The Tragedy of macbeth by William Shakespeare, chapter name ACT 1



A desert place. Thunder and lightning.

Enter three Witches.


FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won.

THIRD WITCH. That will be ere the set of sun.

FIRST WITCH. Where the place? SECOND WITCH. Upon the heath.

THIRD WITCH. There to meet with Macbeth.


FIRST WITCH. I come, Graymalkin.

ALL. Paddock calls. Anon! Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Hover through the fog and filthy air. Exeunt.





A camp near Forres. Alarum within.

Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Sergeant.


DUNCAN. What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt

The newest state.

MALCOLM. This is the sergeant

Who like a good and hardy soldier fought 'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend! Say to the King the knowledge of the broil As thou didst leave it.

SERGEANT. Doubtful it stood,

As two spent swimmers that do cling together And choke their art. 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, Show'd 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 Valor's minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave,

Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,

And fix'd his head upon our battlements.

DUNCAN. O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman! SERGEANT. As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,

So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark.

No sooner justice had, with valor arm'd,

Compell'd these skipping kerns to trust their heels, But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage, With furbish'd arms and new supplies of men,

Began a fresh assault.

DUNCAN. Dismay'd not this

Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?


As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion. If I say sooth, I must report they were


As cannons overcharged with double cracks, So they

Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.

Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, Or memorize another Golgotha,

I cannot tell-

But I am faint; my gashes cry for help.

DUNCAN. So well thy words become thee as thy wounds; They smack of honor both. Go get him surgeons.

Exit Sergeant, attended.

Who comes here?

Enter Ross.

MALCOLM. The worthy Thane of Ross.

LENNOX. What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look That seems to speak things strange.

ROSS. God save the King!

DUNCAN. Whence camest thou, worthy Thane?

ROSS. From Fife, great King,

Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky And fan our people cold.

Norway himself, with terrible numbers, Assisted by that most disloyal traitor

The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,

Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof, Confronted him with self-comparisons,


Point against point rebellious, arm 'gainst arm, Curbing his lavish spirit; and, to conclude, The victory fell on us.

DUNCAN. Great happiness!

ROSS. That now

Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition; Nor would we deign him burial of his men Till he disbursed, at Saint Colme's Inch,

Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

DUNCAN. No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,

And with his former title greet Macbeth.

ROSS. I'll see it done.

DUNCAN. What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.






A heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches.


FIRST WITCH. Where hast thou been, sister?

SECOND WITCH. Killing swine. THIRD WITCH. Sister, where thou?

FIRST WITCH. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,


And mounch'd, and mounch'd, and mounch'd. "Give me," quoth I. "Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed ronyon cries.

Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger;

But in a sieve I'll thither sail, And, like a rat without a tail, I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

SECOND WITCH. I'll give thee a wind.

FIRST WITCH. Thou'rt kind. THIRD WITCH. And I another.

FIRST WITCH. I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow,

All the quarters that they know

I' the shipman's card.

I will drain him dry as hay: Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid;

He shall live a man forbid.

Weary se'nnights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine; Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd.

Look what I have.

SECOND WITCH. Show me, show me.

FIRST WITCH. Here I have a pilot's thumb, Wreck'd as homeward he did come. Drum within.


THIRD WITCH. A drum, a drum!

Macbeth doth come.

ALL. The weird sisters, hand in hand, Posters of the sea and land, Thus do go about, about,

Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine, And thrice again, to make up nine.

Peace! The charm's wound up.

Enter Macbeth and Banquo.

MACBETH. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

BANQUO. How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these So wither'd and so wild in their attire,

That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth, And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught

That man may question? You seem to understand me,

By each at once her choppy finger laying Upon her skinny lips. You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret

That you are so.

MACBETH. Speak, if you can. What are you?

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!

BANQUO. Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,


Are ye fantastical or that indeed

Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction Of noble having and of royal hope,

That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.

If you can look into the seeds of time,

And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear

Your favors nor your hate.


FIRST WITCH. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. SECOND WITCH. Not so happy, yet much happier.

THIRD WITCH. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

FIRST WITCH. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

MACBETH. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.

By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis; But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives,

A prosperous gentleman; and to be King Stands not within the prospect of belief,

No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence

You owe this strange intelligence, or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way


With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

Witches vanish.

BANQUO. The earth hath bubbles as the water has, And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?

MACBETH. Into the air, and what seem'd corporal melted As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!

BANQUO. Were such things here as we do speak about?

Or have we eaten on the insane root That takes the reason prisoner?

MACBETH. Your children shall be kings.

