingers of blood and death.
- Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
On mine own sword?
- Macduff: Turn, hell-hound, turn!
Macbeth:Of all men else I have avoided thee.
But get thee back. My soul is too much charged
With blood of thine already.
Macduff: I have no words.
My voice is in my sword. Thou bloodier villain
Than terms can give thee out!
- Macbeth: I bear a charmed life, which must not yield
To one of woman born.
Macduff: Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb
Macbeth: Accursed be the tongue that tells me so,
For it hath cow'd my better part of man!
And be these juggling fiends no more believ'd,
That palter with us in a double sense;
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.
- Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time.
- Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, Hold, enough!