A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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LADY MACBETH and a SERVANT enter.

LADY MACBETH

Is Banquo gone from court?

LADY MACBETH

Has Banquo left the castle?

SERVANT

Ay, madam, but returns again tonight.

SERVANT

Yes, madam, but he’ll return tonight.

LADY MACBETH

Say to the king I would attend his leisureFor a few words.

LADY MACBETH

Tell the king that I’d like to speak with him when he has a moment.

SERVANT

Madam, I will.

SERVANT

I will, madam.

The SERVANT exits.

LADY MACBETH

Naught’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.

LADY MACBETH

When you get what you want but have no peace of mind, then you’ve gotten nothing, and spent everything. It’s better to be the person who was murdered than to be the murderer and have to live with doubt and anxiety.

MACBETH enters.

LADY 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.

LADY MACBETH

How are you, my lord? Why do you keep to yourself, with only your sad thoughts for company? Those sad thoughts should have died along with the men you're thinking about. You should not think about things you can’t change. What’s done is done.

MACBETH

We have scorched the snake, not killed 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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

Come on, gentle my lord, Sleek o’er your rugged looks. Be bright and jovialAmong your guests tonight.

LADY MACBETH

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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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

You must leave this.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.

LADY MACBETH

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MACBETH

There’s comfort yet; they are assailable. Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown His cloistered 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.

MACBETH

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LADY MACBETH

What’s to be done?

LADY MACBETH

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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 th’ 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.

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.