The Tragedy of macbeth by William Shakespeare, chapter name ACT 3



Forres. The palace.

Enter Banquo.


BANQUO. Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, As the weird women promised, and I fear

Thou play'dst most foully for't; yet it was said It should not stand in thy posterity,

But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them (As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine) Why, by the verities on thee made good,

May they not be my oracles as well

And set me up in hope? But hush, no more.

Sennet sounds. Enter Macbeth as King, Lady Macbeth as Queen, Lennox, Ross, Lords, Ladies, and Attendants.

MACBETH. Here's our chief guest.

LADY MACBETH. If he had been forgotten, It had been as a gap in our great feast

And all thing unbecoming.

MACBETH. Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir,


And I'll request your presence. BANQUO. Let your Highness

Command upon me, to the which my duties

Are with a most indissoluble tie Forever knit.

MACBETH. Ride you this afternoon?

BANQUO. Ay, my good lord.

MACBETH. We should have else desired your good advice, Which still hath been both grave and prosperous

In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow.

Is't far you ride?

BANQUO. As far, my lord, as will fill up the time 'Twixt this and supper. Go not my horse the better, I must become a borrower of the night

For a dark hour or twain.

MACBETH. Fail not our feast. BANQUO. My lord, I will not.

MACBETH. We hear our bloody cousins are bestow'd

In England and in Ireland, not confessing Their cruel parricide, filling their hearers With strange invention. But of that tomorrow, When therewithal we shall have cause of state Craving us jointly. Hie you to horse; adieu,

Till you return at night. Goes Fleance with you?

BANQUO. Ay, my good lord. Our time does call upon 's.


MACBETH. I wish your horses swift and sure of foot, And so I do commend you to their backs.

Farewell. Exit Banquo.

Let every man be master of his time Till seven at night; to make society

The sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself

Till supper time alone. While then, God be with you!

Exeunt all but Macbeth and an Attendant. Sirrah, a word with you. Attend those men Our pleasure?

ATTENDANT. They are, my lord, without the palace gate.

MACBETH. Bring them before us. Exit Attendant.

To be thus is nothing,

But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo.

Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature

Reigns that which would be fear'd. 'Tis much he dares, And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,

He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor

To act in safety. There is none but he Whose being I do fear; and under him My genius is rebuked, as it is said

Mark Antony's was by Caesar. He chid the sisters When first they put the name of King upon me And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like

They hail'd him father to a line of kings.


Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,

Thence to be wrench'd with an unlineal hand,

No son of mine succeeding. If't be so, For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind,

For them the gracious Duncan have I murther'd,

Put rancors in the vessel of my peace Only for them, and mine eternal jewel Given to the common enemy of man,

To make them kings -the seed of Banquo kings!

Rather than so, come, Fate, into the list,

And champion me to the utterance! Who's there?

Re-enter Attendant, with two Murtherers.

Now go to the door, and stay there till we call.

Exit Attendant.

Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

FIRST MURTHERER. It was, so please your Highness.

MACBETH. Well then, now

Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know That it was he in the times past which held you So under fortune, which you thought had been Our innocent self? This I made good to you

In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you:

How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the instruments, Who wrought with them, and all things else that might


To half a soul and to a notion crazed Say, "Thus did Banquo."

FIRST MURTHERER. You made it known to us.

MACBETH. I did so, and went further, which is now Our point of second meeting. Do you find

Your patience so predominant in your nature,

That you can let this go? Are you so gospel'd, To pray for this good man and for his issue,

Whose heavy hand hath bow'd you to the grave

And beggar'd yours forever?

FIRST MURTHERER. We are men, my liege. MACBETH. Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,

As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, Shoughs, waterrugs, and demi-wolves are clept

All by the name of dogs. The valued file

Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, The housekeeper, the hunter, every one

According to the gift which bounteous nature

Hath in him closed, whereby he does receive Particular addition, from the bill

That writes them all alike; and so of men.

