A line-by-line translation

Macbeth

Macbeth Translation Act 3, Scene 5

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Thunder. The three WITCHES enter, meeting HECATE.

FIRST WITCH

Why, how now, Hecate! You look angerly.

FIRST WITCH

Why, how are you, Hecate? You look angry.

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 called 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’ th’ 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 vap’rous drop profound. I’ll catch it ere it come to ground. And that distilled 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.

HECATE

Don’t I have a reason to be angry, you hags? How dare you trick Macbeth with riddles and prophecies without including me—the source of your powers; the creator of all evil things; and the greatest practitioner of our magic? And, even worse, you’ve done all this for an unreliable, angry, and spiteful brat. Like all brats, he cares only about what he wants and not about you. But you can make this better. Get out of here and meet me at the pit of Acheron, where Macbeth will go to learn his destiny. Bring your cauldrons, your spells, your charms, and everything else. Now I must fly. I’ll spend the night working to make a terrible and deadly outcome for him. I have a lot to accomplish before noon. On the corner of the moon there hangs a droplet, ready to fall. I’ll catch it before it hits the ground. When I charm the droplet with magic spells, it will raise up fantastic spirits that will trick Macbeth with illusions, and he'll walk right into his own destruction. He’ll think himself immune to fate; will mock death; and will think he has no need for wisdom, grace, or fear. As you all know, overconfidence is mortal man’s worst enemy.

A song play offstage with the lyrics: “Come away, come away.”

HECATE

Hark! I am called. My little spirit, see,Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me.

HECATE

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HECATE exits.

FIRST WITCH

Come, let’s make haste; she’ll soon be back again.

FIRST WITCH

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing

They all 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.