BANQUO. You shall be King.

MACBETH. And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so? BANQUO. To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?

Enter Ross and Angus.

ROSS. The King hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success; and when he reads

Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight, His wonders and his praises do contend

Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that, In viewing o'er the rest o' the selfsame day,

He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as hail

Came post with post, and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom's great defense,


And pour'd them down before him.

ANGUS. We are sent

To give thee, from our royal master, thanks; Only to herald thee into his sight,

Not pay thee.

ROSS. And for an earnest of a greater honor,

He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor.

In which addition, hail, most worthy Thane, For it is thine.

BANQUO. What, can the devil speak true?

MACBETH. The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me In borrow'd robes?

ANGUS. Who was the Thane lives yet, But under heavy judgement bears that life

Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined

With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labor'd in his country's wreck, I know not; But treasons capital, confess'd and proved,

Have overthrown him.

MACBETH. [Aside.] Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor!

The greatest is behind. [To Ross and Angus] Thanks for your pains.

[Aside to Banquo] Do you not hope your children shall be kings,


When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me Promised no less to them?

BANQUO. [Aside to Macbeth.] That, trusted home,

Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,

Besides the Thane of Cawdor. 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-

Cousins, a word, I pray you.

MACBETH. [Aside.] Two truths are told, As happy prologues to the swelling act

Of the imperial theme-I thank you, gentlemen. [Aside.] This supernatural soliciting

Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,

Why hath it given me earnest of success,

Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.

If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair

And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,

Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings:

My thought, whose murther yet is but fantastical,

Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is


But what is not.

BANQUO. Look, how our partner's rapt.

MACBETH. [Aside.] If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me

Without my stir.

BANQUO. New honors come upon him,

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould But with the aid of use.

MACBETH. [Aside.] Come what come may,

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

BANQUO. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

MACBETH. Give me your favor; my dull brain was wrought With things forgotten. Kind gentlemen, your pains

Are register'd where every day I turn

The leaf to read them. Let us toward the King. Think upon what hath chanced, and at more time, The interim having weigh'd it, let us speak

Our free hearts each to other.

BANQUO. Very gladly.

MACBETH. Till then, enough. Come, friends. Exeunt.





Forres. The palace.

Flourish. Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, and




DUNCAN. Is execution done on Cawdor? Are not Those in commission yet return'd?

MALCOLM. My liege,

They are not yet come back. But I have spoke With one that saw him die, who did report That very frankly he confess'd his treasons, Implored your Highness' pardon, and set forth A deep repentance. 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 owed As 'twere a careless trifle.

DUNCAN. There's no art

To find the mind's construction in the face: He was a gentleman on whom I built

An absolute trust.

Enter Macbeth, Banquo, Ross, and Angus.

O worthiest cousin!

The sin of my ingratitude even now Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before, That swiftest wing of recompense is slow

To overtake thee. Would thou hadst less deserved, That the proportion both of thanks and payment


Might have been mine! Only I have left to say, More is thy due than more than all can pay.

MACBETH. The service and the loyalty I owe,

In doing it, pays itself. Your Highness' part Is to receive our duties, and our duties

Are to your throne and state, children and servants,

Which do but what they should, by doing everything Safe toward your love and honor.

DUNCAN. Welcome hither.

I have begun to plant thee, and will labor To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo, That hast no less deserved, nor must be known

No less to have done so; let me infold thee And hold thee to my heart.

BANQUO. There if I grow,

The harvest is your own.

DUNCAN. My plenteous joys,

Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves In drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes, And you whose places are the nearest, know We will establish our estate upon

Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter The Prince of Cumberland; which honor must Not unaccompanied invest him only,

But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine


On all deservers. From hence to Inverness, And bind us further to you.

MACBETH. The rest is labor, which is not used for you.

I'll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful The hearing of my wife with your approach; So humbly take my leave.

DUNCAN. My worthy Cawdor!

MACBETH. [Aside.] The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,

For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.

The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. Exit.

DUNCAN. True, worthy Banquo! He is full so valiant, And in his commendations I am fed;

It is a banquet to me. Let's after him,

Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome.

It is a peerless kinsman. Flourish. Exeunt.





Inverness. Macbeth's castle.

Enter Lady Macbeth, reading a letter.


LADY MACBETH. "They met me in the day of success, and I have


learned by the perfectest report they have more in them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire to question them further, they made themselves air, into which they vanished. Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the

King, who all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor'; by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me and referred me to the coming on of time with 'Hail, King that shalt be!' This have I

thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness,

that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being

ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart,

and farewell."