Now if you have a station in the file, Not i' the worst rank of manhood, say it,

And I will put that business in your bosoms Whose execution takes your enemy off,


Grapples you to the heart and love of us, Who wear our health but sickly in his life, Which in his death were perfect.

SECOND MURTHERER. I am one, my liege, Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world Have so incensed that I am reckless what

I do to spite the world.


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. MACBETH. Both of you

Know Banquo was your enemy.

BOTH MURTHERERS. True, my lord.

MACBETH. So is he mine, and in such bloody distance That every minute of his being thrusts

Against my near'st of life; and though I could With barefaced power sweep him from my sight And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,

For certain friends that are both his and mine, Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall Who I myself struck down. And thence it is That I to your assistance do make love,

Masking the business from the common eye For sundry weighty reasons.


SECOND MURTHERER. We shall, my lord, Perform what you command us.

FIRST MURTHERER. Though our lives-

MACBETH. Your spirits shine through you. Within this hour at most

I will advise you where to plant yourselves,

Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time, The moment on't; for't must be done tonight

And something from the palace (always thought

That I require a clearness); and with him- To leave no rubs nor botches in the work- Fleance his son, that keeps him company, Whose absence is no less material to me Than is his father's, must embrace the fate Of that dark hour. Resolve yourselves apart; I'll come to you anon.

BOTH MURTHERERS. We are resolved, my lord. MACBETH. I'll call upon you straight. Abide within.

Exeunt Murtherers.

It is concluded: Banquo, thy soul's flight,

If it find heaven, must find it out tonight. Exit.





The palace.


Enter Lady Macbeth and a Servant.


LADY MACBETH. Is Banquo gone from court? SERVANT. Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.

LADY MACBETH. Say to the King I would attend his leisure For a few words.

SERVANT. Madam, I will. Exit.

LADY MACBETH. Nought'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.

Enter Macbeth.

How now, my lord? Why do you keep alone, Of sorriest fancies your companions making,

Using those thoughts which should indeed have died

With them they think on? Things without all remedy Should be without regard. What's done is done.

MACBETH. We have scotch'd the snake, not kill'd it.

She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice Remains in danger of her former tooth.

But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer, Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep

In the affliction of these terrible dreams

That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead, Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,


Than on the torture of the mind to lie In restless ecstasy. 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.


Gentle my lord, sleek o'er your rugged looks; Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.

MACBETH. So shall I, love, and so, I pray, be you.

Let your remembrance apply to Banquo; Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:

Unsafe the while, that we

Must lave our honors in these flattering streams, And make our faces vizards to our hearts,

Disguising what they are.

LADY MACBETH. You must leave this.

MACBETH. O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!

Thou know'st that Banquo and his Fleance lives.

LADY MACBETH. But in them nature's copy's not eterne.

MACBETH. There's comfort yet; they are assailable.

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.

LADY MACBETH. What's to be done?

MACBETH. Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed. 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, Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse.

Thou marvel'st at my words, but hold thee still:

Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.

So, prithee, go with me. Exeunt.





A park near the palace. Enter three Murtherers.


FIRST MURTHERER. But who did bid thee join with us?


SECOND MURTHERER. He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers Our offices and what we have to do

To the direction just.


FIRST MURTHERER. Then stand with us.

The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day; Now spurs the lated traveler apace

To gain the timely inn, and near approaches The subject of our watch.

THIRD MURTHERER. Hark! I hear horses.

BANQUO. [Within.] Give us a light there, ho! SECOND MURTHERER. Then 'tis he; the rest That are within the note of expectation

Already are i' the court.

FIRST MURTHERER. His horses go about.

THIRD MURTHERER. Almost a mile, but he does usually- So all men do -from hence to the palace gate

Make it their walk.

SECOND MURTHERER. A light, a light!

Enter Banquo, and Fleance with a torch.


BANQUO. It will be rain tonight.

FIRST MURTHERER. Let it come down.

They set upon Banquo.

BANQUO. O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge. O slave! Dies. Fleance escapes. THIRD MURTHERER. Who did strike out the light?

FIRST MURTHERER. Wast not the way?


THIRD MURTHERER. There's but one down; the son is fled.

