Macbeth By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 3

LADY MACBETH.
What's the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? speak, speak!

MACDUFF.
O gentle lady,
'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak:
The repetition, in a woman's ear,
Would murder as it fell.

[Re-enter Banquo.]

O Banquo, Banquo!
Our royal master's murder'd!

LADY MACBETH.
Woe, alas!
What, in our house?

BANQUO.
Too cruel any where. —
Dear Duff, I pr'ythee, contradict thyself,
And say it is not so.

[Re-enter Macbeth and Lennox, with Ross.]

MACBETH.
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.

[Enter Malcolm and Donalbain.]

DONALBAIN.
What is amiss?

MACBETH.
You are, and do not know't:
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood
Is stopp'd; the very source of it is stopp'd.

MACDUFF.
Your royal father's murder'd.

MALCOLM.
O, by whom?

LENNOX.
Those of his chamber, as it seem'd, had done't:
Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood;
So were their daggers, which, unwip'd, we found
Upon their pillows:
They star'd, and were distracted; no man's life
Was to be trusted with them.

MACBETH.
O, yet I do repent me of my fury,
That I did kill them.

MACDUFF.
Wherefore did you so?

MACBETH.
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 look'd like a breach in nature
For ruin's wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,
Steep'd in the colours of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breech'd with gore: who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make's love known?

Continued on next page...

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Lady Macbeth explain Macbeth's strange behavior at the banquet?




Quiz