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. What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,

And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou'ldst have, great Glamis,

That which cries, "Thus thou must do, if thou have it; And that which rather thou dost fear to do


Than wishest should be undone." Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,

And chastise with the valor of my tongue

All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crown'd withal.

Enter a Messenger.

What is your tidings?

MESSENGER. The King comes here tonight. LADY MACBETH. Thou'rt mad to say it! Is not thy master with him? who, were't so,

Would have inform'd for preparation.

MESSENGER. So please you, it is true; our Thane is coming.

One of my fellows had the speed of him,

Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more Than would make up his message.

LADY MACBETH. Give him tending; He brings great news. Exit Messenger.

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, your murthering ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances

You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,

And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell That my keen knife see not the wound it makes Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark

To cry, "Hold, hold!"

Enter Macbeth.

Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor!

Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter! Thy letters have transported me beyond This ignorant present, and I feel now

The future in the instant.

MACBETH. My dearest love, Duncan comes here tonight.

LADY MACBETH. And when goes hence?

MACBETH. Tomorrow, as he purposes.


Shall sun that morrow see!

Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men May read strange matters. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,


Your hand, your tongue; look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under it. He that's coming

Must be provided for; and you shall put

This night's great business into my dispatch, Which shall to all our nights and days to come Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

MACBETH. We will speak further.

LADY MACBETH. Only look up clear; To alter favor ever is to fear.

Leave all the rest to me. Exeunt.





Before Macbeth's castle. Hautboys and torches.

Enter Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and Attendants.


DUNCAN. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself

Unto our gentle senses.

BANQUO. This guest of summer, The temple-haunting martlet, does approve

By his loved mansionry that the heaven's breath Smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze,

Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird

Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle;


Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed The air is delicate.

Enter Lady Macbeth.

DUNCAN. See, see, our honor'd hostess!

The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, Which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you How you shall bid God 'ield us for your pains,

And thank us for your trouble.

LADY MACBETH. All our service

In every point twice done, and then done double, Were poor and single business to contend

Against those honors deep and broad wherewith

Your Majesty loads our house. For those of old, And the late dignities heap'd up to them,

We rest your hermits.

DUNCAN. Where's the Thane of Cawdor?

We coursed him at the heels and had a purpose To be his purveyor; but he rides well,

And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess,

We are your guest tonight.

LADY MACBETH. Your servants ever

Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs, in compt, To make their audit at your Highness' pleasure,

Still to return your own.


DUNCAN. Give me your hand;

Conduct me to mine host. We love him highly, And shall continue our graces towards him.

By your leave, hostess. Exeunt.





Macbeth's castle. Hautboys and torches.

Enter a Sewer and divers Servants with dishes and service, who pass over the stage. Then enter Macbeth.


MACBETH. 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'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgement here, that we but teach Bloody instructions, which being taught return To plague the inventor. This even-handed justice

Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips. He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,

Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murtherer shut the door,


Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against The deep damnation of his taking-off,

And pity, like a naked new-born babe

Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air,

Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,

That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself

And falls on the other. Enter Lady Macbeth. How now, what news?

LADY MACBETH. He has almost supp'd. Why have you left the chamber?

MACBETH. Hath he ask'd for me?

LADY MACBETH. Know you not he has?

MACBETH. We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honor'd me of late, and I have bought

Golden opinions from all sorts of people,

Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.

LADY MACBETH. Was the hope drunk


Wherein you dress'd yourself? Hath it slept since?

And wakes it now, to look so green and pale At what it did so freely? From this time Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard To be the same in thine own act and valor

As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that

Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would" Like the poor cat i' the adage?

MACBETH. Prithee, peace!

I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.

LADY MACBETH. What beast wast then That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man,

And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place Did then adhere, and yet you would make both.

They have made themselves, and that their fitness now Does unmake you. 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. When Duncan is asleep-

Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey

Soundly invite him- his two chamberlains Will I with wine and wassail so convince That memory, the warder of the brain, Shall be a fume and the receipt of reason A limbeck only. When in swinish sleep Their drenched natures lie as in a death, What cannot you and I perform upon

The unguarded Duncan? What not put upon His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt Of our great quell?

MACBETH. Bring forth men-children only, For thy undaunted mettle should compose Nothing but males. Will it not be received,

When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two Of his own chamber and used their very daggers, That they have done't?

LADY MACBETH. Who dares receive it other, As we shall make our griefs and clamor roar

Upon his death?


MACBETH. I am settled and bend up Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.

Away, and mock the time with fairest show:

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.