SECOND MURTHERER. We have lost Best half of our affair.

FIRST MURTHERER. Well, let's away and say how much is done.






A Hall in the palace. A banquet prepared.

Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.


MACBETH. You know your own degrees; sit down. At first And last the hearty welcome.

LORDS. Thanks to your Majesty.

MACBETH. Ourself will mingle with society And play the humble host.

Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time We will require her welcome.

LADY MACBETH. Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends, For my heart speaks they are welcome.

Enter first Murtherer to the door.

MACBETH. See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.

Both sides are even; here I'll sit i' the midst. Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure

The table round. [Approaches the door.] There's blood upon


thy face.

MURTHERER. 'Tis Banquo's then.

MACBETH. 'Tis better thee without than he within.

Is he dispatch'd?

MURTHERER. My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him. MACBETH. Thou art the best o' the cut-throats! Yet he's good That did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it,

Thou art the nonpareil.

MURTHERER. Most royal sir, Fleance is 'scaped.

MACBETH. [Aside.] Then comes my fit again. I had else been


Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, As broad and general as the casing air;

But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in To saucy doubts and fears -But Banquo's safe?

MURTHERER. Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,

With twenty trenched gashes on his head, The least a death to nature.

MACBETH. Thanks for that.

There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled Hath nature that in time will venom breed,

No teeth for the present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow We'll hear ourselves again.


Exit Murtherer.

LADY MACBETH. My royal lord, You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold

That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis amaking, 'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;

From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;

Meeting were bare without it.

MACBETH. Sweet remembrancer! Now good digestion wait on appetite, And health on both!

LENNOX. May't please your Highness sit.

The Ghost of Banquo enters and sits in Macbeth's place. MACBETH. Here had we now our country's honor roof'd, Were the graced person of our Banquo present,

Who may I rather challenge for unkindness Than pity for mischance!

ROSS. His absence, sir,

Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your Highness To grace us with your royal company?

MACBETH. The table's full.

LENNOX. Here is a place reserved, sir.


LENNOX. Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your Highness?

MACBETH. Which of you have done this?

LORDS. What, my good lord?


MACBETH. Thou canst not say I did it; never shake Thy gory locks at me.

ROSS. Gentlemen, rise; his Highness is not well.

LADY MACBETH. Sit, worthy friends; my lord is often thus, And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.

The fit is momentary; upon a thought

He will again be well. If much you note him, You shall offend him and extend his passion. Feed, and regard him not-Are you a man?

MACBETH. Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that Which might appal the devil.

LADY MACBETH. O proper stuff!

This is the very painting of your fear; This is the air-drawn dagger which you said Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,

Impostors to true fear, would well become A woman's story at a winter's fire,

Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!

Why do you make such faces? When all's done, You look but on a stool.

MACBETH. Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?

Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.

If charnel houses and our graves must send Those that we bury back, our monuments Shall be the maws of kites. Exit Ghost.


LADY MACBETH. What, quite unmann'd in folly?

MACBETH. If I stand here, I saw him. LADY MACBETH. Fie, for shame!

MACBETH. Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time, Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;

Ay, and since too, murthers have been perform'd

Too terrible for the ear. The time has been, That, when the brains were out, the man would die,

And there an end; but now they rise again,

With twenty mortal murthers on their crowns, And push us from our stools. This is more strange

Than such a murther is.

LADY MACBETH. My worthy lord, Your noble friends do lack you.

MACBETH. I do forget.

Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends. I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing

To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;

Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine, fill full.

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.

LORDS. Our duties and the pledge.

Re-enter Ghost.


MACBETH. Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!

Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; Thou hast no speculation in those eyes

Which thou dost glare with.

LADY MACBETH. Think of this, good peers, But as a thing of custom. 'Tis no other,

Only it spoils the pleasure of the time. MACBETH. 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! Exit Ghost.

Why, so, being gone,

I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

LADY MACBETH. You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,

With most admired disorder.

MACBETH. Can such things be,

And overcome us like a summer's cloud, Without our special wonder? You make me strange

Even to the disposition that I owe


When now I think you can behold such sights And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks

When mine is blanch'd with fear.

