A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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LADY MACBETH enters.

LADY MACBETH

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold. What hath quenched them hath given me fire. Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman, Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it. The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their possets, That death and nature do contend about them, Whether they live or die.

LADY MACBETH

The wine that made the servants drunk has made me bold. The liquor that put them to sleep has filled me with fire. Listen! Quiet! That was the shriek of an owl—an omen of death like the bell struck at midnight by the night watchman before the cell of a man condemned to death. Macbeth is killing Duncan right now. The doors to Duncan’s chamber are open, and the snores of the drunk servants make a mockery of their job of guarding him. I drugged their drinks to make them sleep so soundly that they seem dead.

MACBETH

[within] Who’s there? What, ho!

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Alack, I am afraid they have awaked, And ’tis not done. Th’ attempt and not the deed Confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready; He could not miss ‘em. Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done ’t.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH enters, holding bloody daggers.

LADY MACBETH

My husband!

LADY MACBETH

Lorem ipsum

MACBETH

I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.Did not you speak?

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

When?

MACBETH

Lorem

LADY MACBETH

Now.

LADY MACBETH

Lorem ips

MACBETH

As I descended?

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Ay.

LADY MACBETH

Lore

MACBETH

Hark! Who lies i’ th’ second chamber?

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

[looking at his hands] This is a sorry sight.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

There’s one did laugh in ’s sleep, and one cried. “Murder!” That they did wake each other. I stood and heard them. But they did say their prayers, and addressed them Again to sleep.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

There are two lodged together.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

One cried, “God bless us!” and “Amen” the other, As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands. List’ning their fear I could not say “Amen,” When they did say “God bless us!”

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Consider it not so deeply.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen?”I had most need of blessing, and “Amen”Stuck in my throat.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

These deeds must not be thoughtAfter these ways. So, it will make us mad.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the raveled 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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

What do you mean?

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house.“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore CawdorShall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane, You do unbend your noble strength to think So brainsickly of things. Go get some water, And wash this filthy witness from your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there. Go carry them and smear The sleepy grooms with blood.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

I’ll go no more:I am afraid to think what I have done;Look on ’t again I dare not.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

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. If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, For it must seem their guilt.

LADY MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH exits.

A knock sounds offstage.

MACBETH

Whence is that knocking? How is ’t with me when every noise appals me? 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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH enters.

LADY MACBETH

My hands are of your color, but I shame To wear a heart so white.

LADY MACBETH

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A knock sounds offstage.

LADY MACBETH

I hear a knocking At the south entry. Retire we to our chamber. A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it, then! Your constancy Hath left you unattended.

LADY MACBETH

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A knock sounds offstage.

LADY MACBETH

Hark! More knocking. Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us And show us to be watchers. Be not lost So poorly in your thoughts.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

MACBETH

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A knock sounds offstage.

MACBETH

Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.

MACBETH

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They exit.

Macbeth
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.