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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

[Offstage] Who’s there? What’s that!

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

Oh no, I’m afraid the servants woke up, and the job is not done. It would ruin us completely to fail in our attempt to murder the king. [She hears a noise] Listen! I placed the servants’ daggers where Macbeth could not miss seeing them. I would have killed Duncan myself if he didn't look so much like my own father while he slept. 

MACBETH enters, holding bloody daggers.

LADY MACBETH

My husband!

LADY MACBETH

My husband!

MACBETH

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

MACBETH

I have done the deed. Didn’t you hear a noise?

LADY MACBETH

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

LADY MACBETH

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did you say something?

MACBETH

When?

MACBETH

When?

LADY MACBETH

Now.

LADY MACBETH

Just now.

MACBETH

As I descended?

MACBETH

As I came down?

LADY MACBETH

Ay.

LADY MACBETH

Yes.

MACBETH

Hark! Who lies i’ th’ second chamber?

MACBETH

Listen! Who’s sleeping in the second bedroom?

LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

LADY MACBETH

Donalbain.

MACBETH

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

MACBETH

[Looking at the blood on his hands] This is a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH

A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH

That’s a foolish thing to say, that it’s a “sorry sight."

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

One servant laughed in his sleep, and one cried, “murder!” so that they woke each other up. I stood and listened, but they just said their prayers and fell back asleep.

LADY MACBETH

There are two lodged together.

LADY MACBETH

Malcolm and Donalbain are asleep in the same room.

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

One servant cried, “God bless us!” and the other said, “Amen,” as if they’d seen me with my blood-stained hands. Though I heard the fear in their voices, I couldn’t respond “Amen” when they said “God bless us!”

LADY MACBETH

Consider it not so deeply.

LADY MACBETH

Try not to think about it so much.

MACBETH

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

MACBETH

But why couldn’t I say “Amen?” I needed God’s blessing most profoundly, but the word “Amen” got stuck in my throat.

LADY MACBETH

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

LADY MACBETH

We must not think in that way about what we’ve done. Thinking that way will drive us crazy.

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

I thought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth murders sleep.” Innocent sleep. Sleep that smooths away all our fears and worries; that puts an end to each day; that eases the aches of the day’s work; and soothes hurt minds. Sleep, the main and most nourishing course in the feast of life.

LADY MACBETH

What do you mean?

LADY MACBETH

What’s your meaning?

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

The voice cried and cried, “Sleep no more!” to the entire house. “Glamis has murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor will sleep no more. Macbeth will sleep no more.”

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

Who was it that cried out these words? Oh, my noble thane, you make yourself weak and unable to act when you think so obsessively about things. Go get some water and wash this filthy evidence from your hands. Why did you bring these daggers from the room? They must remain there. Go return them and smear the sleeping servants with the blood.

MACBETH

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

MACBETH

I won’t go back. I’m afraid just to think about what I’ve done. I don’t dare to look at it again.

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

You weakling! Give me the daggers. Dead and sleeping people are as harmless as pictures: it’s childish to fear a scary painting. If Duncan is still bleeding, I’ll cover the faces of the servants with the blood. They must appear to be guilty.

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

Where is that knocking coming from? What’s wrong with me, that every noise terrifies me? [Looking at his hands] Whose hands are these? Ha! They’re plucking out my eyes. Could even all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, my hands would instead stain the seas crimson, turning the green water entirely red.

LADY MACBETH enters.

LADY MACBETH

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

LADY MACBETH

My hands are red like yours, but I’d be ashamed if my heart were as bloodless and cowardly as yours.

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

I hear knocking at the south gate. We must return to our bedroom. A little water will wash away all the evidence of what we’ve done. It is so easy! Your determination has deserted you.

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

Listen! More knocking. Put on your sleeping robe, so that when we have to appear it won't seem as if we’ve been awake and watching this whole time. Break free of the sad thoughts that hold you down.

MACBETH

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

MACBETH

The only way I can acknowledge what I’ve done is to forget who I am.

A knock sounds offstage.

MACBETH

Wake Duncan with thy knocking. I would thou couldst.

MACBETH

Wake Duncan with your knocking. I wish you could.

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.