ROSS. What sights, my lord?

LADY MACBETH. I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse; Question enrages him. At once, good night.

Stand not upon the order of your going, But go at once.

LENNOX. Good night, and better health

Attend his Majesty!

LADY MACBETH. A kind good night to all! Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

MACBETH. It will have blood; they say blood will have blood.

Stones have been known to move and trees to speak; Augures and understood relations have

By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?

LADY MACBETH. Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

MACBETH. How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person At our great bidding?

LADY MACBETH. Did you send to him, sir? MACBETH. I hear it by the way, but I will send.

There's not a one of them but in his house

I keep a servant feed. I will tomorrow, And betimes I will, to the weird sisters.


More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know, By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good All causes shall give way. I am in blood

Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

Strange things I have in head that will to hand,

Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.

LADY MACBETH. You lack the season of all natures, sleep. MACBETH. Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.

We are yet but young in deed. Exeunt.





A heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate.


FIRST WITCH. Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.

HECATE. Have I not reason, beldams as you are, Saucy and overbold? How did you dare

To trade and traffic with Macbeth In riddles and affairs of death,

And I, the mistress of your charms,

The close contriver of all harms, Was never call'd to bear my part,


Or show the glory of our art?

And, which is worse, all you have done Hath been but for a wayward son, Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do, Loves for his own ends, not for you.

But make amends now. Get you gone,

And at the pit of Acheron

Meet me i' the morning. Thither he Will come to know his destiny.

Your vessels and your spells provide, Your charms and everything beside. I am for the air; this night I'll spend Unto a dismal and a fatal end.

Great business must be wrought ere noon: Upon the corner of the moon

There hangs a vaporous drop profound; I'll catch it ere it come to ground.

And that distill'd by magic sleights

Shall raise such artificial sprites As by the strength of their illusion Shall draw him on to his confusion.

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear.

And you all know security Is mortals' chiefest enemy.


Music and a song within, "Come away, come away."

Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,

Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me. Exit.

FIRST WITCH. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.






Forres. The palace.

Enter Lennox and another Lord.


LENNOX. My former speeches have but hit your thoughts, Which can interpret farther; only I say

Thing's have been strangely borne. The gracious Duncan

Was pitied of Macbeth; marry, he was dead. And the right valiant Banquo walk'd too late,

Whom, you may say, if't please you, Fleance kill'd,

For Fleance fled. Men must not walk too late. Who cannot want the thought, how monstrous It was for Malcolm and for Donalbain

To kill their gracious father? Damned fact!

How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight, In pious rage, the two delinquents tear

That were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep?


Was not that nobly done? Ay, and wisely too, For 'twould have anger'd any heart alive To hear the men deny't. So that, I say,

He has borne all things well; and I do think That, had he Duncan's sons under his key-

As, an't please heaven, he shall not -they should find

What 'twere to kill a father; so should Fleance.

But, peace! For from broad words, and 'cause he fail'd His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,

Macduff lives in disgrace. Sir, can you tell Where he bestows himself?

LORD. The son of Duncan,

From whom this tyrant holds the due of birth, Lives in the English court and is received

Of the most pious Edward with such grace

That the malevolence of fortune nothing Takes from his high respect. Thither Macduff Is gone to pray the holy King, upon his aid

To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward; That by the help of these, with Him above

To ratify the work, we may again

Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights, Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives,

Do faithful homage, and receive free honors- All which we pine for now. And this report


Hath so exasperate the King that he Prepares for some attempt of war. LENNOX. Sent he to Macduff?

LORD. He did, and with an absolute "Sir, not I," The cloudy messenger turns me his back,

And hums, as who should say, "You'll rue the time

That clogs me with this answer." LENNOX. And that well might

Advise him to a caution, to hold what distance

His wisdom can provide. Some holy angel Fly to the court of England and unfold

His message ere he come, that a swift blessing

May soon return to this our suffering country Under a hand accursed!

LORD. I'll send my prayers with him.